You have a CCTV system or are going to purchase one. Your retail theft problems are not over when the installer walks out the door. CCTV is like any other tool it is not effective unless you use it properly. To stop retail theft you must do the following:

Employee Theft – Make the CCTV system more of an “active” tool rather than a passive one. Consider trying this: bring a different employee in every few weeks and go over with them something you observed. Example, bring in a cashier, show them a short video of them working the POS and checking out a few customers. Complement them! The speed at which they processed the customers through their line, how friendly they are and that they appear to be engaging in a sincere manner. Make it ALL about complements. They will walk out of your office feeling good but they know that you are watching. This should not be a big surprise, YOU HAVE A CAMERA SYSTEM! Do you think that this will get around to other employees? Of course it will.

Shoplifting – Signs that tell shoplifters you have a CCTV system or that it is “live” are OK but you cannot rely on this to be the primary way to make the system appear to be active. Wait until a customer or a suspected shoplifter is in a concealed area or acting odd and then approach them. “I noticed on our camera system that you seem to need some help. Can I help you with….”? Do this enough and word gets around.

Vendor’s – Combine the above techniques for employee theft and shoplifting. Ask the vendor or delivery person into your office and with that camera or clip of video playing where they can see it ask them about a issue or discrepancy or issue. Consider positive comments such as “I noticed that you were working carefully and paying close attention to what you delivered. Thank you.” An e-mail with a short video clip to their supervisor or upper management and complementing them on the work this person is doing. That information will spread.

CCTV ability to prevent retail theft is unlimited if you use it in “active mode”!