CCTV has long been one of the most important, central methods to deter shoplifters and help identify repeat offenders. Great CCTV systems mean you can monitor problem areas constantly, and even if you can’t react to a thief in real time, you could still get a good idea of their identity, behavior, and the products that they targeted.
However, recent innovations in CCTV technology promise to totally revolutionize how loss prevention associates use CCTV to identify, detain, and deter shoplifters.
Which innovation will have the most impact? Two words. Facial. Recognition.
Recent Advances Allow Facial Recognition Technology Integrated Into CCTV Systems
This used to be the realm of science fiction being able to identify a shopper within seconds from the time that they walk into your store. Sounds crazy, right?
Not at all. Today’s lightning fast computer processors, smart algorithms, and high-resolution CCTV cameras have combined to allow facial-recognition technology to enter the mainstream.
These cameras aren’t magic. They can’t identify a shoplifter who is unknown to the company. However, once a shoplifter has been positively identified, whether he or she is detained or escapes, the shoplifter can be “enrolled” in the system. Identifying characteristics such as face shape, features, color of hair, and other markers of identification can be uploaded into the system, as well as images and photos of the shoplifter.
This also means that the system is safe for the average shopper as they will not be monitored. Only criminals and shoplifters are monitored by the system, so the average shopper doesn’t have to worry about being tracked. They will of course been screened by the system upon entering your store, but their movements through your store will not.
Shoplifters Can Be Recognized In Seconds
When a known shoplifter enters a store, the cameras near the entrances can positively identify the person in question, often with only a few second, and have a notification sent to loss prevention officers, managers, or other personnel.
If the shoplifter has been caught before and offered a barring notice, a notification is sent to the relevant personnel, who may approach the shoplifter and remind them of their legal obligation to leave the premises.
If the shoplifter hasn’t been caught, but is suspected to have stolen and has been enrolled in the system, an “observe” alert can be issued that will allow employees to monitor the behavior of the suspect without approaching them. If positive confirmation of shoplifting activity can be obtained, the individual may be dealt with by security personnel.
If a dangerous shoplifter or repeat offender is identified, a “911” alert can be issued, allowing management and LP professionals to contact authorities in case of an especially dangerous individual, or a repeat offender who ignores barring notices.
Facial Recognition Technology Can Have A Massive Impact On Shrink Reduction
Facial recognition technology if properly implemented could represent a massive revolution on how loss prevention professionals conduct their duties. Think of the benefit, if you catch an individual shoplifting, and they steal an item worth $100, not only has your system prevented that theft, it can prevent all future theft from that individual!
Truly, this means that the future of Loss Prevention emphasizes “Prevention.” A smart facial recognition system can mean that repeat shoplifters become a thing of the past. You now have a tool to stop repeat offenders.
The technology is not yet perfect, and there are some serious concerns from consumer advocacy groups about the tracking of facial features by security cameras. However, one thing is certain; smart facial recognition technology could play a fundamental role in advancing the world of loss prevention.