It may seem like a simple administrative step, but event reporting plays a fundamental role in creating safer retail communities with next-gen intelligence. Every reported incident is a piece of a larger puzzle. When accurately and consistently recorded, these incidents come together to form a comprehensive picture of retail crime. This complete picture reveals patterns, predicts risks, and informs your loss prevention strategies to prevent future incidents. Essentially, incident reporting is not just about reacting to what has happened; it's a proactive tool to safeguard your business, associates, and customers.
Let’s dive into why reporting is so important, what “quality” looks like, and the requirements for turning incident information into actionable intelligence.
Why consistent, quality reporting matters
Incident reporting is more than a procedural step – it’s a strategic asset and cornerstone of Retail Crime Intelligence. Thorough, consistent reporting is essential to fuel Intel, the heart of Auror’s platform, so that it can do the heavy lifting in deriving actionable intelligence.
Without reports, there can be no investigations — or at the very least, more effective investigations. Reports offer clarity and context, allowing loss prevention teams and law enforcement to understand all the need-to-know details about events.
The depth and relevance of information provided in reports is crucial for investigations. The details you report help connect repeat people and preventative details. Quality reports are key to effective case resolution and meaningful safety outcomes.
Connecting more dots
Every incident reported in Intel becomes part of a connected network of retail crime intelligence that investigators can use. When entered consistently and analyzed methodically, this intelligence can reveal trends and potential risks.
Jon Briegel, Retail Partnerships Manager at Auror, recalls an example from a large retailer in North America that didn’t realize one offender was responsible for over $200,000 in loss. That’s because this person committed retail fraud at different stores across the East Coast in smaller amounts per transaction—which allowed them to avoid detection based on a minimum threshold of goods stolen.
“$200 here, $300 here: If it's the same person, it can add up,” says Briegel. “And if you're not looking at the data the right way, those people can slip under the radar—and they’re just as harmful. Their totalities are increasing, but nobody’s catching onto it until those events are linked together.”
With Auror, investigators searched Intel for a key detail about the subject—a pink hoodie—to bring up all the reported incidents involving them. By linking all the reports to one person, law enforcement could then effectively pursue the suspected parties.
By connecting reported incidents, Intel derives insights that are invaluable for everyone—from frontline associates to corporate retail stakeholders. It’s truly actionable intelligence that you can utilize to make your stores safer.
Safer preventative measures
Better reporting leads to better prevention and mitigation of retail crime events. With high-quality reporting, your preventive strategies are based on accurate and relevant information. Your AP/LP strategies will get smarter over time, as you not only respond to current threats, but anticipate and prevent future incidents.
Accurate reporting also assists in designing targeted training programs for staff, refining your surveillance systems, and improving your customer safety protocols.
How to improve frontline consistency with incident reporting
It can be difficult to make sure frontline associates consistently report incidents. Often, there are too many demands and duties drawing their attention away, or they may feel that reporting is too cumbersome and not worth their time. This can lead to underreporting and information gaps.
“More often than not, people don’t report because it’s not always easy to report,” says Alaina Kring, Director of Retail Partnership sat Auror. “So you’re missing potential events, suspects, and vehicles.”
But what if incident reporting was easy and accessible? Here are some tips and tools on how you can encourage greater consistency in frontline incident reporting:
1. Training: Empower staff with knowledge and techniques
Conduct regular training sessions to educate staff about the importance of incident reporting and the role it plays in the broader context of retail security. These sessions should be useful, actionable, and role-specific, so that each member understands their responsibilities and how to execute them effectively.
When it comes to training, Auror’s customer success and retail partnerships teams work to provide individualized, granular support for each retail partner. Whether that’s training classes, new user onboarding, or adding a message in Auror to remind people to report incidents, our representatives take a specialized, customer-focused approach to empowering end-users.
“When you invest in a solution, you’re looking at maintaining it indefinitely,” says Kring. “We’re aware that you’re looking to build a strong foundation for longevity with this product. That’s why we are extremely customer-focused, with a dedicated team that stays with you, and our product only gets better with time.”
2. Motivation: Foster a culture of reporting
Turn responsibility into ownership, where everyone can report and everyone reaps the collective rewards from consistent reporting. There needs to be an incentive or a reason for frontline associates to take the time to report incidents. Why should employees care about reporting incidents if those reports just end up in some document repository? We must show them that their reports make a difference, and that what they’re documenting matters.
“The biggest thing that Auror does differently is not just connecting retailers to other retailers and law enforcement, but closing the feedback loop within retail organizations themselves,” says Briegel. “On the AP side, when you don’t have visibility into what’s actually going on in your stores, you can’t actually take the appropriate action. On the store reporter side, it boosts engagement because the reports are being picked up by the ORC team and worked on.”
Auror turns incident reporting from a one-way process into a collaborative, resolution-focused one where everyone feels valued. Frontline employees can receive updates and comments on their reports, instead of their reports seemingly disappearing into a siloed AP/LP black box. Meanwhile, AP/LP and ORC teams get the crucial information needed to build their investigations and involve law enforcement.
