Crime is a threat that keeps many small business owners awake at night, but there’s no reason to feel powerless. We’ve gathered some guidance on practical steps you can take to minimise risk and worry.
Aggressive and brazen retail crime has become highly visible over recent months. And the cost of crime in retail is estimated to be $1 billion a year. NZ Police have launched several new initiatives to combat crime, such as the National Retail Investigation Support Unit. This unit will focus on addressing patterns of high-priority repeat retail offending across the country. In addition, Business.govt.nz, NZ Police and many business advocacy agencies have shared new resources.
Bollards, cameras and security patrols are valuable, but you can also do things that are less expensive to counter the risk of crime.
Welcome customers, not criminals
Retail businesses face the challenge of balancing the visibility and ease of access to their shops against security and theft prevention measures.
Considering the layout of your store can help reduce shoplifting while allowing you to welcome customers. Placing your check-out or till near the entrance means you can greet each customer and keep a presence at the exit. If you position mirrors and shelving so you can see everything, it will give you a view of any suspicious activity while also allowing customers to see your range and find things easily.
Train to empower
Creating a workplace where people are motivated and well-trained can add another deterrent for criminals. If your team appears confident and engaged, your workplace is less attractive to thieves than one where people are distracted and uninterested.
Our blogs have ideas for keeping your team motivated and offering professional development. Similarly, you can support your team with clear processes around security issues such as locking up, dealing with cash or feeling concerned. It’s important that staff are able to communicate their ideas or worries easily to their managers.
Know who to call
Creating good processes for security is an opportunity to make sure you know who to call for any concerns about crime. It’s helpful to have open channels of communication with others in your area. Consider keeping contact details for the following close to hand.
- Your community constable
- Neighbouring shops and premises
- Other similar businesses nearby
- Your industry body
- Your main street or town centre organisation
- Staff emergency contacts.
Finding out where you can find support may be as simple as taking the time to do a computer search.
Most local business associations offer useful resources or advocacy. For example, the Greater East Tamaki Business Association has created a series of video clips with guidance. Tawa Business Group is installing CCTV cameras to deter crime and antisocial behaviour. Christchurch Central Business Association has launched an app, Snap, Send, Solve, to encourage more reporting of crime. Industry bodies can also provide information that is relevant to your type of trade.
A Business Mentor is an important source of support. A Mentor is an advocate for your business; their dedication and interest are unique. Business Mentors generously give their time just to help you succeed. They’ve been in business themselves, and they understand the stresses and worries that are part of the package. As a sounding board, they’re there to let you voice your concerns and listen to your thinking on solutions.
You can take the first step to feeling more secure about your business by applying for a Business Mentor today.