Retail Security Guards and Patrols

Retail Security Guards and Patrols

Retail Security for Malls and Stores

Learn some of the reasons why you should always have retail store security guards in place to help prevent theft, and deter criminals from physically harming or abducting your customers and employees.

Leaders Protect Others

As a retail shopping mall or store manager, your first responsibility is to protect the safety of your employees and customers. You probably have manned, close-circuit cameras and alarms within your facility. However, if you do not have armed guards on duty throughout the inside and outside of your establishment at all times, your other loss prevention and bodily harm protection methods could render virtually useless.

What Does a Retail Security Guard Do?

Many people wonder about the full range of duties and responsibilities of a security guard for a retail environment. A good answer to these types of questions is found in a recent article on the website, which states, "A retail security guard is an employee whose main objective is to protect the safety and well being of both customers and employees in a retail establishment and to prevent prevent financial damage caused by shoplifting, robbery, or similar dangers. Some of the duties of a retail security guard might include removing potentially harmful persons from the retail store or area, using video surveillance equipment, and being able to clearly communicate with other security personnel."1.

Escalating Dangers Increase Demand

Beginning in 2020, the demand for retail security gurad services skyrocketed due to nationwide civil unrest and violent protests from domestic terrorists and extremist groups such as Antifa.

The Evolving Roles for Retail Security

Whereas in days gone by a mall cop passed away the hours confronting unruly teens, shoplifters, and nuisance loitering issues, the modern retail security officer has a far more complex work environment. The most notable changes are technology related; self-checkout stations must be watched closely for loss prevention, merchandise tags used for theft alarms often generate false positives, and earpiece communications from surveillance teams command attention that would otherwise be spent watching the sales floor, exits, and parking lot.

IFSEC Global published an article that goes into detailed descriptions of how complex retail security assignments have become for many security companies. Among the insight offered in the article is this takeaway, "The key point here, is the ‘distraction’ factor for the retail security guard. False positives in alarms are a nuisance and can result in difficult conversations with customers, but the consequences can be more far-reaching if criminals are able to benefit from them. The introduction of self-checkouts over the past decade or so has also caused challenges for retail guards. Items are easier to conceal at self-checkouts or can be “falsely scanned”, while there are often several checkouts to keep an eye on at any one time. This has inevitably created issues for officers, making it more difficult to identify instances of theft."2.

Parking Lot Security

It is no secret that criminals often linger in dark parking lots, waiting for customers to leave stores or malls with arms full of shopping bags. Some areas criminals use to hide in are alcoves along the outside of buildings, and behind bushes, trees and automobiles. Outdoor cameras might catch the criminals robbing, abducting or physically harming mall and store employees and customers. However, if you do not have parking lot security on stand-by to catch and detain the criminals, you will be liable for failure to properly secure your property. In this event, you could face civil judgments ranging in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars range.

Loss Prevention Security

Security guards are invaluable. Where uniformed guards offer blatant security that deters criminal activity, plain-clothes guards offer a whole different level of protection. Plainclothes guards can elevate retail store security by catching both customers and employees in the act of stealing. Many security guards also receive advanced training in customer behavior that precedes stealing. Therefore, they can often position themselves in the store to make the customer uneasy enough to leave the store empty-handed.

Protecting Customers and Employees

Whereas some criminals want to steal purses, wallets and paid-for items out of the hands of customers, other criminals have a totally different intent. These criminals want to steal children and sell them on the black market. Trained mall security patrols employees are always on the lookout for people perusing families or women with babies and small children. They can often tell these intentions by the body language of certain men and women. They can then closely watch these people, and call for back-up when they feel that a potential kidnapping might occur.

Employee Safety

Your opening mall or retail store employees come in to work long before any customers are there. Closing store or mall employees often leave in the dark of night, well after all of your customers have left for home. You can drastically elevate your employee safety by hiring mall security patrol officers that also come to stores to meet the employees when they get off, and walk them to their cars.

Things You Can Do To Improve Retail Security

If you own or manage a retail store there are measures you can take to improve retail security results. A good retail security company can consult with you, perform a security vulnerability assessment, and make astute recommendations to mitigate store security, theft, and safety issues.

To get some great ideas now, consider these security tips published online by Security Resources, "There are several things a store can do to lessen theft attempts. It is important to maintain a well-lit store, and advertise the store’s policy against theft. When displaying items, ensure that they are stored in locked cabinets and kept away from the entry points of a store. Keeping track of inventory on a daily basis and ensuring that all information is up to date will allow a retailer to know if and how many of an item are missing. Implementing a strategy should a theft occur and ensuring that employees are aware of the procedures is also important when it comes to retail security."3.

Manning and Associates Security is a leading Atlanta security company for retail merchants form small boutique shops to big box stores. Contact us to discuss your needs and how we can help you with retail security services.


  • 1 D. Gray, "What Does a Retail Security Guard Do?", MArch 3, 2020, Available from Practical Adult Insights
  • 2 James Moore, "How the role of a retail security guard has changed", September 9, 2020, Available from IFSEC Global
  • 3 Staff, "Security Guards and Services for Retail Stores", February 11, 2021, Available from Security Resources
  • PHOTO CREDIT, photo by "BodyWorn", available at Pixabay