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11.26.23 – WJTV

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As organized retail theft surges nationwide, it remains low in the Magnolia State. 

According to a recent Forbes report, Mississippi ranks 49th nationally among states impacted by retail theft. It is the least impacted by organized retail theft among Southern states. Among the 10 states most impacted, none are in the South. 

Additionally, Larceny theft has declined by over 50% in Mississippi since 2019. The state has the fifth lowest rate of larceny nationally, ranking in at 5th lowest overall. Still, retail theft has a sizable influence on state revenue, with the state losing on average $24 per Mississippian in tax revenue, or roughly $70.5 million. 

The Forbes analysis gathered feedback from 660 small businesses. Among them, 56% -about 370- of them anticipated theft occurring in their stores this holiday season. About 422 -or 64% of businesses surveyed- increased their prices in response to theft. Approximately 75% of small businesses, or 495 of the 660, estimated anywhere between $500 to $2,500 in monthly losses due to theft. 

Organized retail theft is hardly a new occurrence in the U.S. Below are steps Forbes gives small businesses to reduce its impact.

Implement access control measures

Access control measures are not just for large retailers. They can also help protect small retailers from theft losses:

  • Install an electronic access control system for restricted areas, such as stockrooms. With these systems, you will assign unique access codes or keycards to each employee. It makes it easy to track who enters these areas. 
  • Regularly update the access permissions.

Use hidden cameras strategically

Cameras are a useful theft deterrent. A combination of visible and hidden surveillance cameras can make a big difference in what you can track at your store. Hidden cameras can capture thieves who are aware of the more obvious cameras. Strategically place both visible and hidden cameras throughout the store to maximize theft deterrence. Cameras are also a good way to gather evidence of theft for the police and for small business insurance theft claims.

Use data analytics

If you have enough data you can track unusual patterns in your sales and inventory. Consider a system that alerts you to unusual sales trends, odd transactions and inventory discrepancies. This can help you quickly detect theft and possibly identify ways to prevent it.

Train employees on loss prevention

Empower employees to become part of your loss prevention strategy. Provide training on how to identify and handle potential theft situations discreetly. Encourage employees to be vigilant without dramatically confronting customers.

Rethink store layout

An efficient store layout can play a role in reducing theft. Consider an open, well-lit store design with clear sightlines from employees to customers. This will make it easier for employees to monitor the sales floor and can deter potential thieves looking for hidden corners.

Buying the right small business insurance for retail theft claims

Being proactive about retail theft also involves choosing the right types of small business insurance. For example, a business owners policy (BOP) includes commercial property insurance along with general liability insurance and business interruption insurance. The commercial property portion of a BOP includes theft coverage. You can then add additional coverage to a BOP that will address your store’s specific needs.

If you implement theft-reduction tactics, you’ll be able to reduce your insurance claims and, ultimately, keep your small business insurance costs in check.