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How to Protect Your Assets with Security Camera AI Brian Dziuk | May 12, 2020 1:20:05 PM

Loss prevention is a major issue for any business. Retail stores need to control shrink, warehouses need to protect goods while in storage, and fleet managers need to ensure their vehicles are well-protected while on the lot. Security cameras are an important tool for loss prevention.

Surveillance camera systems are a time-honored anti-theft measure—making them a crucial part of asset management and protection. However, their primary role is to gather evidence to identify thieves after the fact. But, what if you could turn your security cameras from a simple evidence-gathering tool into a proactive loss prevention resource?

With security camera AI solutions like Actuate by Rastrac, you can!

What is Security Camera AI?

Security camera AI is the term for software that takes the visual data collected by a connected security camera system and tries to identify what’s happening. The AI can then generate alerts if certain criteria are met.

As noted in an article on The Verge, one of the traditional problems with security camera systems is that they’re “like portholes: useful only when someone is looking through them.” Security camera AI solves this issue by putting a digital brain behind the digital eye—one that is always alert and watching for signs of intrusion or danger.

Actuate by Rastrac is a deep-learning security AI solution that works to eliminate false positives by learning to separate normal activities from abnormal ones after each incident.

Security Cameras and Loss Prevention

Traditionally, security cameras fill two primary roles in loss prevention:

  1. Acting as a Deterrent. Thieves are less likely to try to steal things when they know they could be identified using security camera footage since this increases the risk of getting caught. This is especially helpful for preventing employee shrink—because employees are often easy to ID on camera footage.
  2. Collecting Evidence. Security camera footage is often used in the criminal prosecution of suspects. This helps to put thieves behind bars so they can’t steal again.

However, most modern thieves know all too well how security cameras work. So, they often take steps to avoid them or minimize their effectiveness—like wearing disguises/masks or disabling some cameras.

If thieves aren’t caught in the act by someone watching the camera feed, then nobody will think to check the footage until the missing inventory discovered. This means sifting through hours, days, or even weeks (or more) of footage to try to find if the incident was caught on camera.

Using security camera AI solutions alongside your surveillance system adds a new loss prevention role to these tools: Identifying incidents in progress and generating alerts.

With AI, your camera system can identify intruders and alert the police, your security company, or your onsite security team to their location immediately without the need for human intervention. This massively improves speed of response for break-ins, robberies, and other incidents.

Surveillance System Dos and Don’ts

Even with an AI solution, there are several do’s and don’ts to using surveillance systems. Some of these security camera guidelines help you get more out of your security systems, while others help you avoid violating important regulations.

Here’s a short list of some important security camera system do’s and don’ts to follow:

DOs:

  • Ensure outdoor cameras are placed where they will be protected from rainfall—such as under a roof.
  • Inspect security cameras for signs of wear and tear at least once a quarter.
  • Mount cameras in places that are hard-to-reach by pedestrian traffic.
  • Make at least some cameras easy to see (so they can act as a deterrent).
  • Check your state’s laws regarding where security cameras may be placed (different states have different rules).

DON’Ts:

  • Leave camera wiring exposed (this increases the risk of tampering and damage).
  • Install cameras in rooms where people have “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” This includes bathrooms, locker rooms, rented rooms, and other areas where a reasonable person would expect their privacy to be protected.
  • Install cameras in areas which will be poorly-lit at night. The camera can’t help if it can’t see anything. If such an area MUST be monitored for shrink/loss prevention, consider installing new lighting so the camera can “see” at night.

Need help getting started with a camera system AI? Reach out to the Rastrac team to get started with Actuate by Rastrac!

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