NGS recently partnered with Loss Prevention Magazine to produce a survey about storefront security and emergency response. Retailers from across the United States participated. The results proved significant. It’s a growing concern, particularly in retail, to protect your buildings or storefronts from violent crime. As theft and civil unrest are on the rise, securing your properties matters more than ever before.
Here are the five key findings from the report.
1. Most Retailers Experience Break-ins and Smash and Grabs
The survey revealed that the majority of retailers (83%) experience these crimes, many at an alarming rate. The proof is in the statistics. Regarding break-ins, more than 29% experienced 15 or more attempts a year. Approximately 4% have 10 to 15 attempts annually. Up to 20% incur 5 to 10 attempts. With 10% experiencing at least one transgression a year. Only 17% of those surveyed admitted never having an issue. Those are the lucky ones.
The percentages for smash and grabs are even worse. Approximately 33% endure 15 or more incidents annually. While a whopping 83% experience at least one a year. It turns out grab and runs are more common in street-front locations versus malls. The latter still experience episodes, but at a reduced rate. One retailer commented that “Grab and runs have become much more commonplace in our stores. I feel this is largely due to state and local laws that reduce or eliminate accountability for retail crime.” As this lack of accountability becomes more common, we expect such crimes to continue to rise.
2. The frequency of break-ins and attempts increased 2020
According to the New York Post, “retail crime has been soaring across the United States for the past five years, with organized criminal rings targeting stores everywhere.” Sixty‐six percent of survey respondents indicated that their store locations experienced an increase in break‐ins and break‐in attempts during the social unrest of 2020. Additionally, an incredible 87% of survey participants agreed that break-ins or attempts are a growing concern for their businesses. Often the same locations are targeted repeatedly, increasing the frustration and anxiety for store owners. “Burglary events have increased over the last 2 years with incidents doubling,” comments a respondent. “Back doors are as susceptible as front of store entry.”
Whether you are a large retailer with hundreds of stores or a small single-store owner, break-ins damage your reputation and affect your bottom line. Customers are hesitant to shop in a location that is constantly experiencing crime. If word gets out your location is an easy target, thieves will come out of the woodwork like carpenter ants to feed on your profits.
3. Storefront security is concerning and costly
Retail store crime takes its toll on more than your profit margin. It also affects your employees and customers. But we would do an injustice not to address the monetary impact here. We asked those surveyed to rank the cost of their losses experienced from break-ins and smash and grabs.
54% of respondents indicated that loss of inventory or cash was the most expensive cost incurred as a result of store break‐ins (54%), followed by emergency glass repair (23%), as well as guards and related expenses (13%).
However, company leaders surveyed ranked that “loss of inventory or cash” was the most expensive cost incurred as a result of store break‐ins (54%), followed by emergency glass repair (23%), and guards and related expenses (13%).
Multiple retailers surveyed mentioned the expense of providing follow-up care to employees or patrons that may have been injured as a result of the occurrence. The list of losses resulting from break-ins, as well as smash and grabs, is lengthy. Likewise, is the lingering impact.
4. First responders are not enough to reduce loss
We’ve spent decades trying to fight crime. Along the way, we’ve utilized security guards, cameras, and of course law enforcement. The results of this survey brought about many revelations. One of the greatest was the inability of these sources to prevent the incident itself:
83% of retail leaders indicated that they do not agree that first responders typically arrive quickly enough to the scene to reduce loss, or that law enforcement thoroughly investigates break-in attempts that are filed.
“We have seen very poor response in some markets,” stated a respondent. “In one market we had an overnight break-in that our [loss prevention] team called prior to entry of the store, and it took law enforcement 45 minutes to arrive on-scene.” Added another, “Slow police response times continue to plague retailers.”
Police officers are called to the scene after the transgression has taken place. Thus, their ability to retrieve a store owner’s losses is limited. Security guards don’t fare much better. Both of these public servants have safety at the forefront of their minds. As a result, most thieves walk away free – with their loot. Thus, the merchandise itself is never retrieved. If it is, it’s often unsellable. Consequently, it’s the retailer who pays in the end.
5. Storefront security and natural disaster preparedness go hand-in-hand
We hesitate to lump mother nature in the same group as criminals. But when she’s mad, she can do just as much damage. Our survey asked retailers if they felt storm preparedness and store security were two sides of the same coin. Approximately 65 percent of survey respondents agreed. In one retail respondent’s words, “Risk management and loss prevention go hand and hand.”
Whereas storm preparedness is considered risk management, and theft is considered loss prevention, the actions to protect your stores are often similar. Some store owners spend tens of thousands boarding up their stores before storms hit. It is rarely reused and can damage the exterior of the store, particularly with repeated application and removal.
Defend Your Glass with Retail Storefront Glazing Security Solutions from NGS
Many retailers are choosing window films, such as security film or Riot Glass®, to protect their storefronts from harsh weather or break-ins. Such precautions can prevent bodily harm to employees or customers, as well as deter theft and conserve funds over the lifetime of the store.
NGS offers a complimentary security analysis for retail stores or commercial buildings that are considering glazing security improvements for their businesses. If you would like to book a consultation today, we are here to help you secure your stores.
Otherwise, click here to snag yourself a copy of our Storefront Security Survey in its entirety. There are pertinent quotes from survey participants, as well as additional statistics and information. This detailed analysis is definitely worth your time. Storefront security matters.
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