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Buying a Retail Store - Here’s How to Keep It Crime-Free

By Richard Parker: President of The Resource Center for A Retail Business™ and author of How To Buy A Good Retail Business At A Great Price© .

Let’s face facts. All retailers need to be concerned about crime – it is part of the retail landscape. The following kinds of crime need to be considered – and prevented – by anyone thinking about buying a retail store.

  • Stick-ups by violent (and sometimes armed) criminals.
  • Shoplifting.
  • Pilfering by employees.

Doesn’t sound too attractive, does it? Yet the following strategies discourage crime in many stores – and at relatively little expense:

Post signs stating that the premises are monitored by video security cameras – and make sure that your surveillance cameras are visible inside and outside your store. Note that surveillance cameras deter many different crimes: stick-ups, shoplifting, and pilfering by your own employees. The only problem is that you might need to watch 12 hours worth of video before finding a sales assistant sticking a tie or a digital camera into his pocket!

Install the latest equipment to monitor the inventory, including computerized cash registers and barcode scanners that track sales and make it far easier to keep track of your inventory. In addition to the other benefits that such systems provide, they also allow you to detect pilfering of inventory almost immediately. Plus, with today’s systems, you can access the cameras remotely and so you can track activity even when you are away from the store. Even the threat that you are doing so is enough to prevent employees from stealing (the smart ones anyways).

Install bright lighting in all outdoor areas of your establishment, if appropriate. Criminals really like the dark and will generally not victimize establishments where they need to park their cars under bright illumination, or walk through well-lit areas, etc.

Defend your business with good locks, alarms and strong doors that keep your inventory from literally “walking out the door.” Note that this might not be a problem in mall locations – or it might be a very big problem if mall security is lax. A mall that does not defend its tenants with the presence of security guards, locked exit doors, alarms and other preventions can actually make it more likely that your business will be victimized by crime.

Train your selling staff so that all associates know what to do about crime. Your goal should be for every sales associate to know exactly what to do if he or she observes a shoplifter or, even worse, if your store is held up at the register. The first goal? To make sure that all employees are safe.

Talk to the local police and review police blotter records to get an informed picture of crime in the area where you are buying. Also ask the Seller about whether the business has ever been the victim of any crimes. (He or she might not give you a complete report, but asking is a good idea nonetheless - and it is something you can easily research.)

This article represents a fraction of what you’ll learn in How To Buy A Good Retail Business At A Great Price© - the most widely used reference resource and strategy guide for anyone thinking about buying a retail store. Read a detailed listing of what you'll learn.

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