Your Holiday Security Checklist

A security checklist might be the least fun list you’ll make this holiday season, but it might be the most important for your business.

The reason is that criminals are seasoned. They make mental lists of targets — where and when and why to steal money and goods from retailers and other organizations.

Unfortunately, this is their most wonderful time of the year. Retail crime rises by about 30% around the holidays, due mainly to the increased use of cash, which is almost always the target in retail thefts. 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.

Here’s a helpful checklist you can use:

√ Don’t open or close your store alone. While one employee locks or unlocks the door, a second employee should watch from a safe distance that still gives a good view of the door. The second person also should have a mobile phone to call the police if the co-worker is confronted.

√ Consider hiring an armed guard when the value of your merchandise — and subsequent risk — increases.

√ Observe the surroundings of the store when you arrive. If a person or car is loitering by the building, or if doors or windows appear open or tampered with, stay out of sight. Call the police if you feel it’s warranted.

√ Verify the identification of delivery drivers and other people who come into your store.

√ Use a buzzer system, doorbell or chime so you know when someone is entering the store.

√ Train all associates on how to spot and respond to suspicious people and behavior.

√ Look at and greet all customers who enter your store, and keep a careful eye on those who avoid interacting with you or seem preoccupied.

√ Keep a close watch on groups that come in together, especially if they arrive at an odd hour or seem to be signaling or surreptitiously communicating with one another.

√ Make sure your surveillance camera and recording system work. Consider ­having a second recorder or storing the video remotely, so a thief can’t take the device and rob you of evidence as well.

√ Don’t leave valuable merchandise in your store window after you close for the day.

√ Select a code word or phrase as an alert, so all employees know someone is exhibiting suspicious behavior, but customers won’t be alarmed.

√ Test your holdup buttons. Many businesses have holdup buttons (also referred to as “panic buttons”) to silently alert the security company in the event of a robbery. It’s important to test your buttons to make sure they are working properly. Let your security company know that you are planning on doing a test. This will ensure that they don’t call the police when they receive the holdup signal.

√ Restrict access to stockrooms. Do your salespeople need to go into your stockrooms? To reduce theft by employees, let stock clerks bring inventory to the retail floor.

Talk to the police. Get a refresher course from the local police department on procedures they like retailers to use in the event of crimes, shoplifting particularly, and ask them to share any tips they have for retailers around the holidays.


No one wants to contemplate the unpleasant, but prepare a plan of action so all employees know the procedure if a problem occurs. The above tips can help.

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.