Employee Theft, Shoplifting & Vandalism
Employee Theft Prevention
- Establish a written policy that outlines employee responsibilities, standards of honesty, and general security procedures and consequences for not following them. Make sure employees read it, understand it, and sign it as a condition of employment. Then enforce it stringently.
- Verify past employment and references of all prospective employees. Be suspicious of any unexplained gaps in their work history.
- Keep accurate records of cash flow, inventory, equipment, and supplies. Have them checked regularly by someone other than the person responsible for maintaining them.
- Limit access to keys, safe combinations, computer codes, and alarm codes. Change locks and access codes whenever an employee is terminated.
- Limit the number of persons responsible for a specific cash function. Never have more than one person on each cash register. Make only one person responsible for cash drops or deposits if possible.
- If internal theft is discovered, take action quickly. Contact the law enforcement agency and follow through. It is important that employees understand that theft will not be tolerated.
- Keep the store neat and orderly.
- Use mirrors to eliminate blind spots in corners or behind displays.
- Merchandise should be kept away from store exits to prevent grab and run situations.
- Keep the displays full so that employees can see at a glance if something is missing. Expensive merchandise should be locked in cases with a limit on the number of items removed at any one time.
- Design the store layout so that customers must pass the cash register and store employees to exit. Never leave the register unlocked or unattended.
- Dressing rooms and restrooms should be monitored at all times. Limit the number of items to be taken into a dressing room and make it clear that no merchandise can be taken into the restroom.
- Report all acts of vandalism to the police. Because many vandals are juveniles, you may not be the only victim. Documentation is important when connecting cases that may be attributed to the same individual. It will be especially important in sentencing and restitution if the individual is caught.
- Clean up vandalism as soon as possible after reporting it. Replace signs, repair equipment, and paint over graffiti. The message given if the property is left in disrepair is that the owner doesn't care and it invites further damage.
- Depending on your situation, proper lighting, building materials (such as hard to mark surfaces), fences, or landscape materials (such as thorny or prickly hedges) may help in discouraging vandals.