Shop surveillance and crime prevention
Nowadays shoplifting as an incredibly common occurrence with a simple ratio of “the bigger the shop – the higher the crime rate”. There is hardly any need to provide examples: Walmart is notorious for its lax security, 7 Eleven, Tesco – all of these experience shoplifting on a daily basis. And while it is only a petty crime, many experts agree that violent crimes grow from petty ones.
Needless to say, every supermarket chain struggles to protect its merchandise and its customers (usually focusing on the former, though) by employing various kinds of security systems with, predictably, varying results. Usually, the most dangerous factor is under-staffing, which, in turn, boils down to the lack of watchful eyes. Obviously, security guards can’t be everywhere and so can’t the staff workers, thus, nobody is there to grab the offender by the hand.
|And this is where video surveillance comes into play. Sure, security guards can’t be everywhere – but cameras can. With their significant field of view (sometimes up to 360°, or “fisheye”, cameras) these incessant watchers bring both live feed and archived footage to their masters, provided they are willing to check it. This yields decent results, as a police officer who arrives at the security booth tends to stay there for a while, since there are more and more people to process.|
Now, you must be thinking: “Well, this is nothing new. The title said “crime prevention” and cameras are useless for that, aren’t they?” While this assumption seems true on the surface, there are more functions cameras fulfill than you might think. First of all, security can (and should) be both visible and invisible. The invisible security is fairly obvious: hidden cameras, plain-clothes loss prevention agents, etc. Its job holds nothing special as well – catch the offender red-handed or at least post factum.
|Visible security, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. Have you ever been to a supermarket and felt being constantly watched by cameras or, perhaps, uniformed people? You hardly felt comfortable shopping like that. And now imagine what a shoplifter would feel in your place. This is the job of visible security. Cameras in plain sight, police uniforms, employees constantly walking near the aisles, a security booth near the entrance – all these measures are a constant reminder of the watchful eyes of the law and serve to prevent crime altogether. According to Chris E. McGoey (Crime Analyst, Crime Prevention Expert, Security Expert Witness), most shoplifters are amateurs and visible security serves as a reasonable deterring factor for them.|
As you can see, crime prevention is also an important function for a security camera and should be kept in mind if you are willing to protect your business.