Retail Crime

From Losses to Savings: Transforming Retail Security with LPR

November 16, 2023

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Retail Crime

From Losses to Savings: Transforming Retail Security with LPR

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2023 Retail Security Survey, retailers experienced substantial losses of $112.1 billion in 2022.

The survey reveals that theft is the leading cause of retail shrink, accounting for a staggering 65% of losses. External theft, including Organized Retail Crime (ORC), contributes 36% to the overall loss.

In addition to the financial impact, the rising violence associated with retail crime is a growing concern. 88% of retailers have reported an increase in aggression and violence among shoplifters compared to the previous year, posing a serious threat to the safety of both customers and employees.

Retailers can take a proactive approach to curb these losses by layering their security measures. This strategy ensures that your business is well protected from potential threats – before they reach your storefront.

Layering Security: Leveraging LPR Cameras and Beyond

To transform your retail security program, it’s crucial to equip your loss prevention teams, security personnel, and law enforcement with the right tools.

Crime prevention begins in the parking lot, where potential threats initially enter the premises. This is a prime opportunity for proactive crime prevention. 

License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras should be positioned around the perimeter of your parking lots as an integral first layer of your security strategy. These cameras document the vehicles entering and exiting your property, providing security personnel and law enforcement with valuable vehicle information that can significantly aid in both ongoing and new investigations.

Moving inward, the next layer of security is live and recorded video. Incorporating video cameras around your storefront allows your security team to monitor real-time activities in and around your property or review footage later, providing a comprehensive view of any incidents if they occur.

With Flock Safety Condor™ Video, security and loss prevention teams can harness live and recorded on-scene video to respond to violent incidents from a safe distance, or pair video footage with LPR footage to enhance case data. 

If your location experiences a high volume of daily visitors or often experiences violent crime, a final layer of security could involve the deployment of armed or unarmed security officers. These officers can monitor and manage your LPR and video feeds and have the ability to contact police or address a threat in case of an emergency.

A way to further advance your evidence collection when it comes to your security officers is to consider equipping them with body cameras. As highlighted in a recent Forbes article, a growing number of retailers, including 25 of the top 100, have started incorporating body cameras into their security measures within the past 18 months.

While body cameras are emerging as a new solution to address retail theft, the supplementary on-the-ground footage they offer goes beyond mere documentation. This footage not only provides crucial context but also acts as a powerful deterrent for potential criminals who become aware that their actions are being recorded.

By combining the aforementioned security elements, you create a robust defense against crime, ensuring you have the necessary tools in place to address potential threats swiftly and effectively.

Proactively Mitigating Threats with LPR Technology

After equipping your security teams with the necessary tools, it’s time to put these measures into action.

From pharmacies and grocery stores to home improvement and electronics stores, ORC affects retailers across all industries, and effective crime prevention begins the moment a potential threat reaches your business’ perimeter. Once an individual with malicious intent is on your property, the situation can escalate rapidly, jeopardizing the safety of both employees and customers.

LPR systems such as Flock Safety Falcon® LPR cameras have the ability to immediately alert law enforcement or in-house security personnel when previously identified vehicles — such as those belonging to repeat offenders, banned customers, violent terminated employees, or individuals known to engage in ORC — enter a property. 

These alerts and vehicle details empower law enforcement and security personnel to take immediate action and prevent potential violence before it takes place without causing a disturbance or putting innocent bystanders at risk.

Strengthening Investigations with Vehicle Data 

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Retail Crime Data Center, there is a concerning upward trend in retail theft, as shown by the increase in the average case value from $937 in 2020 to $1,180 in 2021.

Beyond their role in crime prevention, LPR cameras prove invaluable for ongoing investigations – specifically when it comes to Organized Retail Crime.

While your Asset Protection or Loss Prevention team likely possesses some information about specific ORC groups or repeat offenders, LPR cameras can serve as the missing link required to dismantle these criminal networks.

With the ability to identify suspect vehicles and track repeat offenders across multiple store locations and states, LPR cameras allow law enforcement and security personnel to coordinate investigations and gain a better understanding, ultimately increasing their ability to solve complex cases and protect your bottom line.

Putting it to Practice: Fortune 500 Retailer’s Alabama Storefront Boosts Case Clearance

An example of this can be found in the experience of a Fortune 500 big-box retailer’s Alabama storefront, which had fallen victim to a surge in retail shrink due to the actions of out-of-town shoplifters. 

As an additional layer of security, the retailer chose to equip their storefront with Flock Safety Falcon® LPR cameras. Within the first 90 days of implementing the LPR cameras, this retailer successfully solved three theft cases that would have otherwise remained unresolved. 

Additionally, Flock Safety’s Falcon® LPR cameras helped this storefront improve its case closure rate by more than 25%, bringing it to an impressive 97% success rate. 

By embracing layered security and including LPR cameras, retailers can empower security teams with actionable information, minimize losses, and ensure the safety of customers and employees in the face of the growing concern around retail shrink and violence.

To see how Flock Safety can help you implement a custom solution for your business, book a demo. Together, let’s keep your stores, employees, and customers safe.

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