Keeping an “Eye” on Your Business - Tire Review Magazine

Keeping an “Eye” on Your Business

Everyone agrees that youneed to keep an eye on your business to be successful. Today’s closed circuitvideo surveillance systems take this concept to a new level.

The first thing that maycome to mind is “those cameras should really help prevent car theft” or “thesesystems will really upgrade the security of our facility.” While thesestatements may be true, better security is not the only benefit of having avideo surveillance system protecting your business. Expand your thinking to includeinternal shrinkage, customer relations, lot damage, cash transactions andpremises liability (customer slips and falls, etc.). But first, let’s talkabout how the equipment works and what new technology is available.

Going digital

Many businesses are phasingout standard analog technology in favor of more cost effective, higher qualitydigital video equipment. Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are replacing VideoCassette Recorders (VCRs) as the preferred method for recording and storingcamera footage. DVRs can store hours and days of footage on a single harddrive, and don’t require frequent changing of costly tapes like VCRs in thepast. The emergence of High Definition (HD) and specialty digital camerasavailable for every circumstance or application has also contributed to themove towards digital.

One significant feature ofthe newer technology is size; very small cameras can be used in so-called“covert” situations where you may not want anyone to be aware of its presence.Equipment features are virtually unlimited depending on your needs – and yourbudget. Software packages have been developed to program cameras to trackmovement and switch from color to black and white during evening hours toimprove resolution. There are also programs available that connect to your cashregister to record all transactions while simultaneously recording video.

 Watch while you’re away

Ever have that urge to findout what’s going on at “the shop” on your day off or while you’re on vacation?Now you can. Digital technology lends itself quite well to on-line, real-timemonitoring. Connect to the internet from any desktop PC, laptop, or otherinternet capable device and watch your business, live online. Watch traffic onthe service drive or lot, keep an eye on the cashier or monitor how employeesinteract with customers. What’s more, cameras can be controlled from off-sitelocations so that you can pan, tilt or zoom in on whatever you prefer.

Beyond security

It was mentioned in theopening paragraph that a good video surveillance system will do more thanprovide an increased level of security. What else can they do? These systemscan protect your business in many different ways.

Slips and falls are aproblem for many of you – employees, vendors and customers falling on yourproperty can cost you time (investigating, filling out claim forms, etc.) andmoney. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to investigate the incident immediately,determine if this is a legitimate injury, identify a cause and implementcorrective measures? In today’s litigious society, “staged” accidents are alltoo common and video evidence can be very advantageous to defending a case incourt.

In an actual incident, asurveillance camera belonging to one of our policyholders was able to capture abreak-in and theft of a stereo system from a customer’s vehicle. The video tapewas reviewed with the customer after he reported the theft to the servicemanager. Sure enough, right there on the tape, the thief was caught red-handedopening the car door and taking the stereo. The tape clearly showed thecustomer breaking into his own car. Obviously this “customer” made the decisionto drop his claim.

These systems can alsobenefit you in the areas of internal shrinkage. Monitoring cash transactions,warehouses, service areas and parking lots are just a few examples. Cameras canbe strategically located above cashiers to observe cash and credittransactions, as well as evaluate customer service. High value or “target”stock in warehouses or store rooms can be watched from a central location. Haveproblems with lot damage or pilferage? These losses generally come directly outof your pocket because most of the on-site “mystery” vehicle accidents (i.e.unknown persons backing into your vehicle or a customer’s) and minor theft fallbelow your deductible. Many of our customers have found that a surveillancesystem greatly reduces these types of claims.

Expert planning

Robert Harper, President ofACS Electronic Systems, suggests planning and working with a security expertbefore purchasing or installing a video surveillance system. “I wouldn’t workon my own car so I wouldn’t suggest that your customers try to fix their ownsecurity problems,” he said.

Many issues deserveconsideration, including:

• Consult with legal counselbefore planning or installing any covert cameras – cameras should never beplaced inside bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.

• Does the quality of thepicture have to be good enough to stand up in court? If the answer is “yes,”then pay close attention to the quality of the camera you are purchasing.

• Placement of cameras iscritical – how much and what area do you expect the cameras to cover?

• What do you expect fromthe placement or view?

• Lighting is important –both exterior and at other critical areas such as entrances and exits.

• Cameras that automaticallychange from color to black and white at night will provide better image qualityduring hours of darkness.

• Be sure to “advertise”your security system with signage announcing that your property is under videosurveillance – one primary goal of these systems is to deter criminal, unlawfulor unscrupulous activity.

– Courtesy of Zurich NorthAmerica  –

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