Technology is vital in the fight against retail crime, according to the Security Journal UK (SJUK)
The retail sector faces unprecedented threats from crime, violence and harassment toward staff, and challenges to deal with retail crime in a timely and cost-effective manner are mounting, says Philip Ingram MBE. The British Retail Consortium’s Annual Crime Survey for 2022 reflects the scale of the problem – instances of violence and abuse toward retail workers have tripled, from 450 incidents to 1,300 incidents every day.
In total, retail crime’s cost to the industry is a staggering £1.5 billion a year – both in losses, fraud and shrinkage, but also turning people away from the High Street, as well as huge amounts of money being spent on preventative methods, with little-to-no return. Technology is seen as key in both the fight against retail crime, and keeping people shopping on the struggling High Street.
How can technology help? – Digital Reporting
Security Consultancy Founder, Dan Gillis, states “Retailers are fighting back against the tide of shoplifting, shrinkage and fraud with a plethora of technologies. Enhanced communications technology with push notifications and smart alerts to mobile devices can deliver vital information more swiftly to on-the-ground security teams, which can help tip the scales in the retailers’ favour.”
Shopping centres and departments stores can be particularly vulnerable to crime, abuse and violence. They are large, often open, and difficult to patrol and monitor whilst using traditional systems of communications and reporting. However, moving away from paper-based reporting of incidents and daily occurrence books helps create more capacity for security patrols. Increased patrols and presence of security personnel on the frontline not only helps to reduce crime and incidents, but also helps to reduce the fear of crime, which is said to be vital to regaining trust in the High Street. People simply don’t feel safe or comfortable they can shop without getting heckled or abused.
Increasing turnout is vital to boosting economic performance, and integrating technology is known to increase satisfaction of better protected staff, resulting in a greater level of service delivery. These are the returns on investment for integrating digital security & reporting systems like The Halo System.
Due to increased hybridising of in-store and online offerings and a growing reliance on click-and-collect or home delivery services for outlets, the retail security landscape has become far more complex. Threats are more diverse, with considerations now encompassing pick and pack areas, on-site storage and warehousing, delivery vans, customers’ homes, as well as the cyber space that connects them all.
The Halo Bulletin Board is a feature used by teams within retail spaces to communicate and share vital updates, including ‘rogues galleries’ of risky or troublesome persons of interest, as well as key information to be aware of. This offers a constant, easily accessible space for critical crime reduction information to be stored, shared and accessed instantly, highlighted as crucial by the SJUK.
Surveillance and Artificial Intelligence
Recently, in October 2022, it was revealed that publicly-owned CCTV cameras had topped 100,000 for the first time, with a sharp increase that included some council areas more than quadrupling them in numbers. The SJUK have claimed that artificial intelligence and facial recognition will become crucial, commonplace technologies in crime reduction and video surveillance in the near future, with the technology advancing at astonishing rates.
Public-owned cameras reaching over 100,000 throws up many questions, not least – Are they being used effectively? Where is the video data streamed to? Who monitors it? How quickly and effectively can the right footage/camera be located and steamed in the face of a live, moving incident? Is the interface user-friendly or difficult, as is traditionally found? What intelligence features or AI capabilities are integrated to the camera footage, to introduce machine learning and make the data more meaningful? What is the impact these cameras are having on safety and security?
Halo Stream helps to clearly answer some of these key questions. Putting in cameras isn’t enough – they need to be harnessed. By streaming CCTV footage directly integrated with incident management, Halo Stream allows controllers and surveillance / security leads to collaborate seamlessly with frontline staff and security teams, giving them instant answers paired to individual incidents. Our latest ‘Crowd Management’ module introduces smart overlays and artificially-intelligent outputs, including headcounters, crowd sentiment, density and flow measurements, as well as the kinds of facial recognition abilities that the SJUK state will be industry-defining and game changing in the years to come.
Book a demo to find out how Halo can help prevent crime and secure your premises, facilities and assets today.