Diamond in the Rough

Family-owned jewelry store receives high-tech surveillance after robberies

As the elevated 7 train rumbles by above, it’s business as usual for the row of local shops below on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, N.Y. Tucked away within the row of mostly privately owned stores is Alco Watch & Jewelry Repair Center, a humble shop that has been a staple in the community for the past 25 years. It is owned and operated by sexagenarian husband and wife team Angel and Marcia Calderon.

Over the years, the store has experienced a handful of robberies, some of which Mr. Calderon was present for and injured in. The break-ins prompted the couple to install a buzzed entry and bulletproof glass in 1998. Much like a bank, the thick bulletproof glass separates the Calderons and the merchandise from the customers but includes transaction windows. At more than 8 feet tall, the glass partition leaves a small gap from the ceiling.

The Last Straw

In April 2011, a man entered the store, grabbed a folding chair that is reserved for customers in the small vestibule and used it to scale and slide through the skinny opening between the bulletproof glass and ceiling.

“I couldn’t believe that someone could actually climb over the bulletproof glass, which is 8 feet 3 inches in height,” Mr. Calderon said. “It was even more frightening when I realized that the burglar climbed over it with a gun in his hand.”

As Mr. Calderon ran to confront the man—and Mrs. Calderon watched in horror—the heartless criminal pistol-whipped Mr. Calderon in the head, incapacitating him, allowing the thief to rob the store and sending Mr. Calderon to the hospital with a depressed skull fracture.

Though the thief stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, the Calderons were just thankful to be alive.

It Gets Personal

This story has a personal twist. The Calderons’ eldest daughter, Diane, has been my best friend for more than 20 years. We met as high school freshmen and have been like sisters ever since. Throughout high school, I was told about the various break-ins and injuries, but it was only when I started working for Security Products magazine—and established an amazing network of industry contacts—that I was able to help the family.

I mentioned this latest incident to my editor-in-chief, Ralph Jensen, who championed this cause as his own. He reached out to the folks at network video provider Axis Communications, who quickly offered to donate some cameras. Axis also reached out to its partner ADT Commercial, which offered to provide a hosted video solution.

After conducting an on-site survey, it was determined that Alco Watch & Jewelry needed a small surveillance system that would be easy to install and use without additional costs, equipment and maintenance.

To the Rescue

Axis Communications, ADT Commercial, EMC and Iomega came together to provide a hosted video solution for Alco Watch & Jewelry Repair Center.

In July 2011, two AXIS M1054 and two AXIS M1114 network cameras, along with ADT’s hosted video service, were installed in the store.

ADT’s hosted video is a cloud-based video storage and monitoring security service that enables business owners to access real-time and recorded surveillance video anytime, anywhere via any Web-enabled device. ADT handles system maintenance and upgrades on the back-end, which allows for an extremely easy-to-use system for the end user.

ADT’s hosted video uses AXIS network cameras and the AXIS Video Hosting System (AVHS) platform to provide video recording and management that is centrally managed by ADT and allows video access without the need for an on-site DVR.

The store’s surveillance video is streamed to on off-site EMC storage facility. Additionally, to improve on-site redundancy and enable the system to store high-quality HDTV video, ADT Commercial also installed an Iomega StorCenter network attached storage device.

“When the bad guys break in, the first thing they’ll do is find the DVR to take all the evidence,” said Matt Krebs, business development manager for Axis Video Hosting System. “With the system, the video has already been streamed and stored securely in an offsite data center.”

Ideal for small businesses, the AXIS M1054 and M1114 network cameras stream live, full-frame-rate video in resolutions up to 1 megapixel to a laptop located in the back of the store. On one webpage, the Calderons have access to multiple live HDTV video feeds from different areas of the store. When Mr. Calderon is working with a customer, Mrs. Calderon can keep a watchful eye on him as well as other areas simultaneously.

And every night, when the Calderons are at home, they can log into the system to check on their business.

The AXIS M1054 also features intruder alarm capabilities. An integrated PIR sensor detects movement, even in the dark. During an event, the Calderons can activate a white LED to illuminate the scene from home, while using the M1114s to pan, tilt and zoom.

“Hosted video definitely has a sweet spot: that one to 10 camera application,” Krebs said. “Alco was the ideal application. We chose IP video cameras for increased resolution and performance, and the hosted video stores and records video and makes it accessible to the business owner.”

ADT Commercial was generous enough to provide its hosted video service for free for one year to the Calderons. After a year, thanks to the affordable cost, the Calderons plan to continue the service for their business.

Safe and Sound

In the future, if the store requires more cameras, Axis’ One-click Camera Connection feature makes it easy to install new cameras regardless of Internet service provider, routers and firewall settings.

The powerful combination of ADT’s hosted video technologies and Axis’ network cameras provides Alco Watch & Jewelry Repair Center with a high-tech security solution and ease of mind.

“This installation at Alco Watch & Jewelry is the perfect scenario for a hosted video system: small business, need for only a few cameras, would like remote accessibility, and didn’t want to worry about hardware maintenance and upgrades,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of Axis Communications. “AVHS is the technology bridge connecting the three largest providers in their respective markets—Axis for surveillance cameras, EMC for data storage and ADT Commercial for integration— so that users across North America can install new network cameras or digitize existing analog cameras with encoders to create an affordable and always-available surveillance system.”

“I was very happy and grateful to have this additional protection be added to my place of business,” Mr. Calderon said. “We feel much safer with the camera surveillance. It provides us more security and confidence knowing that every person that enters the store is carefully being monitored. I think the technology is great and easy to use. I especially like being able to check on the store when I am at home or anywhere I have access to the Internet.”

Scan the code to watch a video of Mr. Calderon discussing his new surveillance system.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Security Today.

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