How to Catch Shoplifters: A Virginia Commercial Security Pro Answers

Here’s the ugly truth: The average shoplifter walks out of your store with $559 in stolen goods per incident. And unfortunately, over the course of a year that adds up—fast. In fact, American retail shops lose almost $50 billion to theft annually.

That’s a lot of money that your business can’t afford to lose.

To help you cut back on losses, we’ll share 5 powerful ways to catch shoplifters and cut back on losses due to theft.


Want a professional to assess your business for weak security spots? Contact Richmond Alarm. We have 70+ years of experience providing custom security solutions for businesses across Virginia. Our professionals can help boost your store’s security and prevent shoplifting with high-tech security products like CCTV, access control systems and more.

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5 ways to catch shoplifters

How to Catch Shoplifters

1. Use attentive employees and customer service

One cost-effective tool you already have at your disposal is your staff. Employees are the first line of defense against shoplifting so make sure that you’re training them and using them effectively.

To ensure your employees are always aware and attentive, you should:

  • Schedule an adequate number of employees to work at one time
  • Train employees to never leave the shop/store unattended
  • Have at least one employee greet every customer that walks in and out
  • Implement a rule that cashiers should never leave the cash register unattended or walk away from the counter
  • Create a security code that alerts all employees of possible shoplifters
  • For larger stores, consider having trained security guards monitor the store for an added set of eyes

2. Use EAS devices

EAS Tags to Prevent Shoplifting

If you’re not already using EAS (electronic article surveillance) devices, you should definitely consider doing so to help deter shoplifters.

By attaching EAS devices to your products, you can rely on an alarm to trigger automatically when a shoplifter walks out with a stolen product. Plus, a visible tag on your product can help prevent shoplifters from even attempting to steal your product in the first place.

When it comes to EAS devices, you have various options. The type you choose really just depends on your product type and your budget (some are more expensive to implement than others).

The most common types of EAS devices include:

  • Tags
  • Labels
  • Antennas
  • Spider tags

The options above use either radiofrequency, electromagnetic technology, sensors or metal detectors trigger an alarm and prevent theft. If you’re unsure which option is best for your shop/store, consult a professional for advice.

3. Install burglar alarms

Closed Sign on Business

A burglar alarm system is a great deterrent for after-hour theft, especially for small retail stores.

Examples of burglar alarm products include:

  • Motion detectors
  • Glassbreak sensors
  • Door/window sensors
  • And more…

When installed, these products will trigger an alarm when certain suspicious activities occur (i.e. when a window breaks, a door is left ajar or motion is detected after hours).

Plus, you can set up notifications to be sent to your smartphone whenever an alarm is triggered so that you stay in the know no matter where you are.

4. Install an access control system

Unfortunately, people on your payroll account for 40% of shoplifting. By installing an access control system, you can keep shoppers out of restricted areas but also keep track of when employees enter and exit certain areas.

Plus, with an access control system, you can go completely keyless. That means you don’t have to worry about who might get their hands on your building’s keys if/when it’s lost.

Many different kinds of access control systems exist. One of the most popular systems that we install is the Brivo Access control system. With this system, you can choose from a number of employee credential options including card swipes, keypads or biometrics (scanning fingerprints, faces, etc).

The type of access control system you choose really just depends on what makes sense for your security needs.

5. Install video cameras

Install Indoor Video Cameras in Business

The most powerful way to catch and prevent shoplifting is to install a video surveillance system.

Installing cameras and keeping them visible throughout your store is key to deterring shoplifters. If potential shoplifters know they’re being filmed, they’re less likely to steal. With a video surveillance system, you can also keep a close eye on employees (remember 40% of theft is done by employees).

Plus, all video footage can be recorded and stored to the cloud, which means no one can steal video footage. Depending on your needs, you can even set up remote viewing so that you can see in real time what’s happening at your business, no matter where you are.

At RAC, we’ve helped numerous Virginia businesses prevent shoplifting by installing Axis Communications camera systems that are tailored to their specific shop’s security needs.

Our Axis video surveillance systems offer better resolution and image details than any other analog camera on the market. Plus, these video surveillance systems provide active tampering alarms, uninterrupted video recordings and even allow the detection of people, objects and incidents in total darkness.

Need a security pro's help to prevent and catch shoplifters?

If you want to step up your shop’s security game and catch more shoplifters in the act, we can help.

Richmond Alarm has over 70 years of experience protecting businesses in and around the Virginia area. We provide a wide range of high-tech security products that can be customized to your shop’s specific needs and budget.

Let us come by to inspect your business and assess it for security weak spots and then provide multiple security system design options—all for free.

Schedule your free quote