COME ONE, COME ALL?
Retail store personnel work very hard to attract steady streams of paying customers. The resulting appeal isn’t confined to citizens who obey the law. Criminals are also attracted to retail operations, but with nefarious intent.
Lured by cash and other valuables, criminals look for signs of weakness when targeting retail stores. Shoplifting, crash and grabs, price tag swapping, fraudulent returns, switching merchandise, robberies, burglaries, and other thefts are often done with little advance planning. They are, by definition, crimes of opportunity. These opportunistic criminals present a myriad of concerns for retailers.
Smart retailers take steps necessary for reducing their attractiveness to opportunistic criminals. These retailers recognize that many crimes of opportunity are relatively easy to thwart. They proactively seek outside professional assistance to identify weaknesses and use the guidance they receive to employ measures designed to mitigate their vulnerabilities; thereby enjoying the benefits of fewer losses and headaches.
THE BEGINNING: SMALL CRIMES OF OPPORTUNITY
I recently enjoyed several opportunities to engage with a gentleman who sailed the world, year-round, from 1996 to 2011. In one discussion he spoke of the high seas pirates off the coast of Somalia. He shared his understanding that the epidemic of ransoms, involving millions and millions of dollars, began simply as crimes of opportunity. He should know. He sailed those waters in the early days of Somali pirating.
Yachts sailing too close to the Somali coast were occasionally boarded and their passengers robbed by thugs. As the bad guys learned how much value could be lifted from the vessels, they became more brazen and began committing robberies farther out to sea against increasingly larger, more attractive, targets.
OPPORTUNITY CREATED A MONSTER
Once Somali conquests became better known, organized foreign criminal enterprises began to comprehend just how much money the pirates were making and how the scope of untapped potential existed in the region. The crime syndicates wanted to “wet their beaks” and began providing Somali pirates with boats and weapons. Shortly thereafter Somali pirating evolved into a multimillion dollar, multinational, criminal enterprise.
MITIGATE YOUR VULNERABILITIES
If security weaknesses are proactively addressed as they’re discovered, they’ll mitigate crimes of opportunity; because the opportunities become fewer and increasingly difficult for criminals to exploit. Proactive measures taken to reduce your overall exposure to criminal activity could very well result in far fewer criminal attempts against your business. Criminals will go elsewhere, seeking easier targets.
Most retailers invest time, education, and interest in improving revenues. They aren’t well equipped in recognizing physical plant weaknesses, recognizing internal and external security limitations, and in developing good procedures and protocols for hardening their businesses against exposure to criminal activities.
SECOND OPINIONS = SMART BUSINESS
You think you know your body pretty well, right? However, you still get occasional medical checkups by your family physician. The doctor is the expert, you’re not.
Why not do the same for your business? Have your business evaluated by a risk mitigation professional. That person or organization can assist in the identification and mitigation of your exposure for criminal activity; internal and external. Failing to do so could cost you dearly.
Jewel photo courtesy of Daniel Oines
Somali boat photo courtesy of Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
Somali Pirate photo courtesy of RubyGoes
Sailboat photo courtesy of Dave Dugdale
Appointment photo courtesy of Oliver Symens
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