8 Tips to a safe and theft-free holiday season

As the hustle and bustle of the holidays approach, it's important to keep your business safe. Use these 8 tips to protect against theft this holiday season (and beyond!).

As the hustle and bustle of the holidays approach, it’s important to keep your business safe. Use these 8 tips to protect against theft this holiday season (and beyond!).

By Tim Dimoff

The holidays will be here soon and retailers in particular must be ready. Following the last few years of online pandemic shopping, I predict more in-person shopping this season. People are ready to get out of their homes and experience the joys of the season with others. But that comes with the increased risk of retail theft. Retailers of all sizes, especially small Mom & Pop stores, must take precautions. 

Handling crowds and thwarting shoplifters at the same time is difficult. Additionally, the hiring of seasonal employees increases the risk of employee theft. Criminals look for the stores that have weaknesses such as minimum-security efforts, dark or hidden areas where they can steal and not be noticed, busy employees who cannot watch them, etc. In order to reduce theft and keep everyone safe, I have some easy and effective suggestions. 

Here are eight tips for protecting your store and your employees this holiday season (and beyond!):

Tip no. 1: Invest in electronic surveillance. Doing so is a very good first step in deterring crime. Be sure to let shoppers know they are under electronic surveillance by posting signs at the door and elsewhere in the store. 

>> RELATED: Year-end security checklist

Tip no. 2: Train employees. It’s important for employees to understand how to spot potential shoplifters and how to react if they see a theft in progress. This can be everything from calling police discreetly to not confronting the perpetrator. Using an outside training firm is the best way to train them. The firm will offer much information that you, as a store owner, probably aren’t even aware of.  

Tip no. 3: Greet shoppers. Having employees greet shoppers as they enter the store is also a good practice. It lets potential shoplifters know that they have been recognized by someone. 

Tip no. 4: Increase store lighting. Stores should have bright lighting and make sure to illuminate any dark corners where a thief could steal unnoticed. 

Tip no. 5: Protect merchandise. Utilize electronic tags on expensive items and lock them up in glass cases. Another option is to keep high-ticket items behind the counter.

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Tip no. 6: Run background checks. Especially if you hire seasonal help, take the time to run background checks. This will help stop employee theft.  

Tip no. 7: Consider professional security. Depending on your situation, you might consider hiring on-site professionally trained security. This can be accomplished through hiring off-duty police or by hiring a security company. This is important during the holiday season when stores tend to be crowded and employees can be busy helping customers.  

Tip no. 8: Maintain a full staff. Even though it can be difficult to find employees in the current hiring market, having a full staff is also an important deterrent to theft. Knowing they are being watched by employees and on-camera can stop a thief.

These simple steps can go a very long way toward keeping yourself, your employees and your business safe. And they will also help to keep any shoplifting or other thefts to a minimum—or in the best-case scenario, nonexistent.

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Speaker, Trainer, Corporate Security Expert Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at


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