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10 Holiday Security Tips For Retailers

While analysts are cautiously optimistic about this year's holiday retail outlook, retailers need to take steps to prevent shoplifters or a dishonest employee from dampening a good selling season. Below is a list to help retailers protect their businesses this holiday season:

1. Make sure your video surveillance system is working properly.
It may have been a while since you looked closely at your video surveillance system and confirmed that it was capturing images properly. Check to see that the cameras are still positioned to give you optimal coverage. Make sure the system’s digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR) is plugged in! Also make sure you have a UPS in place and that it has been tested.

2. Verify that your holiday decorations and displays do not obstruct your security systems.
Watch out for decorations and displays that may obstruct video cameras or set off motion sensors. Mylar balloons are notorious for causing false alarms.

3. Test your holdup buttons.
Many businesses have holdup buttons (also referred to as panic buttons) to silently alert their security company in the event of a robbery. It's important to test your buttons to make sure they are working properly. Let your security company know that you are planning on doing a test.

4. Inform your security company of your revised holiday hours.
Some security companies offer supervised opening and closing service, in which they monitor that your security system is disarmed on a schedule that you set. If you use this valuable service, you need to notify your security company when your hours change.

5. Check that your emergency notification list is up to date.
If an alarm is triggered or some other critical event occurs, your security company needs to contact the people on your emergency notification list. Call your security company to review the list to make sure it contains the proper names and phone numbers.

6. Be smart about seasonal employees.
If you hire new staff just for the holidays, make sure that their access cards only let them into the areas where they need to gain entry and only during the hours that you wish them to have access.

7. Watch your video surveillance system’s live feed.
Pickpockets love crowds. Use your video surveillance system to keep a close eye on the store. Some businesses tend to only look at their surveillance video after the fact, but to stop pickpockets you need to take an active role and assign a responsible employee to view live video.
(Another option is to utilize's Virtual Guard service. For less than the cost of a security guard or dedicated employee, we can keep an eye on the video for you.)

8. Restrict access to stockrooms.
Do your salespeople need to go into the stockrooms? To reduce theft by employees, let stock clerks bring inventory to the retail floor. Tie the stockroom entrance into your access control system to monitor and restrict access.

9. Protect sensitive inventory with environmental monitoring.
If you have inventory that’s sensitive to heat and cold, install temperature sensors to alert you when the temperature gets above or below an acceptable level. Additionally, cold weather can result in burst pipes so add water sensors to ensure that you can get immediate notification of any flooding problems. ( can also integrate these sensors into your CCTV system which allows for immediate visual notification as well.)

10. Leverage your security audit trail.
Most security systems log who is entering your premises and accessing secured areas, and at what times they are doing it. This creates an audit trail that can provide you with valuable security and business intelligence. Review the information regularly. Your security company should be able to email data to you daily or weekly, depending on your preference.


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