Rising Retail Theft: Addressing Employee Safety with a Multifaceted Approach

The retail industry is currently grappling with an alarming issue – the rising incidence of retail theft. More than just impacting the bottom line, this trend poses a significant safety risk to retail employees. This problem demands an urgent, multifaceted response from retailers. This post aims to shed light on the complexities of this issue and emphasize the importance of prioritizing employee safety within the retail industry.

The Growing Threat of Retail Theft

Retail theft has been escalating, with the National Retail Federation estimating that it cost retailers over $61.7 billion in 2019 alone (1). These thefts are increasingly becoming more aggressive, thereby putting retail employees in harm's way. These incidents pose not only physical danger but also lead to psychological trauma, affecting the overall wellbeing of retail workers.

The Ripple Effect on Employee Morale and Retention

An unsafe working environment can create a negative ripple effect, resulting in high employee turnover and diminished morale. It adversely affects the quality of service, as employees who are fearful may not engage positively with customers. Potential talent may also be deterred from joining an industry perceived as unsafe (2). Therefore, safety becomes not just a moral obligation but a crucial business strategy.

Adopting a Multifaceted Safety Strategy

Implementing a multifaceted approach to safety in retail involves the creation of safe work protocols, conducting regular risk assessments, and implementing effective incident management. Encouraging employees to report safety concerns, even anonymously, is a key factor in establishing a safety-first culture. Tools like Report It's incident management software facilitate anonymous reporting, fostering a sense of safety and trust among employees.

Incorporating cutting-edge security systems like Verkada provides real-time insights, allows for quick responses to incidents, and acts as a deterrent to potential threats. With high-resolution video and proactive security features, Verkada systems play a critical role in ensuring retail employee safety.

Another essential component of a comprehensive safety strategy is providing employees with wearable panic devices, such as those offered by HaloSOS. These wearable devices can be crucial in emergency situations, enabling staff to signal for immediate help, thus adding an additional layer of safety and reassurance for employees.

What to do next?

In light of the growing menace of retail theft, it's an absolute necessity for the retail industry to prioritize employee safety. It's crucial for safety to be viewed not merely as an additional feature but as an integral part of business strategy. At WorldSafe, we are committed to this cause and work relentlessly towards a future where every retail employee feels safe and secure at their workplace. Contact WorldSafe for a free threat assessment to see how you can help your retail company increase employee safety.


  1. National Retail Federation (2020). 2020 National Retail Security Survey.
  2. Eurofound (2013). Workplace violence and harassment: a European picture.

Summer Lambert


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