Combating violence in retail with body-worn cameras

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Today, the total retail market of the United States is worth over 6.5 trillion dollars and retailers are continuing to adapt to ever-changing consumer habits in the post-pandemic era. However, alarm is rising in the sector regarding the torrent of abuse and violence experienced by sales and customer service associates.

Eight in ten retailers, asked by the National Retail Security Survey, reported that the violence and aggression associated with organized retail crime (OCR) incidents have increased in the past year. As a result, 52.4% are increasing their budgets specifically for capital and equipment to combat these issues.

Retailers are becoming increasingly frustrated with how to confront customers about adhering to rules in store. With regular verbal and physical assaults, safety concerns for staff have never been higher. To address these issues, retailers have implemented a variety of safety measures, including de-escalation training programs for staff, CCTV cameras, and additional security presence. However, these measures have not been able to slow the pace of abuse. One solution that has proven effective in reducing abuse and violence in retail stores is the use of body-worn cameras.

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How do body cameras work?

One of the UK’s leading health and beauty retailers used Reveal’s body-worn retail cameras for a trial period at one of its high-risk stores. They registered a 68% reduction in the abuse of staff by customers and have now rolled out the cameras to the rest of their stores.

Reveal's body-worn cameras are discreet, lightweight, and easy to operate when worn on an employee’s uniform. Once activated, by manually sliding a switch, it's a simple process to inform an abusive customer that their conversation and actions are being recorded. The power is in the hands of the wearer to have an independent account of a situation. This is particularly useful if evidence gathering, and legal enforcement become necessary. Importantly, body-worn cameras have been proven to improve the confidence and safety of the wearer.

Knowing that what they do and say is being recorded has a direct effect on the way that customers behave. It has been shown that these body-worn cameras deter violence and aggression. Reveal is committed to transforming the way body-worn camera evidence is captured and managed to protect those on both sides of the lens.

Reveal has designed each body-worn camera to connect to a user-friendly interface that is hosted on world-class infrastructure with multiple deployment options including Standalone, Enterprise or Cloud preferences. The software is fully configurable and integrates seamlessly with existing systems such as VMS and case management, making it easy to streamline your evidence management with your existing workflow.

Ending violence and abuse in retail

As retail continues to search for a solution to escalating violence and abuse, it’s important to focus on achieving a winning combination for everyone involved. It’s not about punishing the customer but about calming the situation so that an agreeable resolution can be found for all parties. Preventing a situation from getting out of hand is undoubtedly preferable to trying to contain one that has already erupted.

Improving relations between retail stores and customers is crucial for maintaining brand integrity and caring for employees and the local community. By implementing body-worn cameras and other measures to prevent violence and abuse, retailers can create a safer, more respectful environment for both employees and customers.

Your store associates deserve to feel safe and protected at work, just as your customers should feel valued and heard. The customer may be right, at times, but abuse is never acceptable.