A good security system can help deter and stop shoplifters, but what is a retailer to do when thieves learn how to work around current surveillance equipment?

The technology in the surveillance and security equipment industry is constantly evolving. This is good news for retailers who are looking to prevent inventory loss – top-of-the-line, upgraded security equipment can help keep stores safe from thefts that can add up to big costs for business owners. 

Store thefts hit retailers hard
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the retail industry lost about $44 billion last year to inventory shrinkage – an avoidable loss of inventory due to store thefts and administrative errors. By far the biggest cause of shrinkage is store thefts. The Wal-Mart corporation alone lost an estimated $200 million to larceny in 2014.

In total, these thefts account for a 1.4 percent loss of yearly sales for retailers and a 70 percent loss in inventory. Shoplifting costs the industry more than $16.7 billion and employee thefts clocked in with more than $15 billion.

For many stores, this can have a big impact on business.

"A common misperception about shoplifting is that retailers can 'afford' the loss of a candy bar or a pair of jeans. But the truth is that the industry loses billions of dollars," said Matthew Shay, CEO of the NRF.

According to Fortune Magazine, the grocery sector is hardest hit by the thefts, with an inventory loss of 3.23 percent in 2014.

Outdated security systems may not prevent store losses as well as new equipment adapted to face modern day challenges. Updated security systems may be able to prevent losses better than older, less intuitive equipment.

Keeping security systems updated
One of the best ways for a store to prevent theft-related losses is to routinely invest in its surveillance systems. Retail experts claim that as good as technology may be, it is also evolving to counteract the evolution of shoplifters. 

"Though we are encouraged by the partnerships forged with law enforcement over the years and advances in technology that will help deter a crime before it happens, criminals continue to thwart much of the progress retailers have made thus far," said Shay in the NRF release.

That's why businesses owners need to periodically test and re-evaluate their surveillance equipment. What was top-of-the-line 10 years ago may not protect a store from modern causes of loss. While some store owners may think they shouldn't spend the money on an updated security system when they already have one, they stand to save more than they spend by preventing high inventory loss. Store owners who don't have any existing security equipment at all are especially in need of reconsidering and investing in modern surveillance technology.

Security equipment and surveillance industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.