Retail theft is a growing problem for the majority of retailers, causing profit margins to decline. In a recent survey of 26 large retailers, “81% of survey participants reported an increase in shrink in 2022” (Hayes International). The issue has gotten so out of control that one Walmart location in Atlanta is planning to reopen with a police substation inside. However, this solution is not feasible for every store to implement because there are not enough officers to go around. The best solution against rising retail theft is to enhance the effectiveness of security camera systems using advanced software with video analytics and license plate recognition.
Factors Influencing Retail Theft
The rise in retail theft can be attributed to the growth of organized retail crime (ORC). ORC rings consist of hundreds of people who target multiple stores each day, stealing high-value items to resell online for a profit. Compared to petty shoplifters, individuals associated with ORC are more violent and frequently attack store employees that try to stop them. Because of this, many retailers are instructing their employees not to intervene if they see someone shoplifting to protect their safety. However, this emboldens shoplifters and leads to more theft and more losses.
Another factor contributing to the increase in shoplifting is the lack of employees on the sales floor. Some stores have not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and are still struggling with staffing shortages. With fewer people available to work the sales floor, thieves have more opportunity to steal without being caught. The employees that do work the sales floor are often overwhelmed with bigger workloads and as a result, can either miss instances of theft or be indifferent.
Problematic Retail Theft Strategies
Many retail stores are locking up their merchandise in response to increasing theft. However, doing this reduces revenue because it makes shopping inconvenient for the customer. It requires the customer to ask an employee to unlock the merchandise but finding an available worker can be difficult if the store is short on staff. This frustrates customers, causing them to go to a different store or to order their items from an online retailer.
Most, if not all, retail stores use security camera systems for theft prevention. Some stores may have a security team to monitor their camera feed but humans are prone to error so a lot of things can go unnoticed. Other stores do not have the resources for this and instead rely on the authorities to identify and track shoplifters from recorded footage. However, these short video clips do not give law enforcement agencies much to work with so many theft cases are left unresolved.
Retail stores can effectively prevent theft by integrating their existing security camera systems with video analytics, like IFOVEA. Video analytics are artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that analyze video footage in real-time for security-related purposes. Using video analytics allow stores to detect potential threats faster so they can contact law enforcement to intervene. For example, video analytics can detect and alert stores when a large group of people enters, potentially indicating a connection to organized retail crime.
Most shoplifters steal more than once and at multiple stores, especially those affiliated with ORC. One video analytic that IFOVEA offers is facial recognition and stores can use it to catch repeat offenders. With facial recognition, stores can flag shoplifters while reviewing security footage. If the suspect ever returns in the future, the system will instantly recognize their identity and alert staff so they can notify the authorities. This reduces theft for the store and other stores that have been victims of the same suspect.
License Plate Recognition
It’s also a good idea for retail stores to install security camera systems equipped with license plate recognition software, such as PLACA.AI, in their parking lots. The software records the license plate information of all vehicles that pass through, including those belonging to shoplifters. Like facial recognition, stores can flag a suspect’s vehicle and receive an alert the next time it is seen. This allows stores to notify law enforcement so they can intervene before the suspect even enters the building.
Furthermore, capturing license plate information with PLACA.AI makes it easier for law enforcement to identify and track down a suspect. If authorities have the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle, they can look up the registered owner’s information. The owner could either be the suspect in question or someone who can lead them to the suspect. Additionally, this information is useful for law enforcement teams to know which vehicle to be on the lookout for.
Contact 2M Technology for Retail Theft Solutions
Retail theft is on the rise, but you can combat it with advanced software solutions from 2M Technology. Using IFOVEA’s video analytics inside the store reduces instances of retail theft while capturing license plate information outside the store with PLACA.AI enables authorities to track suspects. If you’re interested in subscribing to IFOVEA or PLACA.AI, our sales team can help you get started today. We offer affordable monthly plans and you can cancel at any time. For more information, contact our security experts at +1 (866) 708-5401 or email@example.com!