Retail Loss Prevention

Posted by Amy Hite on February 1, 2011

Retailers are struggling to reduce costs and shrinkage to survive the pressures of competition. Some of the most significant retailer’s expenses are employee theft, customer theft, vandalism and third party theft. In order to mitigate these losses, many retailers are not effectively using technology and managed services available to them.

Some of the services include implementing advanced video analytics to monitor surveillance cameras that are designed to integrate with cash registers, customer exits, employee exits, parking lots, high priced items, small expensive items and even track traffic counts down aisles.

Stealth Monitoring Inc. (“Stealth”) built a camera on a pole for one retailer that can be moved around throughout the day. It can be built to include megapixel cameras, pan tilt zoom cameras, lighting and can include live video monitoring services. The system has its own mobile internet service for remote monitoring or covert operations. It can be custom built for quick installation and does not need to tie into the corporate technology network.

Criminals are climbing on the roof of retailers to steal copper and HVAC units. Stealth installs infra red cameras on the roof tops to monitor this type of activity. Last week, at one of the shopping centers, someone climbed on the roof at 3.30am and tried to break into a tenant from the roof top. Police were dispatched and the intruder was arrested. I do not know of any other solution that proactively would catch criminals if not for the live monitoring.

Recently, I sat in on a meeting at Stealth with a major retailer. The retailer was talking about the crime in parking lots and asked how live video monitoring could watch the parking lots. Norm Charney, the owner, explained that the trained operators do use pan tilt zoom cameras to look for unusual activities. They look for people walking between vehicles and loitering near entrances and exits. Criminals hide in the back of the facility or attempt to climb on the roof. They try to open locked doors or they might use paint to add graffiti. A trained person can look for potential incidents before they occur and activate an audio speaker or dispatch a guard or police. Stealth’s operators are also trained in crimes related to BMVs (burglary of motor vehicles), copper theft, employees stealing inventory and taking it to their cars, unauthorized access and can track people moving in restricted areas in the store. Their systems can also interface with POS cash registers and audit irregular transactions. Management of the retailer explained that they were losing one million dollars of theft per day. The meeting concluded when the retailer said “Wow and that Stealth had the best security solution they have ever seen.