New Christmas theft figures prompt security warning

Businesses are being urged to ramp up their security measures in the lead-up to Christmas and over the holiday break, on the back of a report highlighting the extent of Christmas theft in 2012.


According to a report by the Centre for Retail Research, funded by Checkpoint Systems, losses incurred by the retail industry over the Christmas period are expected to run into the millions.


The report, titled Shoplifting for Christmas 2012, is based on a study of 19 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, although Australia was not included in the study.


Christmas is defined as the six-week period from mid-November to the end of December.


According to the report, Christmas crime losses in the US are expected to hit $8.8 million, while Europe will incur losses of $7.4 million.


The product categories most likely to be stolen over the Christmas period include alcohol, women’s clothing and fashion accessories, toys, perfume, and health and beauty gift packs.


Other popular categories are electronic devices, men’s toiletries, DVD sets and game consoles, food and Christmas decorations, electrical goods, watches and jewellery, and confectionary.


According to Patrick Bourke, managing director of security patrol network Southern Cross Protection, there are plenty of measures businesses can put in place to avoid theft.


“First, it’s important that business owners and managers think about what could go wrong,” Bourke says.


Here are Bourke’s top tips:

  • If you are using skeleton staff during the Christmas period, do you have to worry about your staff being alone at the business? Do your staff require security training?
  • Is there potential for malicious damage to or theft from your business to occur over Christmas and New Year?
  • Do you need to worry about business continuity problems after the holiday period? As in, will there be an economic loss to your business if something happened?
  • Is financial loss more likely from theft of product, equipment or other assets?

Bourke says it’s also important to make sure your business is secure if it will be shut down for an extended period. This includes CCTV and alarms.


“Consider storing high-value assets offsite during the Christmas and New Year period to minimise risk,” he says.


Bourke says you also need to put a prevention or response plan in place while you are away.


“While you are closed, who will be doing a regular inspection to make sure everything is okay?  Do you need to organise extra security?” he says.


“This may come in the form of a nominated staff member or a specialised security patrol service.


“If something goes wrong, does the security patrol service or nominated staff member know who to call and what to do? Do you need to be contacted?


“Engage the security service provider to take action as though they were you.”


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