Thieves becoming more innovative

April 2006 Surveillance

As thieves become more innovative, surveillance methods need to be continually reviewed. But unfortunately, organisations are not evaluating their surveillance systems regularly enough, putting companies at increasing risk.

"Thieves are continually looking at new ways of beating existing security systems, and are being successful at it," says Marshall International marketing director David Marshall.

"The old trick of opening sealed boxes containing expensive equipment such as cameras or DVD players, stealing the contents, and then resealing the boxes with items of the exact weight can now be more easily tracked," he says.

"In factories, small diameter copper pipes are inserted into larger pipes and then stolen when transported. With more sophisticated equipment now available, surveillance methods can be made more creative where previously it was difficult to identify this type of theft."

Marshall says companies are countering theft with pinhole-size hidden cameras placed in false boxes and in strategic locations to detect illegal activities. "Cameras can be hidden almost anywhere," he says. "And in cases where machinery can be dangerous to staff working under the influence of alcohol, breathalyser systems now exist that integrate to access control systems."

Marshall says surveillance systems are coping with the huge increase in crime. "They only cost just a fraction of what many companies expect to spend.

"No longer do companies need to purchase surveillance equipment. Equipment can be hired for a specific period of time and systems can be built to specification. Installation is easy and there is no need for a private investigator.

"In terms of court evidence, we are able to provide advice as the format courts will accept for digital video as evidence, such as requiring videos to be date and time stamped."

When installing a surveillance system in the work environment, says Marshall, there are certain legal procedures that need to be followed. Management must ensure that staff members are formally advised of the fact.

"This can be done as a notification in their payslips or as part of the employment contract advising employee that surveillance systems are installed and are being used to monitor theft. The note will also state that the company reserves the right to install hidden cameras."

Marshall says generally accepted statistics in the market show that 15% of the workforce is inclined to steal, 70% is undecided and 15% will not be swayed into stealing at all.

"It is the 70% that need to be swayed into realising that the risks are too great. Advising this section of the workforce that surveillance equipment is installed will discourage a large proportion of staff from considering theft," he says.

For more information contact David Marshall, Marshall International, 011 622 3660,

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