Garage Watch Interactive

The home of IFM Independent Forecourt Magazine

How CCTV can have profound effect on crime prevention and detection

 

 

STEPPING up security can be a huge challenge for retailers and garage owners who have to balancethe need to install precautionary measures withoutincurring major costs.

While the bottom line is of paramount importance, especially with many retailers still recovering from one of the worst recessions in history, being raided by thieves and losing your entire stock can have devastating consequences for businesses, cause untold hardship and stress, and have a huge impact on insurance premiums.

Garages, corner shops and convenience stores are prime targets for thieves and robbers but, despite this, security is often considered an afterthought or taken seriously only after a crime has occurred.

While CCTV cameras might attract their fair share of Big Brother-related complaints, many retailers are using them for the safety and security of their premises, stock, staff and customers.

The UK leads the way inthe application of CCTV and its use is wide-ranging, encompassing facial-recognition technology, remote video monitoring, mobile systems and Automatic Number Plate Recognition as well as many other functions.

At Hadrian Technology, weinstall more than 800 cameras a month all over the UK and Ireland and retail is our biggest market, which reflects the growing need for these types of surveillance systems that can help retailers prevent becoming the victim of crime.

A few small shop owners, garages and retailers may be put off installing CCTV because they see it as an added cost that doesn’t add to the profitability of the business, but in actual fact it is an extremely wise investment and we are seeing a huge increase in clients turning to us to have systems installed. Now, thanks to easier installation and falling prices, it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for security-conscious business owners. In the last 18 months the cost of HD CCTV has fallen by up to 75 per cent making it an affordable option for even the smaller independent retailers.

CCTV is a very visual deterrent to would-be thieves and burglars and it can also be used to gather valuable data that can lead to prosecution and conviction of offenders. The advent of video analytics software – the ability to analyse the footage recorded by in-store security cameras to produce useful data – means that retail surveillance is now more than just a tool for crime or loss prevention.

Pioneering advances in technology, with Internet Protocol (IP) systems,can result in crystal clear images of number plates when thieves posing as customers fill up at the forecourt and then fail to pay. Because of fast growing technology, once grainy images from traditional, analogue CCTVsystems have now been replaced by much betterimage quality that can easily identify and track down criminals through facial recognition. It is so clear, it can even be used by police on social media platforms when they appeal for information.

Because of the quality of the images available now, CCTV can also be used when business owners are handling ‘slips and trips’ claims as they will have evidence to use as a defence against unnecessary insurance claims. Surveillance can be used to identify staff thefts and internal fraud to help in loss prevention.

CCTV is important to staff welfare and safety as, not only can it help reduce the fear of assaults, it can also provide workers with confidence and a feeling of security. Business owners can view their CCTV system live from their laptop, ipad or smartphone, giving staff or family working alone or late at night that peace of mind.

From simple one camera security to large fully integrated IP systems, there are CCTV solutions to suit the need of every business, and products and installations can be personalised to meet the need of businesses, thanks to rapid technology development in this sector.

The return on investment from installing CCTV is easy to measure for retailers because it helps to reduce losses and boosts profitability, while the peace of mind it brings is absolutely priceless.

Image Hadrian Technology co-founder Gary Trotter.

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