With headline-making robberies of cycling, skiing, and outdoor retailers becoming a common occurrence, Outdoor Sports Insurance (outdoorsportsins.com) is encouraging outdoor businesses and specialty retailers to reexamine their security practices amidst a nationwide rise in outdoor equipment theft.
“With the pandemic, there has not only been a spike in outdoor recreation, but also a spike in the theft of outdoor gear,” said Rob Martin of Outdoor Sports Insurance. “Implementing best practices and taking another look at security protocols can go a long way toward mitigating the problem.”
Outdoor Sports Insurance works with over 2,500 specialty retail shops across the country and over the past two years has seen a 50% increase in theft claims, with the size of claims up 37%. From 2019 to 2021, 16% of all Outdoor Sports Insurance claims are theft-related. And to make matters worse, one-fifth of those claims appear to be the work of coordinated crime rings.
As the value of outdoor equipment is more widely understood, it is more important than ever for brands and specialty retailers to put an emphasis on their crime-prevention tactics. The following suggestions are a good place to start.
Understand the Problem
There are many different ways a person or a group of people can go about stealing merchandise. Understanding such methods as tag swapping, clothing concealment, and employee theft, along with high-risk areas and high-value items in the store, is the first step in addressing the problem.
A well-organized store with open aisles and uninterrupted lines of sight is important in making it harder for would-be shoplifters to find a place to privately conceal items. The reorganization process can also help identify areas and items that are at a higher risk of theft.
Technology can be one of the most powerful tools in preventing theft and recovering stolen goods. Systems like RFID tags and hard tags help deter theft and alert staff if items go out the door before being purchased. Similarly, a good video surveillance system can help identify thieves, keep watch over more secluded sections of the store, and can operate during closed hours in the event of a break-in.
Signage and Mirrors
Placing security signs and mirrors strategically around the store can aid in making would-be thieves feel watched. Mirrors can also help staff see into otherwise secluded aisles or corners of the store.
No matter the steps taken, theft is still a reality of running a business. While insurance can’t stop a crime from happening, it can help with financial losses and unforeseen events such as the recent run of organized, high-profile, robberies.
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