The Facts Speak for Themselves
Shoplifters steal $237 worth of goods per incident, but employees lift much more
- By Michael Irvin
- Jan 01, 2013
The numbers speak for themselves. Reducing employee
theft within your organization is one of
the quickest ways to grow your bottom line. On
average, employees steal an average of $1,944
per incident—more than eight times higher
Employee theft is the single largest cause of shrinkage in
retail environments today. Millions of dollars disappear from
Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals in retail stores on a daily basis
due to fraudulent or criminal employee activities. The ability
to effectively detect and deter cashier-related shrinkage is a top
priority for retailers worldwide. One way that retailers are confronting
this epidemic is by identifying the telltale patterns of
these crimes—so-called POS exceptions.
Exceptions to the Norm
POS exceptions are transactions that differ from the norm.
These can include 0149 Manually entered values—a sign of
system manipulation, product returns with no item, customer
or supervisor present and no-sales when the cash register is
opened but no transaction is registered.
The art of identifying and capturing these exceptions is the
basis behind exception-based reporting solutions. Incorporating
video data as a complement to the transactional data
captured by your typical POS-based exception reporting
tools elevates the effectiveness of these tools by delivering
video images accompanied by textual data, resulting in a
more complete picture of any event in question.
By establishing a set of user-defined exception-based
rules, loss prevention (LP) managers can receive real-time
alerts when events or actions fall outside of these parameters.
Now, LP departments can leverage transactional
data and surveillance video to identify trends and
capture details that can lead to improved loss
prevention, improved operational efficiencies
and overall store performance.
Capture the Exceptions, Capture the Criminal
With POS and other store systems
currently networked, retailers are
using IT strategically to streamline
business processes and optimize
profits. By synchronizing
network surveillance video
with POS transactional data
in conjunction with video
analytics and user-defined exception-
based rules, retailers now
have a powerful tool kit for analyzing
and detecting fraud. This “intelligent” approach to loss
prevention can help uncover errors, training or skill deficiencies
and questionable or dishonest practices.
Enhancing Your Loss Prevention Initiatives
With the advances in network technology and network video
integration, surveillance systems have the ability to monitor,
identify and tag transactions deemed to be suspicious. Intelligence
inherent in some network digital surveillance systems
can alert staff to potential thefts and suspicious behavior while
it is happening.
Reports can be generated by a variety of parameters including
cash register, time, employee number, amounts, exception
kind and transaction type and accessed from any computer connected
to your network. When coupled with the relevant video
clips, the reports provide a true picture of what truly transpired.
Now you can leverage technology and be proactively driving
the investigation—actively uncovering errors, inefficiencies
and questionable or dishonest practices. As a result, you detect
sooner and respond quicker, enabling a more timely resolution
of issues encountered. This enhanced responsiveness and effectiveness
to your loss prevention initiatives is reflected not only
in your organization’s bottom line but in your department’s financial
validation as well.
This same intelligence opens the door to new in-store research
methods that can positively impact a store’s operations
and bottom line.
Analytics, a Natural Extension
Video analytics is a natural extension to video supported exception-
based reporting and is not limited only to loss prevention
activities. Video analytics can help increase operational
and employee efficiencies using video you may already collect.
Examples of a few of the video analytics that can be enabled
include queue monitoring, dwell times, people counting
and real-time alerts when aisles are obstructed.
Video analytics can be a valuable and effective tool helping
you detect gaps in training, management or helping you
identify and praise good behavior. Analytics can help you grow
revenues by transforming the way your customer data and behavior
is analyzed and reported.
More Coverage, Fewer Cameras
With IP megapixel cameras, and the new hemispheric and panoramic
video formats, end users are assured of greater detail
and more coverage with fewer cameras.
While resolution is the desired outcome to your investigations,
video resolution is key to capturing the details critical
to that investigation, and high-detail resolution is what IP
video is all about. Traditional high-resolution analog cameras can provide the equivalent of only 0.3
megapixel resolution, where network
digital cameras can deliver resolution
exceeding 10 megapixels, cover a larger
area and provide superior digital PTZ
capabilities over analog counterparts.
The larger-format images provided
by megapixel cameras, combined with
their higher pixel counts, result in an
image that can be examined using postevent
digital zoom without pixilation.
Raw images from analog cameras and
megapixel cameras can look very similar,
but looks can be deceiving. The differences
become apparent when you zoom
in, trying to identify who is in the photo.
With nearly every aspect of computerized
and networked retail operations,
it’s natural to add video surveillance to
the list. The advent of digital video IP
cameras has allowed surveillance video
to enter the IT world. IP-based surveillance
solutions give you the power to
have zero point of failure through the
use of industry standard architectures
such as SMART, RAID and SNMP.
Now you can be notified of potential
or real problems before they negatively
impact your system.
Network connectivity also gives you
the option of connecting all of your
disparate systems such as POS, access
control and cooling systems to your
digital video recorder giving you a complete
picture of your operation, in realtime
and in review.
Cost of Ownership
While some components of an IP-based
video surveillance system may be more
expensive than analog alternatives,
when the total cost of ownership is calculated,
IP has been shown to be more
cost effective overall due to reduced cabling
costs, increased storage efficiency,
the ability to re-purpose resources and
provide IP migration that allows users
to purchase and keep low-cost analog
cameras for less demanding locations.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
IP-based video surveillance systems
allow users to capture and distribute
video, audio and transactional data over
any kind of IP network. With an Internet
connection, authorized users are
able to monitor multiple stores from a
single location. By having your cameras
connected to a network, you can achieve
a higher level of surveillance with fewer
cameras and less people.
The Benefits Are Many
Users that have deployed intelligent
network video surveillance solutions
reference a number of benefits as a result
of their deployment, including reduced
shrinkage, improved operational
efficiencies and customer service, synchronizing
video data with POS data
records and the ability to capture and
interpret conversion rate data.
By leveraging network digital IP
cameras and exception-based reporting,
the tools are now available to retailers
to effectively detect and deter cashierrelated
shrinkage. LP departments can
now leverage transactional data and
surveillance video to identify trends and
capture details that can lead to improved
loss prevention, which in turn leads to
improved operational efficiencies and
better overall store performance.
This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Security Today.