9 Tips to Stay Safe This Holiday Season

With fewer than 50 days to go until December 25, it’s a good idea to double check your store’s security setup — it’s the most wonderful time of the year to be vigilant.

The reason: Retail criminals are ready. Statistically, retail crime rises by about 30% around the holidays, especially spiking among mall retailers’ seasonal pop-up stores. This is because of the increased use of cash, which is almost always the target in retail thefts, as well as increased incidents of shoplifting. The latest estimate for annual ORC (Organized Retail Crime) loss is $33 billion in the United States.

Retailers recently surveyed by the National Retail Federation also say criminals are becoming increasingly violent, putting the safety of both associates and customers at risk.

This time of year is about so many great things, and retailers can enjoy the holidays even more by knowing they’re prepared and as secure as possible. It’s also the most wonderful time of the year to have a security partner that’s eager to help.

Here are 9 ways to stay safe this holiday season:

1. Prioritize your security service scheduling to prepare for increased hours and business.

Dunbar Armored offers additional service during the busy holiday season. We’re available to increase days of service or add specific days — weekly, monthly, through the end of the year and even into 2014.

We would like to hear from you regarding your holiday service needs as soon as possible, as our routes will quickly reach capacity as the holiday requests for additional service are on a first come, first serve basis. To increase your readiness over the next several weeks, you can rely on us prioritize your holiday service scheduling — just call us today to speak with a security specialist at 800-222-3126.

2. When diversions occur, scan the store.

Organized shoplifting gangs know which retailers are unlikely to prosecute, and those that display merchandise that makes theft easy. Their typical tactics include creating diversions (like arguments) to draw the attention of employees away from others who are stealing merchandise. Retailers and employees should watch all areas of a store when there is a possible diversion.

3. Limit the power of seasonal employees.

Besides running background checks on your seasonal workers, don’t grant them access to security information such as alarm codes or keys. Keep in mind that these can be changed immediately (and should be changed routinely).

4. Secure more than the front door.

Criminals often enter through back doors left open by employees for ventilation, smoke breaks, etc. Most outlets have back offices, so crimes can be committed without anyone in the store being aware. Check doors regularly and secure them at the end of the night. Also, make sure security cameras haven’t been repositioned, and test alarms and recording devices. Additionally, after-hours burglary is common, so don’t keep too much cash in the register upon closing.

5. Leave cash drops to professionals if possible.

Owners or employees leaving a mall alone at night with the day’s cash deposit are a prime target for robbery. If possible, use a trusted armored car service and a banking outlet within short walking distance. If you don’t use an armored car service, make sure more than one person carries out this cash-drop duty, even if the bank is very close.

6. Check your video surveillance system.

It may have been awhile since you looked closely at your video system and confirmed that it was capturing images properly. Especially if you changed your store layout for the holidays, make sure cameras are positioned to provide optimal security coverage and that images are clear.

7. Don’t forget about cyber security.

Use web content filtering and internet protection solutions to defend against online threats. Also, it’s smart to use a dedicated computer for financial matters such as online banking and bill payments. That computer shouldn’t be used for peripheral activities such as sending and receiving emails or surfing the Web. Also, ensure that employees use effective passwords and avoid clicking on links or attachments within emails from untrusted sources.

8. Keep the floor fully staffed.

Make sure there are an adequate number of salespeople on the floor, even during extended hours. This makes legitimate customers feel more secure and also lets potential thieves know they’re being watched.

9. Update your emergency notification list.

If an alarm is triggered, your security company needs to contact the correct people on your emergency notification list. Make sure your list includes the correct names and phone numbers.

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Your security systems are tools to help protect your business, employees and customers, but remember that security is a partnership — it’s also up to you to stay vigilant.

We wish you a safe holiday season, and we hope you entrust your valuables with Dunbar! Let us know how we can help! Call us today to speak with a security specialist at 800-888-2129.