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Retailers warned to prepare surveillance systems for crime season

Axis Communications : 19 November, 2009  (Technical Article)
With the peak in retail crime approaching and 80% of shoplifting incidents taking place in the run-up to Christmas, Axis is advising the industry to ensure its surveillance systems are up to the task of preventing and detecting crime
Axis Communications UK is advising retailers to take advantage of the latest surveillance techniques during the peak season for shoplifters.

The six weeks from mid-November to the end of December is peak season for shoplifters. Up to 80 per cent of a whole year's shoplifting takes place in the run up to the festive period and the British Retail Consortium estimates that the total cost of retail crime, including costs for stolen goods, vandalism and measures from CCTV to security guards, is about £2bn a year. And with the knock-on effects of the recession also contributing to a rise in shrinkage, retailers are preparing themselves for bumper shoplifting figures this year.

Busier stores and outlets packed to the rafters with goods make it far easier for shoplifters to steal, so it is up to retailers to make it as difficult as possible for them to actually get their hands on the goods. And, with security guards unable to apprehend thieves so easily when stores are bursting at the seams with customers, retailers are increasingly turning to the latest surveillance techniques to help the fight against shrinkage.

Former Head of Loss Prevention for HMV, Andrew Martin has recently co-founded Pulp, a growing chain of fashion stores and has seen first hand how IP-based surveillance solutions can be used to effectively combat shoplifting:

"Shoplifters are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods of removing goods and at peak shopping times it becomes very difficult to catch a thief. Employee theft is also on the increase so retailers not only need effective surveillance on the shop floor, but also at till points and in stock rooms.

"IP-video based surveillance can be integrated with existing security solutions to add an extra layer of security. For example, EPOS Interworking can help combat 'Sweet hearting' as it allows retailers to measure the average time of a transaction and then any exceptions can trigger recordings or alert a managers in real-time that an incident is taking place," explains Martin.

Phil Doyle, MD, UK & Ireland, Axis Communications, who has spent much of the past 10 years working with UK retailers in combating shrinkage and delivering improved Management Information within the store environment, said: "The busier the store environment, the more likely it is that a shoplifter will try and steal as they know that people have less time to be vigilant. That's really where technology can help in terms of exceptions and behavioural trends.

"The more connected an in-store security team can be with IP-based video, retail tagging, EPOS Interlocking and even access control, the more likely it is that crime can be reduced. During the run-up to Christmas, retailers need to be smart and take advantage of the latest surveillance techniques so that they can make the most of the increased in numbers in their stores by selling to them, rather than worrying about unscrupulous employee behaviour or a rise in shrinkage.

"IP-based surveillance systems are increasingly being deployed as a flexible, lower-cost and intelligent alternative to legacy standalone products and the benefits of these solutions is typically seen during peak trading."
Hitchin based, Axis Communications offers a wide range of Network Video solutions and counts well-known brands such as Hugo Boss, IKEA, Lidl and Hughes and Hughes among its client base in the retail sector.
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