Retail businesses lose nearly $50 billion annually to shoplifting and other theft. To combat such loss, companies often place security signage throughout their shop to steer thieves away from stealing goods.

While security signage can offer peace of mind to store owners, and perhaps spook criminals from following through with their intentions, it’s important to understand a sign’s effectiveness. To address whether or not signage is effective, Loss Prevention Magazine conducted interviews with shoppers to see if people noticed security signs and if the signs altered behavior.

In this post, we dive into the findings from Loss Prevention Magazine’s study and discuss what you can do for your business to maximize security.

Customer Perceptions of Signage

Based on survey results, respondents indeed took notice of signage throughout the store. Nearly 85 percent of shoppers noticed the security signs hung throughout the store’s isles. When asked what other security measures they noticed, customers had a variety of answers.

More than half of customers (61.5 percent) noticed special packaging solutions or banding to prevent the product from being opened in the store. Examples of these security features include sensors often found on electronics and anti-theft tags found on clothing. Additionally, the majority of customers noticed that higher value items were locked behind protective cases or displays. Jewelry, firearms and age-restricted goods are commonly secured in such displays. Half of the surveyed customers noticed that actual cameras were placed throughout the store.

Of those interviewed, the majority of customers said the signs did not affect their shopping experience, although they found themselves feeling safer. While this is reassuring for honest shoppers, survey results from convicted thieves state that many would not be deterred by such measures. In fact, 44 percent of shoplifters said signage did not bother them, the main deterrent would be if an employee was physically watching them. Security signs on their own are not enough to prevent crime.

Alternative Security Solutions

While signs may help shoppers feel safer, they’re not the most effective toward criminals. Using the proper combination of signage and security technology is the best way to ensure your business’ safety. In the unfortunate circumstance your company experiences vandalism or theft, investing in these security tools throughout your store will capture footage and suspicious movement to help identify the intruder:

  • Video surveillance. Video surveillance allows you to keep an eye on your property at all times. Whether you’re in the store attending to customers or offsite, video surveillance will keep you aware of what’s happening in your store. With the help of recorded footage, you can also identify who stole from your business and give authorities a starting point for their investigation.
  • Door sensors. Installing door sensors on all entry points to your business will let you know when customers come in and out. This allows you to keep tabs on your store’s foot traffic and keep you in the loop of any unexpected movement.
  • Monitored alarms. Monitored alarms will notify you when break-ins occur. At Vector Security, we offer 24/7 alarm monitoring systems to alert you if any alarms are triggered.
  • Mobile apps. When downloading the mobile app, security systems will send notifications straight to your device to keep you updated at all times.

Using the Best of Both Worlds

Ultimately, optimal safety can be achieved through research and combining best practices from all methods. In Loss Prevention Magazine’s study, the overall consensus among convicted shoplifters was that security signs had little impact. While the majority of shoppers noticed the words of warning and said they personally felt safer, there isn’t enough proof to say that security signs are a foolproof way of securing your business.

However, you can combine security signage with other forms of security and protection for a well-rounded security plan. There are instances where it’s likely a simple warning sign could fend off a first-time criminal who is weary of being caught. Other times, shoplifters assume that if “they can’t see you; you can’t see them.” By having warning signs posted throughout your store and investing in other safety features with a qualified vendor, you can keep shoplifters at bay.

For more information on how to protect your business, contact a security professional today.