The holiday season may be a time of joy and celebration. But unfortunately, it also represents an increase in criminal activity.
As businesses in all industries gear up for the festive rush, criminals see a window of opportunity to exploit the chaos.
For instance, roughly 1 million burglaries take place in the United States every single year. Yet, approximately 83,000 occur just in the month of December– accounting for roughly 8.1% of the yearly total. So, in 2021, an estimated $130.5 million was lost to burglaries during the holiday season.
‘Tis The Season For Cime: Understanding The Trends
Shoplifting And Theft
One of the most prevalent crimes during the holiday season is shoplifting. As stores become packed with bustling crowds, staff members are distracted by an influx of demands, and merchandise is stocked high for Christmas, retailers become a very attractive target for thieves.
This festive atmosphere also provides some cover for those looking to pilfer items without being noticed.
Burglaries And Break-Ins
As businesses close for the day, burglaries and break-ins also become more frequent during the holiday season. This is because criminals take advantage of extended holiday hours, knowing that businesses may be closed for an extended period. This allows perpetrators ample time to execute their plans.
As the holiday season ushers in a surge of online shopping, another unfortunate side effect is the rise of porch piracy. This contemporary crime involves thieves swiping packages left unattended on doorsteps and common areas of apartment buildings.
So, while convenient, online shopping comes at a cost, with packages often left exposed for extended periods. Opportunistic thieves take advantage of this chaos and the high volume of seasonal deliveries.
Porch piracy not only affects individual consumers but also poses a challenge for businesses relying on a smooth and secure delivery process. The financial losses and emotional distress caused by stolen packages can dampen the holiday spirit for both customers and merchants.
Fraud And Cybercrime
Due to the increase in online shopping nowadays, the holiday season also sees a surge in cybercrime. Fraudulent activities such as phishing scams, identity theft, and credit card fraud become more prevalent as consumers more readily engage in virtual transactions to avoid crowded storefronts and long lines.
Why The Uptick In Crime?
Increased Foot Traffic
Every single year, the holiday season attracts a significantly higher number of shoppers as people race to cash in on discounts and pick up gifts for loved ones. This creates a chaotic environment where criminals can easily blend in and exploit the increased foot traffic.
Seasonal Staffing Challenges
Many businesses are also forced to hire additional seasonal staff members just to cope with the increased demands of customers. But, this influx of temporary employees can result in a lack of familiarity with security protocols and create vulnerabilities that criminals can exploit.
Overwhelmed Security Systems
Lastly, the sheer volume of activity in stores during the holidays can overwhelm existing security infrastructures. On-site security guards are often pulled in countless directions, and constant active monitoring of security cameras sometimes isn’t realistic.
This lapse in security ultimately provides a window of opportunity for criminals to capitalize on and strike your business.
Protecting Your Business: Strategies For A Secure Holiday Season
Reinforce Staff Training
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that a diligent staff is your first line of defense against shoplifting and theft. So, empower employees by implementing comprehensive holiday training programs.
These trainings can highlight the importance of vigilance and customer interaction, provide strategies for spotting suspicious behavior, and reinforce an adherence to security protocols at all times.
Upgrade Security Systems
There’s also no time better than the holiday season to invest in cutting-edge security systems that can make a substantial difference in the safety of your business.
You can implement live video monitoring, which is a stellar complement for on-site security guards. You should also consider upgrading to high-resolution cameras and implementing motion sensors and access control devices to deter and detect criminal activity.
Increase Visible Security Presence
It’s also important not to underestimate the power of a visible security presence. Simply having security guards present at all times can significantly deter crime.
So, be sure to employ extra security personnel to patrol your premises– both inside and outside. Criminals will be discouraged from attempting any illegal activities if they know there are guards in the area.
Implement Access Control Measures
Additionally, implementing access control devices can help limit access to sensitive areas– whether that be loading bays or stock rooms. This can include the use of keycard systems, biometric authentication, and secure locks to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering restricted zones and jeopardizing security.
Monitor Social Media
Around the holidays, it is common for social media trends to run rampant, too. And sometimes, these trends encourage viewers to partake in illicit activities.
It is a good idea to keep a close eye on social media channels for any indications of planned criminal activities, since these platforms may be used to communicate and coordinate attacks. By monitoring social media, you can keep a pulse on any happenings and enable proactive measures when necessary to prevent criminal incidents.
Implement Inventory Controls
Robust inventory controls can also help prevent internal theft. That’s why you should conduct regular audits on stock, implement a check-in and check-out system for employees handling merchandise, and use RFID technology to track the movement of all high-value items.
Collaborate With Law Enforcement
Lastly, it is beneficial to establish a strong relationship with law enforcement agencies in your local area. You can share information about your business hours and security measures, and keep them informed of any suspicious activities on your property.
This collaboration will ensure a swift response in case of an incident and may even act as a deterrent to potential criminals.
Stay Safe This Season With Intentional Security Strategies
It’s no secret that colder weather and the holiday season herald increased crime. But, by understanding common crimes and their underlying causes, you can stay one step ahead and deploy effective strategies to protect your business.
By reinforcing staff training, upgrading security systems, and implementing a multi-faceted approach to securing your business, you can create a safer environment for your customers and employees while protecting your assets.
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