Magazine Article | December 17, 2008

Prevent Break-Ins With CCTV

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

A closed circuit television (CCTV) system provides this retailer with 24/7 surveillance visibility.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2009

There are a bevy of reasons to install surveillance equipment in retail stores. The right video surveillance installation can go a long way in preventing theft and protecting a store's assets, while also providing safety for its customers and employees. Continuous surveillance coverage monitors and protects stores from break-ins and theft. Robert Goodwin, director of warehouse operations and IT at Active Ride Shop, has recent firsthand experience with surveillance installations. In the summer of 2008, Goodwin was forced to explore surveillance options after three after-hours break-ins occurred in two different locations within a six-week period.

Are Burglar Alarms Enough?
The footwear, apparel, skate goods, and accessories retailer operates 29 retail stores in Southern California as well as a mail order distribution center. "The break-ins were a wake-up call," says Goodwin. "The well-being of our employees and customers has always been a major priority. We needed to act fast to implement a surveillance solution that would prevent future break-ins." Each break-in triggered the store's existing burglar alarm system, which includes motion detectors and door sensors. The alarm sounds as intruders enter the store and alerts the local police department of the store location experiencing the break-in. However, by the time the police arrived at the store to investigate each break-in, the intruders had already had time to steal big ticket items (e.g. snowboards and footwear) and vacate the premises. The break-ins occurred through a window or door located at the back of the store. There was absolutely no visibility in that area unless someone was on-site or physically outside of the store.

Goodwin wanted a cost-effective surveillance solution that would secure the inside and outside of the store during nonoperating hours and put employees' minds at ease. He chose Protection One's CCTV surveillance solution, which includes 3 cameras and 1 DVR per store and 11 cameras and 1 DVR at the corporate level. The corporate office needs 11 cameras as the office is larger than the individual stores. The store-level cameras are located at the front door, the back door, and over the checkout area. The retailer can control each camera's pan-tilt-zoom functions, enter recording commands, and view live footage from any computer. "Protection One is the provider of our current burglar alarm system," says Goodwin. "That system operates as it should, and we were confident their CCTV system would operate properly as well."

Remote Access Ensures 24/7 Surveillance
The vendor began implementing store-level CCTV systems in August 2008. Technicians installed the hardware in five stores per month, starting with the stores that had experienced the break-ins. The DVR and monitor are located in the back office of each store. Though an employee isn't tasked to view footage on a regular basis, it is there for playback if Active Ride Shop executives or the police need to view it. Using an IP (Internet protocol) surveillance system, the cameras operate on a network and stream footage that can be viewed remotely from any PC with an Internet connection and authorized network access. "I can view the footage from my personal laptop just by dialing into the network," says Goodwin. "There's a direct line to the video equipment that allows you to select which location you'd like to view. Ownership, key managers, vice presidents, as well as regional and district managers have access to store-level footage."  Every store's footage can be viewed from headquarters. In addition, any store, including headquarters, can view footage in a variety of ways. Footage from all three store-level cameras can be viewed at once, or from one camera at a time. Protection One installed a central alarm system, the DVR, and cameras at headquarters.

As of press time, Active Ride Shop has not encountered any more break-ins. 

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