Prevent Summer Shoplifting: 7 Ways to Combat Rising Retail Theft
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Prevent Summer Shoplifting: 7 Ways to Combat Rising Theft This Season

Date: Jun 20 2024
Read Time: 8 minutes

It’s officially the first day of summer! School is out, people are planning summer trips and hitting retail stores for big summer sales. But temperatures aren’t the only thing on the rise this season. Summertime typically sees a significant spike in all types of crime, including shoplifting within the retail industry. Many retailers, from small businesses to big box retail establishments deal with more stolen merchandise than usual. Is it just a coincidence? Not likely. Read on to find out why retail theft increases with the summer temperatures, the most popular items for theft, and the right security measures to protect your product displays and your customers.

Temperatures and theft reach record highs this season

It’s no secret that violent crime increases during the summer. There’s been tons of studies about how rising temperatures typically makes people more irritable, likely leading to more confrontation. Unfortunately, for retail theft, we’re aware it increases between June and September, but we haven’t pinpointed why. It’s likely due to major discrepancies in means of reporting. There’s plenty of speculation, but here are some of the major thoughts.

1. There are more people outside

An obvious answer is that it’s simply a numbers game. The warm weather brings people outside, both consumers and would-be shoplifters. Whether petty theft or organized retail crime, even criminals aren’t motivated in inclement or unpleasant weather. Suspicious activity is likely more noticeable during shopping seasons when patrons are sparse. Additionally, social media platforms can influence shopping behavior and potentially increase shoplifting by promoting deals and advertisements that attract more people to stores.

2. Less sales representatives on hand

Many people are taking holidays which could lead to less employees available at any given moment to spot suspected shoplifters. The reduction in sales representatives can significantly increase the risk of retail theft. Other industries see a decrease in consumers so a business may cut costs on staff and security guards.

3. School is out

The majority of shoplifters are boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 20, so it’s no surprise that summer break means a major increase in idle time for this age group.

How to prevent summer retail theft

Stopping potential shoplifters requires a multi-pronged approach. With less staff on the sales floor, it becomes imperative to provide more in-depth training, have a detailed shoplifting policy for dealing with thieves, and deploying reliable anti-theft solutions.

1. Provide good customer service

Providing service doesn’t mean having a staff member incessantly following a shopper around your retail store. An easy solution could be to greet customers as soon as they enter. This way honest customers feel welcome and potential thieves know you’re aware of their presence. Someone may be less likely to steal if they feel they’re being watched.

2. Train staff on how to spot suspicious activity

Nearly 42% of retailers forbid staff from engaging with thieves, and for good reason. It’s not worth putting anyone at risk of a potentially violent situation. Even if staff doesn’t engage directly, they can be taught how to spot a potential shoplifter. For instance, are some patrons carrying abnormally large bags, or dressed unusually for the weather? These are all tools to conceal merchandise, especially small, expensive items like cosmetics or jewelry. Remember, do not chase or use force, employees should report all strange activity to the appropriate department or a security guard.

3. Keep track of inventory to increase visibility

During busier times, you may find yourself doing more inventory audits than usual. Constantly tidying up your store between shoppers can go a long way. For one, staff can more quickly identify when something doesn’t look quite right and investigate further.

4. Limit blind spots

If paying for around-the-clock staff isn’t in the budget, it does help to use other preventative measures. Common examples include adequate lighting, strategically placed convex mirrors, security cameras, or electronic article surveillance with proper InVue security tags.

Related Article: Beyond the Magnet: The Pitfalls of Magnetic Security Tags and Reliable Alternatives

5. Use mobile POS hardware in place of stationary cash registers

In addition to placing customer checkouts near exits, using point of sale hardware with mobile capability like the NE150 can be game changer. With mobile capability you can help customers and accept payments in any aisle. If an employee needs to do an inventory check, they can do it right on the spot with the proper POS software versus leaving the sales floor unattended to head to a back stock room.

