Chicago-area Mall Fights Crime and Safeguards Shoppers

With the National Retail Federation predicting the highest growth in holiday sales since 2011 with a 4 percent increase this year, Axis Communications announced that Chicago-area Stratford Square Mall is relying on Axis network cameras to protect public safety and minimize shoplifting during the holiday shopping season. Even though online sales are also on the rise, the vast majority of shoppers will continue to visit brick and mortar stores for their holiday purchases, making a robust and flexible security system essential. Along with an increase in sales, the holiday season can also bring an increase in merchandise shrink, adding more incentive for mall managers to have eyes throughout the facility.

The mall, which welcomes over 12 million visitors a year, worked with Tinley Park, IL-based IT services company Preferred Communication Systems to install the high definition cameras in 2013 throughout common areas in the 1.3 million square foot facility. While most of the more than 160 retail stores manage their own surveillance needs internally, the IP cameras provide critical support in hallways, play areas and the mall’s exterior. Because the cameras are network based, the mall can quickly and easily add or move cameras when the mall’s layout changes, and the cameras’ durability ensures the mall will have continual access to HDTV-quality video to monitor shopper safety, find lost children and help protect mall assets and combat crime.

“With our system, it’s easy to add more cameras, we have a great response time, and everything runs smoothly,” said Doug Kiehn, general manager, Stratford Square Mall. “We don’t have time for headaches. We don’t have time for downtime. We don’t have time for a camera not working.”

In addition to public safety, the cameras also enable the mall security team to cooperate with specific stores and the local police department in identifying and prosecuting criminals. The security team can pick up suspects on video as they leave the stores and head to the parking lot. They are able to zoom in on faces, tattoos and other identifying marks, which can be seen clearly in the HDTV-quality video. These images are often provided to the local police, who in turn, use them to successfully prosecute cases. They can also connect the local police to live video feeds to increase situational awareness in the event of an emergency.

The mall selected a variety of Axis camera models including the discrete AXIS M3014 Fixed Dome Network Cameras for their drop ceilings and the AXIS P5534 PTZ Dome Network Cameras to cover the entryways into the mall. The cameras’ powerful optical and digital zooms with autofocus and 360° pan allow security personnel to investigate incidents throughout the entire common area of the mall. For the seasonal holiday area where Santa and the Easter Bunny greet children, the mall relies on the wide-angle AXIS P3364-V to cover both the main area and the hallways leading up to it for maximum protection

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