Convenience stores have traditionally installed surveillance cameras to deter crime and encourage safety, but too often these have provided images that lacked detail, particularly in low light. Retrieving video has usually been tedious, requiring endless searching and scanning to find the desired footage. Sharing and archiving the video has also been cumbersome, wasting technical and management resources.
Now advanced digital IP video cameras and recorders are capturing clearer images inside and outside the store in various lighting conditions to deter theft, fraud, and unjustified claims such as slip and fall incidents. By providing easily retrievable and emailable surveillance video evidence, this approach is enabling the swift collection of full compensation when store property is damaged. The economical IP network surveillance systems are also enabling executives to efficiently monitor store conditions from anywhere with an Internet connection.
“With an advanced surveillance camera system, a convenience store chain could achieve ROI within a year through better prevention of theft, fraud, and unjustified claims as well as improved operational oversight,” says Todd Harrison, IT Director who oversees loss prevention camera surveillance for Sprint Food Stores, which operates 20 convenience stores in Georgia and South Carolina.
Previously, Sprint Food Stores used lower resolution cameras that required onsite DVD burning as a means of storage. According to Harrison, limitations in surveillance video quality and connectivity were the main reasons that the convenience store chain sought an alternative.
As a solution, Harrison turned to an advanced surveillance camera system provided by ERC, a supplier and integrator of surveillance and POS systems.
The integrator supplied Sprint Food Stores with a complete surveillance video system, including various high-resolution digital cameras, network video recorders, and related equipment. This provides comprehensive video coverage inside and outside of stores, the corporate office, and remote offices, even in low-light/varying light conditions, and enables adjusting the angle or focus to capture the visual evidence required.
“They worked with us on exact camera placement and suggested slight adjustments to improve visibility and get the maximum coverage with the minimum number of cameras,” says Harrison.
One benefit of implementing the surveillance system was how it eliminated “blind spots” within stores, such as inside a walk-in beer cooler, which made it easy to prevent theft and catch thieves, says Harrison.
“We put a camera inside the walk-in beer cooler and at other blind spots so we can monitor them at the front counter,” he says. “This prevents theft so we don’t have to prosecute, and provides video evidence if we do.”
Among the equipment installed in stores, Harrison appreciates a 3-megapixel fisheye network camera that provides a full, 360-degree view over a web browser. This provides three, simultaneous pan, tilt and zoom video streams that can be viewed live or recorded.
“The great part about the 360-degree view camera is being able to view the whole store,” says Harrison. “You can zoom in for a close up of what you want to focus on.”