Beating Bad Santa’s and Christmas Thieves.



There are just some things that shouldn’t happen. One of them is being robbed by Santa.


As hard as it is to believe, would-be thieves have regularly taken advantage of the season of goodwill to don the distinctive red and white outfit of the jolly fellow and the disguise offered by a white beard and hat.


I remember an incident from last Christmas when a ‘Santa’ wearing sunglasses entered a retail outlet and demanded the staff fill his red sack with cash. At first the staff thought he was going to give them lollies.


There has been a long history of crooks using the Santa disguise, the most infamous was the Santa Claus Robbery of 1929, when three ‘Santas’ held up the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas. The bank tellers were also caught by surprise, greeting the thieves with “Hello Santa!”



Tis the season for thieves!


Retailers know that while Christmas is the time for big sales, it is also the season that would-be thieves take advantage of the big crowds that flood our shopping centres as a cover for shop stealing.


I really think it is a shame that some people see Christmas as a season to commit dishonest acts and cheat their fellow man.


But that’s how it is. It is a mistake to think that shoplifting and fraud are spontaneous, opportunistic crimes. Most of the time, they are not.


Just like retailers, thieves plan around annual cycles, with Christmas being the busiest and most profitable time of year for shoplifters, just as it is for retailers.


Everything becomes simpler; more stock in your store means that there are more barriers and blind spots on the shop floor. There is also the issue of stock associated confusion, were there only 10 units stacked there or a dozen? The big crowds also provide the camouflage that allows crooks to hide.


As we know, at peak periods you are more than likely to have younger, inexperienced staff to cope with increased demand. The employment of armature staff presents further security problems as such staff are almost defenseless against experienced con artists.


We’re familiar with the old rouse of a customer giving your new staff member $20 for a small item and when he is being given his change he insists he gave them a fifty. Is an 18-year-old school leaver going challenge a veteran thief?


Then there are new, short-term staff members you might not know as well. You need to be on guard for stock shrinkage and missing cash.



How you can protect your business.


At Chartercom, we know there is a lot of theft prevention measures retailers can implement themselves. With over 20-years of experience in the security industry, I know that there is no magic bullet, retail security is multi-faceted and requires a collaborative approach.


The first guard against theft relates to staff. You need enough staff in your store to properly observe your goods and customers, especially throughout peak periods. It is imperative they are trained in detecting shoplifters and comprehend organisational procedure when dealing with these incidents.


Then there is a first-rate CCTV system. It’s a great deterrent not only for shoplifters but any staff or delivery personnel who may have a fraudulent agenda. CCTV nips that urge in the bud.


I would also caution against do-it-yourself CCTV and security systems. You might think you are protected, but you really need expert advice.


Crooks can be beaten, and at Chartercom, we’re ready to help. We protect some of the nation’s biggest brands, including Nike, Mercedes, Toys R Us, Country Road, iSelect, Transpacific, and Priceline among many.



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