Stop iPhone theft with these 6 tips to improve retail security during the Pandemic

Don’t think iPhone thefts are taking place during the current COVID-19 pandemic? In truth, it’s never a bad idea to invest in iPhone security because thefts always occur. There is no off-season for burglars, in fact, a few stores have already been targeted.

In March when 20% of the global population was under the COVID-19 lockdown, a 4am break-in took place in iAstra, an authorized Apple retailer. They lost 54 iPhones in just one night to a group of 5 masked men. Another theft occurred in the same month when a thief backed up a stolen SUV into a Verizon Wireless store taking smartphones that had been on display with them. Weeks later a Cricket Wireless Store was also broken into. The owner of the Cricket store was left in shock when he found his windows shattered and his inventory stolen.

As most of us are already aware, recent riots have impacted other wireless carriers as well. Apple Century City, another Apple retailer, was left with empty display tables after it became a victim of looting. The same can be said for a Sprint store that was looted and had most of its smartphones stolen.

Lockdowns and Curfews Won’t Prevent iPhone Theft
Unfortunately, threats to retail security for high ticket products like iPhones and iPads are not limited to California. iPhone thefts are a growing problem across the United States and Europe. Retailers are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in devices. These thefts also impact customer service when stores are missing demos or have devices locked away. Gone are the days where robberies were undertaken by opportunistic solo thieves or an unsophisticated teenager’s bad decision. Today, thefts consist of sophisticated rings of four to six individuals operating together to swarm stores to execute aggressive theft in plain sight of the highest value assets.

As retailers work to draw customers into brick and mortar stores by creating live demonstration experiences, Merchandisers and Asset Protection leaders must address retail security issues head on to prevent theft of flagship devices like the iPhone Xs and Samsung Galaxy S10 and Note 10s. Do you have anti-theft devices for your retail store? If your shop hasn’t been hit yet, it’s only a matter of time. If it has been hit, successful thieves will target you again. So how do you protect your devices and keep your employees safe?

Here are six ways to you can reduce iPhone theft
1. Analyze the locations of your highest risk devices
The aesthetics of your store matter, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of your retail security. It’s essential that you balance the elegance and shopping ease of your space with maximum loss prevention strategies. Assess the design of your shop and keep retail security top of mind. Review the location of your flagship consumer electronics devices within your store. Is it easy to navigate from the front door to these high-theft-risk products and then quickly exit? Move the display closer to your cash wrap or employee areas. Are the displays visible completely from the cash wrap? Ensure sight lines to your highest value devices are not blocked.

2. Train and place your staff to drive customer engagement and deter theft at the same time
Properly place and train your sales associates for loss prevention. It is a necessity for optimal retail security. Are your employees strategically placed in the store’s ideal sections to prevent the theft of your highest-ticket items? Are they engaging with each and every person that enters the store, particularly anyone approaching high value Apple and Samsung devices?

Be aware when two employees engage with one customer, or if one leaves the retail floor. Thieves are skilled at using distraction techniques. Train your staff to maintain awareness of their surroundings no matter the time of day or how crowded the store maybe.

3. Utilize low cost tactics to limit iPhone theft
Most locations have CCTV in operation, and many thieves know this or do not care. However, thieves do prefer anonymity – so simple signage “this table is being monitored by CCTV” or “these demo devices have tracking software installed” are simple ways to deter theft.

4. Increase the robustness of your anti-theft devices
As this CBS published security video shows, devices secured by mere power cord and small sensor allow the thieves to steal at a rapid rate, and make you a priority target. Thieves will target your flagship devices, and while protecting all merchandise is important, so is recognizing that the organized crime rings are coming for your $1,000 devices. Guarding against aggressive theft starts with protecting your Apple and Samsung devices.

Choose retail security products like the MTI XD Guardian Universal™, that are built to withstand aggressive theft with tools, kicking, and violent removal attempts. Products that take a least 60 seconds to remove via any means will force crime rings to move on to easier targets.

5. Leverage Internet of Things (IoT) Technology
Most carriers have decreased the # of staff in stores as they begin to reopen. With a limited number of employees, what happens when everyone is helping customers and devices are left un-monitored? Remember thieves wait for opportunities like these to pounce.

Thanks to IoT technology like MTI Connect®, an employee can see what’s happening on the entire sales floor using the MTI Connect® app. With the MTI Connect® app, employees can quickly understand the battery status, position, and security (unarmed or armed) of each device displayed on the sales floor. Employees get instant alerts when theft attempts take place.

Don’t think your employees are comfortable cleaning and sharing security keys? Devices on display can be easily armed and disarmed through the MTI Connect® app when secured with solutions like Freedom Micro® II HS, CX Flex™, Secure Plug®, and MTI Locks™.

6. Lock-up Devices Overnight
The trend shows more new attacks are taking place late at night. New best practice is to lock up your devices in a safe place, difficult for thieves to get to during closures. High-security folding gates protecting the front shop windows and doors is another way to prevent break ins.

Conclusion
Yes, iPhone theft attempts will continue to grow in frequency. Every day is an opportunity for thieves to steal. Don’t risk your iPhones and bottom line by not investing in appropriate merchandising security solutions.

For more on retail security products and anti-theft devices for retail stores to stop iPhone theft, check out our high security solutions, Secure Plug®, and MTI Locks™ options available at mtigs.com.

Merchandising Security matters – not just for your bottom line, but for the safety of your customers. Protecting your store is just as important to your business as making sales.

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