Like most people, you probably made the easy prediction that an economic recession would result in a rise in crime. So it comes as no surprise that this prediction is unfortunately coming true.
Law enforcement agencies from parts of the country hardest hit by the recession are already reporting increased levels of theft. According to the University of Florida’s Department of Retail studies, overall theft from 2009 to 2010 has risen by 10.7% to a staggering $37.1 billion.
Shoplifting and other forms of theft are major business concern when the country is experiencing the best of economic times. In fact, studies show that the average small business can lose more than $50,000 every year due to theft. Even in good times, this will put a serious dent in many companies' profits.
With the recession-induced business slow down and rising crime rates, it's more important than ever that companies consider the relatively small investment in video security equipment to protect themselves from this increasing activity.
Studies conservatively estimate that a business can prevent 25-50% of criminal activity by employing a simple video security camera and/or system. At today's crime rates, such an investment will pay for itself in months.
Here are some of the MANY ways that a security system can protect your business:
1. Fraudulent Claims
As you probably know and hopefully have not experienced, some people make a career out of staging "slip and falls." Fortunately, many of these claims have been successfully disputed by businesses using CCTV cameras in public areas.
However, it's equally important that companies place CCTV cameras in areas of the business not accessible to the general public, where most claims of employee injuries occur. Video security cameras installed in these areas will help to put a stop to these claims, and capture actual evidence to help protect the company should a true accident take place.
2. Supply Theft
Products stored on a shelf in plain sight may be difficult for a thief to access. However, stockrooms are typically out of sight and out mind of a business manager, and make perfect targets for internal thieves.
Fortunately, stockrooms are also one of the easiest places to install a hidden covert camera — and in many cases, it only takes a single hidden security camera to identify where your supplies are going.
3. Returns Theft
Goods returned to a store are often held in separate storage spaces, and don't get the same level of security as newer goods. However, thieves will quickly recognize this lack of attention, and consider them to be easy pickings.
Depending upon the type of returned goods you deal with, it may be very practical to place surveillance video gear in the return product itself and track every move it makes.
Although this may seem overly expensive, it's actually quite easy to do with modern covert video camera gear — and is much easier than having loss prevention managers hiding inside of product boxes… oh yes, we have heard of many desperate managers resorting to this tactic.
4. Tool Theft
Regardless of your business type, the typical company will keep ample supplies of expensive gear on hand. For some businesses, this gear may be considered safe from theft due its uniqueness, which makes it difficult to pawn.
Today, however, finding a buyer for just about anything is child's play — thanks to the abundance of online auction sites and shoppers. This makes no business immune from theft. With the use of simple video surveillance and/or RFID tags, tools will stay where they belong.
5. Office Creepers
An unfortunate byproduct of busy offices with lots of expensive technology lying around is something we call "office creepers." Office creepers will stroll right into the heart of any business and take their pick of laptops, monitors, printers, etc.
A business equipped with surveillance video cameras in plain sight will deter a creeper and send them looking for less prepared facilities.
6. Productivity Loss
Websense has released studies that show business loss due to low productivity far outweighs more traditional means of theft.
Over the years, I have worked with businesses experiencing everything from low productivity to employees running separate web-based businesses while on the clock — even hocking the goods that they stole from the business! Needless to say, we were able to stop that activity with a small investment in video security.
7. More Productivity Loss
Certainly, there are more common acts of everyday productivity loss with extended conversations, extended breaks, low accomplishment of tasks, and so on. These are common to almost every business, but confronting these offenders can be difficult to do from a legal standpoint.
An easy way to avoid confrontation and get the real story is through the use of video surveillance gear. Businesses that have chosen this route have been shocked at what they've uncovered and the positive changes they were able to make through monitoring and active management.
8. Crimes Against Others
Inside any business, the company is not the only one with valuables. These days, both customers and employees enter a business equipped with a variety of items commonly targeted by thieves — including cell phones, laptops, cash, and personal information. And as such, both customers and employees alike can become the unsuspecting target.
Employees will inherently maintain certain levels of trust with fellow employees, which are often violated. Likewise, trusting customers may leave property in the hands of employees — a prime target for thieves. Losing the trust of a company's employees and customers can do considerable harm to an otherwise successful business.
9. Customer Experience
In tough economic times, it’s hard enough to earn a customer's business. The last thing a company needs is its employees reducing the chances of repeat business through bad customer experience.
Many of our business customers who are focused on customer service will employ body-worn video equipment and mystery shop their own business to document the true customer experience. This tactic will quickly root out the bad apples, and provide very powerful training video to educate the company's employees of how to properly interact with the customer.
10. Outside Locked Doors
In these tough times, desperate folks are even targeting things you wouldn’t normally think as valuable. At the top of this new list is metal — anything metal, from cooper wires for lighting, aluminum from air conditioners, and even storm drain covers.
Aside from metal, I’ve heard reports of landscape theft such as trees, new sod and plants. And even reports of cameras being stolen that you need to cover everything else.
On that note, cameras should be kept inaccessible, cabling secured in armored conduit and positioned correctly so that if someone attempts to steal the camera their mug-shot will be secured on the DVR (digital video recorder).
It's impossible to be everywhere in a business at all times — but with video surveillance systems you can get very close. When items are missing and questions arise, a quick review of footage recorded sometimes weeks ago will uncover the facts and enable you to take quick and decisive action.
Modern video surveillance solutions are not only easy to use and affordable, they are also easy to install. If you have a person on staff that can connect a DVD player to a television (and I bet you do), then they can easily equip your business with the untiring eyes it needs to stop these losses immediately.
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