How to prevent shoplifting

BFA Handel has developed a leaflet with guidelines: Shoplifting – sector guidelines for employers, management and the health and safety organisation. Among other things, this leaflet describes how you can prevent theft at your shop.

The most important advice is:

  • Be alert for suspicious behaviour. Typical signs could be that the customer seems nervous, returns to a specific area, carries a big bag, or looks around a lot.
  • Watch out for confidence tricksters. Confidence tricksters use many tricks to grab the items they are interested in while the victim is distracted. They are creative and are always developing new methods. The guidelines describe some of the most typical methods.
  • Rules on displaying products. Shops displaying products should have clear guidelines for how many products are on display at the same time, so as to keep track of products – especially valuable products.
  • Handling cash. Always close the cash register between sales to prevent the thief from stealing from the cash register.
  • Placement of products. Popular and attractive products should be placed in the busier areas of the shop, so that staff can keep an eye on them. For example, valuable products should be placed near the cash register and away from entry and exit doors, possibly in locked display cases or locked cabinets.
  • Layout of the shop. The better view the staff has of the shop and customers, the more difficult it is to shoplift. Furniture and products should therefore allow for an unobstructed view from the cash register area, sales area or service area.
  • Electronic anti-theft tagging. Electronic anti-theft tagging warns the staff by ringing or beeping when an item is about to be removed from the shop without the tag having been deactivated by the staff.
  • Video surveillance. Fear of getting caught can itself also encourage a potential shoplifter to give up and go. For example, cameras can be fitted at entry and exit doors and in areas where a suspected thief is likely to be. A thief quickly spots areas that are not under surveillance.
  • Security guards and shop detectives. In some cases, it may be necessary to supplement with special security guards at entry and exit doors. Agreements can be made with special shop detectives who walk around the shop without being noticed and keep an eye on customers.
  • Signs. Signs saying that the shop has various forms of security, for example anti-theft tagging, video surveillance and CCTV, also have a preventative effect. But only use such signs if you actually have these forms of security measures!

Download guidelines

Last revised at 04. July 2023