6. Encourage the use of reusable shopping baskets

Promoting reusable shopping baskets not only supports sustainable practices but also helps in reducing theft. Shoppers using a store’s baskets are less likely to engage in shoplifting, and it aligns with the growing trend towards environmentally friendly practices. Major brands are prioritizing products focused on reuse, signaling a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the market.

7. Prevent shoplifting of popular summer finds with InVue’s advanced anti-theft devices

Although employees are your first line of defense in preventing shoplifting, they certainly shouldn’t be put at risk as the only line of defense. Summer shopping trends show that consumer spending is primarily focused on sporting goods stores, some apparel stores, luggage vendors and home improvement stores during the summer months. Here are the most popular summer items and how to protect them.


Swimwear and other light summer clothing are a very obvious best seller when the temperatures heat up. Swimwear is small and easy to conceal, making it a prime target for theft.

Solution: Cable Lock
InVue’s Cable Lock is an EAS-enabled security tag that cannot be cut off or defeated by magnets. Loop it around swimwear, in shoe eyelets, light jackets, and other items in place of unreliable magnetic tags. They transmit an alarm when potential shoplifters attempt to cut the cable or if it passes through an EAS detector.

Outdoor recreation & fitness equipment, travel accessories

Tents, BBQ grills, bicycles, luggage and patio furniture are a no-brainer amongst popular summer items. Not only that, but they can also be expensive. A tent can range anywhere from $50 up to $500 depending on the size and quality and grills can cost from the low $100s to well over $1000.

Solution: Cable Lock Anchor
Cable Lock Anchor in a unique solution initially developed for Tractor Supply Co. It’s a unique solution because it is a double-sided EAS lock connected via a coil cable. One lock attaches to the product and the other attaches to a secure fixture. If the cable is tampered with an alarm will sound. It is easy and efficient for employees to remerchandise products or unlock them for a customers.

Recommended Read: Enhancing Product Interaction in Sporting Goods Stores with AS Adventure


Items like portable speakers, cameras, and smartphones accessories are popular for capturing and sharing summer memories.

Solution: Merchandise Display Security
InVue’s merchandise display solutions cover a wide range of items from smartphones to cameras and everything in between. What makes our products unique is that the majority operate on a single-key system. With the single-key system you have full control of which employees can access what items, never have to worry about rekeying locks, and can more efficiently manage products.

Sunscreen and sun protection

With increased sun exposure, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and UV protective clothing are essential purchases. Essential items are always popular targets for thieves and more stores have resorted to keeping them behind lock and key.

Solution: T1000
The T1000 is designed as a direct replacement for standard hanging merchandise pegs, seamlessly attaching to peg boards and slatwalls with a concealed screw. Featuring a spring-loaded, time-delayed dispenser, it simplifies restocking for associates by dispensing one product with a simple button push. Its compact size optimizes shelf utilization and allows effortless relocation for swift remerchandising tasks.

Luxury goods

This doesn’t seem like an obvious choice, but luxury retailers usually see an uptick in sales. Tourists often buy small luxury items as souvenirs while on vacation like designer sunglasses and card holders.

Solution: Smart Locks
Smart Locks provides frictionless access to closed cabinets and cases. Smart Locks can be accessed using a store’s mobile device, OneKEY, by scanning a QR code, or even remotely. Smart locks are designed to be timeless without detracting from high-end look, feel and functionality of luxury retail stores.

Summer is meant for fun in the sun, not shoplifting

In conclusion, as temperatures rise and summer activities flourish, the retail industry faces heightened challenges with increased incidents of shoplifting. Factors such as heightened foot traffic, reduced staffing during vacations, or the idle time of younger demographics all contribute to a seasonal uptick in retail theft. Implementing comprehensive security measures such as training staff to identify suspicious behavior, deploying reliable anti-theft solutions like InVue’s Cable Lock and Cable Lock Anchor, and leveraging advanced technologies such as Smart Locks for luxury goods can safeguard merchandise and ensure a secure shopping environment. By proactively addressing these challenges, retailers can mitigate losses and focus on enhancing customer experiences during this vibrant summer season.