“Reporting is so critical because it really does change the game,” says Kring. “It lets your folks in-store know that they're being seen, they're being heard, that someone's listening to them and that someone is actually working towards a resolution to the folks that come in and disrupt their store daily.”
Those reports then turn into intelligence, which can help frontline associates make better, safer decisions when incidents happen. For example, if previous reports have identified a repeat offender who is dangerous, frontline workers can see this, and immediately take preventative measures to keep everyone, including themselves, safe.
3. Technology: Streamline the reporting process
Invest in user-friendly, mobile reporting tools that make it easy for frontline staff to report incidents promptly and accurately. The less cumbersome the process, the more likely staff will comply with reporting protocols.
Intel revolutionizes the traditional, time-consuming incident report into a much more manageable process. Anyone can report an incident in minutes — even your busiest frontline employees — with Intel’s guided, simplified reporting tool that captures all the important details without monopolizing your workers’ valuable time.
Best practices: Quality reporting for AP/LP teams
While it’s critical to develop consistent reporting practices, the quality of your reports is equally, if not more, crucial. AP/LP teams are often at the forefront of responding to and documenting retail incidents. The precision and detail in their reports can significantly influence the outcome of investigations and the development of prevention strategies.
High-quality reports offer in-depth insights, leading to more accurate analyses and better-informed decision-making. Capturing comprehensive, accurate, and actionable data allows for a deeper understanding of each event, and how it ties into the bigger picture.
Here are some best practices from Auror’s team on how to report accurately and comprehensively:
Keep witnesses safe
During any incident, employee and customer safety should be priority #1 for AP/LP teams. Train your team members to assess situations quickly and respond in a way that minimizes risk to themselves and others.
Establish protocols that allow team members to report incidents without compromising their safety. This may include using discreet communication tools or finding a secure location before initiating a report.
Report in real-time
The sooner you report, the better. Encourage team members to report incidents as soon as they occur. Real-time reporting ensures that employees are remembering what they saw as accurately as possible, which is critical for timely and effective response. Equip AP/LP teams with mobile reporting tools and equipment that allow them to document incidents on the spot.
Look for specific details
Train your team members to observe and record specific details during an incident, especially details about individuals involved – using your organization’s standards and Auror’s guidance for Responsible AI.
“The more specific or detailed information you have, the better,” says Kring. “It really lets the system do all of the hard work for you by aggregating those people and connecting the dots — and then really providing that actionable intelligence out of the platform.”
Building investigations: Old vs. New
Traditional investigation methods involved labor-intensive admin work – selecting endless drop-down menus, sifting through walls of spreadsheets, exporting CSV files for analysis, and relying on static repositories of data. This process was not only time-consuming, but also limited in scope and efficiency. Critical data could be buried in a sea of information, making it challenging to identify patterns or key culprits.
Enter Retail Crime Intelligence (the new way), which has marked a significant shift in how retailers conduct investigations. Auror's Retail Crime Intelligence approach revolves around aggregating information in real-time and turning that into actionable intelligence. It empowers frontline workers to become integral parts of the crime prevention process.
Auror Intel does the hard work for you, providing your teams with advanced insights so they can make data-informed decisions. AP/LP teams can quickly identify who is causing the bulk of crime and safety issues in stores, and take a precision approach towards ensuring store safety.
Making a revolutionary shift from reactive to proactive reporting effectively closes the loop on investigations, utilizing every piece of information to its fullest potential. We’re making a tangible impact in retail crime prevention, with a focus on collaboration that redefines the standards of safety and security.
On the investigation side, Auror Investigate revolutionizes an old system-of-record process of sharing information with law enforcement. Instead of downloading hours of footage to USB drives and overnighting it to police investigators, or even hand-delivering it to the police station, simply drop relevant incident reports and footage into your Evidence Locker, then share access to it with law enforcement. They can then view your evidence locker right within the platform. It’s that easy.
Protecting retail communities through better reporting and investigations
Incident reporting forms the bedrock upon which effective crime prevention and investigation strategies are built. Consistent and quality reporting not only provides a clear picture of the current security landscape, but also paves the way for proactive measures to enhance safety and efficiency in retail environments everywhere.
Auror's Intel and Investigate modules represent a significant advancement in the way retailers manage and investigate retail crime. With Intel, the heart of our platform, capture every incident in real-time and transform it into actionable intelligence. With Investigate, build out comprehensive, collaborative investigations without data silos, and work towards effective case resolutions.
“You’re not just putting information into a system to die,” says Kring. “You are feeding this Intel hub to generate connections. To help empower your frontline associates to make good decisions. To keep your guests safe. To keep your associates safe. To show not only the retail team that you work with, but also the industry as a whole, that we can combat this together—because we're actually using that Retail Crime Intelligence to do it, and it comes from that structured data in the platform.”
Especially in a post-COVID world, where retail environments are getting more volatile and unpredictable, the importance of retail crime prevention and mitigation has never been more evident. But with Auror’s innovative solutions, the future of retail security looks more promising than ever.