As that old saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. April also brings kids a week off from reading, writing and arithmetic.
In New England (with the exception of Connecticut and New Hampshire) spring vacation week is typically the third week in April. Without the structure of school, teens will be looking for fun things to do to occupy their time.
Unfortunately, some kids may turn to other types of not-so-fun activities. In the United States, shoplifting and arrest rates increase when students are off from school including during April school vacation.
When they don’t have regular routines, teens typically hang out at the local mall. No merchant is immune as shoplifting juveniles will steal from all kinds of stores, including big box stores, department stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and even convenience stores.
Teenagers may steal items from merchants for the thrill of it, or to impress their friends. Some of the most common items teens will steal include clothing, books, music, jewelry and anything they can fit into their pockets or purses.
Although it’s not possible to completely stop these young people from stealing from you, there are ways to protect your business and your merchandise.
For example, you can help control shoplifting in your store by installing a high-quality business video surveillance system, which can help identify and prosecute a suspect after a theft occurs. You can train your employees to scan the store on a computer screen or using a mobile device to look for potential shoplifters. Additionally, the presence of these cameras themselves may also discourage the behavior!
There’s other technology that can help deter shoplifters as well. For example, you can install anti-theft devices such as round convex security mirrors in corners and anti-theft tags on merchandise.
There are low-tech ways that can help as well. You can train your employees to keep their eyes on the store, paying particular attention to groups of teenagers. Encourage workers to walk around the store looking for any suspicious activity such as a group of four or five younger shoppers each taking a number of items into the fitting rooms.
It’s extremely important to ensure that your workers know that they are never to accuse, chase, or place their hands on these visitors, even if they believe they’re up to no good. Instead, employees should notify the manager, who will notify security or the police.
Dedicating a worker to watch your self-check area is also a great idea. That employee can help customers with any issues they might have with the machines as well as keep people from stealing merchandise. Don’t pull that person away from the self-check out area because that’s when a theft will happen.
The challenge for merchants, then, is knowing what to expect from these potential juvenile shoplifters and how to respond to certain situations. Keeping these tips in mind will help you make it through another April school vacation, while keeping your losses to a minimum.