With the Holiday season always comes the frenzy of increased buying. While many retail outlets are pushing further out to minimize the rush within stores, the threats of new theft tactics are on the rise. Just recently a smash and grab mob stormed into a Nordstrom in San Francisco and overwhelmed staff and security to a point that employees are becoming traumatized by the level and severity of these incidents.
How can security firms help to alleviate this new threat that does not appear to go away? Here are 3 ways that security is providing help in these areas.
- Protect the people, observe, and report: Security is primarily designed to be as a deterrent to potential criminal behavior, and retail outlets are ramping up their officers as the holiday season appears to be gaining momentum. However, it is important to understand that in some situations security cannot interfere directly if there is a risk to people and property. While we often think of the officer as being able to thwart any crime, if there is a risk that their actions could potentially impact human lives and safety, the proper response is “Observe and Report”. Having a good mobile incident management solution that can take photos, videos and document the incident to the authorities so they can help the local police force identify and capture the offenders.
- Real-time response when security officers are threatened: The reality is that while retail brands desire more officers at their store locations, there aren’t as many officers to go around. The security industry is spread thin in terms of resources these days and having the ability to hire and training new officers is proving difficult and time consuming. However, having a strong lone worker protection solution connected to a command center can get reinforcements to a location quickly. With push-to-talk and panic buttons on their mobile devices, officers can reach dispatch quickly and they can contact the nearest officer and estimate arrival time to the officer in need. This way, as an incident escalates, they have means to reduce risk, right at their fingertips.
- Proactive communication to reduce risk: These retail incidents are not localized to one retail store; often these “smash and grab mobs” will hit multiple retailers in a common radius. The challenge becomes how to communicate these updates to the guard force in real-time. Post order notification systems can be leveraged to give up-to-the-minute intelligence on the incidents from around the area. These push notification to mobile devices give security operations a direct feed into where incidents are happening, what to expect and what preventive measures to take before anything happens. Gaining intelligence from on incident can help to mitigate risk in other areas.
We are living in a challenging world where there are plenty of challenges to provide security and safety. While it’s terribly unfortunate that bad actors are taking advantage of the retail industry and devising new ways to commit crimes, it is important that physical security operations leverage the tools that will help them to reduce risk of safety and human lives, while increasing the visibility and communication of how to detect, report and ultimately prevent incidents that can impact the retail industry.