Retail security in today’s high crime rate world

Jun 26, 2023 | CCTV, Commercial Security, Intruder Alarms, Security Systems

Retailers have been early adopters of security technology in a bid to reduce crime occurring during opening times and when shops or shopping centres are closed. Retail security is a huge concern currently as highlighted by the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Crime Survey findings.

Hold onto your shopping basket handles as there’s some shocking stats.

Even though retailers spent £715 million on crime prevention measures in 2021/22 it’s not mitigated their losses.

☹ The cost of retail crime stood at £1.76 billion in 2021/22

☹ Over eight million incidents of theft in 2021/22 financial year

Now let’s move onto the really serious stuff.

Violence and abuse against people working in retail has almost doubled, there’s around 850 incidents EVERY DAY in 2021/22. From knife threats to racial abuse, physical attacks to sexual abuse. People working in retail are bearing a colossal burden emotionally every time they open the shop door to customers.

Is there a solution?

Well, BRC are working closely with the police in response to these survey findings and the continuation of the trend this year. Obviously police visibility and prosecutions of people who are stealing and attacking staff in the sector are essential. Actual security professionals on the ground in city centres make a positive impact or at least a deterrent as well.

Retailers are already spending on security measures, so we’ve mapped out what a great security install could look like to protect staff and stock to the highest level.


When it comes to CCTV cameras there’s something big you need to address first; is your CCTV monitored?

Monitored CCTV where security professionals are continually looking at the live footage of your camera feed. A shopping centre for example might decide to deploy this especially where the retailers within are suffering with high levels of threats to staff or stock loss.

If you don’t have a team sitting watching screens 24/7 then the other option is remotely monitored CCTV is where footage is recorded, and you can access it at any time via an app.

Both remote and live monitored CCTV footage is high-definition images which can be accessed, subject to data protection laws, by the police for any prosecutions. It’s essential that you can easily access recorded footage.

Some CCTV will only record when movement is detected, this could be useful for high value items where an alert is issued to the person allocated to monitoring the camera systems.

Installing CCTV at Lush

It’s important to have your CCTV installed with the correct positioning, you might find it’s better to put a turret camera onto a bracket to get good coverage when the CCTV is in operation.

Then it’s about selecting the right CCTV, for example a bullet camera is designed for outside use so it’s probably not a good idea to have them in your shop.

Another tip is about the field of view selected for your camera, if it is a limited one then you might be missing coverage of parts of your shop or shopping centre. It’s essential you have this conversation with your security provider especially if you have little nooks or areas where thefts could happen out of sight of people.

AI within CCTV is something to consider for shopping centres in city centres in order to undertake appearance searching on monitored systems. This means repeat offenders will be detected and shops or on the ground security guards can be alerted to that person being in the vicinity.

Rounding up CCTV, there’s more to it than just sticking a camera or two up in your shopping area and hoping for the best!

Panic alarms

In response to the high number of incidents towards staff let’s talk about panic alarms. They aren’t new but they can be effective in many of the situations outlined in this blog.

A panic alarm can simply send out an alarm into the shop if that’s what you want, that alarm could prevent an incident from getting more serious. Similarly, if a theft is taking place an alarm could lead to your stock being dumped as the thief takes off which could help mitigate your losses.

The consideration with alarms is purely aligned to the shopping experience you want to provide, ones that ring out could cause concern for innocent parties. Evaluating this against staff safety and stock losses is important when considering what sort of panic alarm to install. Of course, quiet versions are available.

Panic alarms with a police response are something that retailers might need to consider if there are a lot of incidents happening in an area where you are located. Those alarms are connected to a 24/7 monitoring centre ensuring you have cover for all your opening times and no alert is provided within your shop in this instance.

CCTV connected to intruder alarms

Smart security systems where you can link multiple devices such as alarms and CCTV provide an interesting option for retailers and shopping centres. If your alarm is monitored, then your response team (police or private security) can see what is happening on your premises before they arrive which is useful if there are any weapons involved in burglary or aggression towards staff.

The primary benefit of this combined system is for visual confirmation of the activity that is happening on the site for spaces that are monitored. It can be seen that the alarm has been triggered by a genuine event (this could be linked to the panic alarm as well).

Locked docks

Magnetic locks with swipe or fob access on certain doors within your retail space could help give staff safe spaces to move to if they are being subjected to any abuse or violence.

Many retailers will have excellent security measures on the doors of their shops on the outside and shopping centres will have centralised locking for doors. However, considering the movement of staff and customers in the shop through doors could provide a safer workplace for your team.

Connor installing CCTV at a shopping centre

Car Parking

Don’t forget your shopping centre car parks too, they will need great lighting and a range of security measures to keep shoppers safe as they enter and walk around the car park. Some shopping centres are using card access with a fully secure door entry system however that doesn’t mitigate the need for CCTV cameras to be installed. CCTV cameras can either be monitored as part of the shopping centre or remotely monitored depending on the physical security in place (or not).

ANPR is also a good system to have in place, not just for smart car parking metering but also in case of any criminal activities that occur related to vehicles. Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras take a snapshot of the vehicle registration number and stores it should police need to access information about vehicles within the car park. Our ANPR can be installed to be linked to your CCTV systems.

JKE and Retailers

JKE Security have been working with Lush as their security needs had to match the sustainability credentials that the brand lives by for their own products. When they called us and asked if we could supply CCTV for some of their shops that fit the sustainability credentials required by them we set to work finding the right equipment. And we did. Now there’s a few LUSH stores across the UK that have environmentally friendly CCTV systems installed by us.

Over at Pavilion Shopping Centre JKE updated the brains of the CCTV (i.e. the operating and recording system) in their control room removing the aging analogue system. By putting in a hybrid system, it ensured this was compatible with their existing CCTV cameras within the centre and car park. This has enabled us to upgrade old cameras to new IP cameras as and when budget allows, this has removed the upfront cost of a complete system upgrade.

Are you a retailer, or shopping centre management company who is looking to protect staff, and reduce crime rates within the shops you manage? Get in touch today as JKE will pop out and survey your sites and come up with a plan to get you’re people and premises safer so you have more peace of mind and less financial loss.

Call us on 0800 2545645 or email and one of the team will be happy to help.