Key crime prevention tips
To prevent shop theft:
- remember that good customer service is a deterrent
- watch for suspicious behaviour
- secure cash handling and stock control
- secure the store
- consider the store layout.
Theft prevention checklist
Good customer service is a deterrent
- Acknowledge customers when they enter the store.
- Ensure empty hangers and excess stock are removed from racks and shelves.
- Check the number of items taken in and out of changing rooms.
Watch for suspicious behaviour
- Keep customers in view.
- Pay attention to customers who appear nervous or distracted.
- Pay attention to customers wearing loose or bulky clothing, especially in hot weather.
- Pay attention to customers who remain in the store for lengthy periods of time.
- Pay attention to customers who loiter outside before shopping.
- Question people in restricted areas, stockrooms or stairways. Check identification of tradespersons.
- Inspect prams, shopping trolleys, boxes and bags before customers leave the store.
- Keep a record of customers who return items.
Secure cash handling and stock control
- Never leave cash registers unattended.
- Limit the cash kept on site and in the register.
- Ensure customers cannot access behind the counter.
- Do not count cash in front of customers.
- Install security tags on items and barriers at the exits.
- Where possible, lock expensive and portable goods in security cabinets, or keep them away from exits.
Secure the store
- Secure all exits, for example install good quality locks, solid doors and window bars.
- Ensure fire doors or doors to staff areas remain closed and locked.
- Install a monitored alarm.
- Install sensors or alarms to alert staff to a customer entering the store. Electronic doors achieve the same.
- Check all doors are locked at close of business.
- Make sure no one is hiding in the store at closing time.
- Install CCTV with a view of customers entering the store, and customers paying. Use stickers or signs to show that the store has cameras. Ensure staff know how to save and download CCTV footage.
- Show customers they are on camera by having the camera feed visible.
- Install an alarm, which can be discreetly activated. Options include a button near the cash draw or activation by foot or knee.
Consider the store layout
- Ensure the store is well-lit.
- Ensure staff can see over shelves and clothing racks.
- Install mirrors to help staff to see obscured floor space.
- Keep store windows clear, so staff can see the street.
Other things you can do
- Roster at least two staff members per shift, so the store is never unattended.
- Hire store security and/or loss prevention officers.
- Regularly clean surfaces to make it easier for police to take fingerprints.
- Use scenarios to train staff on what to do in a robbery. Visit for guidance.
- Keep witness description forms near the cash register.
- Mark exit doors with coloured height markers.
- Join your local traders’ group.
What to do if there has been a theft in your store
If there has been a theft in your store:
- tell your supervisor or manager.
- as a witness, report the offence rather than waiting for your manager to report it.
Report anonymously to Crime Stoppers by:
Download a printable checklist:
Reviewed 25 May 2023