Fill it up with HD

August 2011 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

High definition keeps filling station thieves at bay.

Newclare, west of Johannesburg, is a suburb that has had more than its share of challenges in the ongoing fight against crime. Owner and manager of Newclare Motors, Zak Adams, has lived in the area for most of his life and is no stranger to the grittier side of operating a 24-hour business in a fairly tough neighbourhood.

As part of the knockdown-and-rebuild of his Shell filling station, Adams decided to source and install an upgraded version of his existing analogue surveillance system.

Adams’ number one priority was to install a system that could provide excellent image quality in an efficient, easy-to-operate manner. He considered several options available on the security surveillance market before Shell Head Office introduced him to Roy Alves, Axis Communications’ African region country manager. Adams was bowled over by the superior clarity of the Axis HD network cameras and ML Technologies, a solutions integrator specialising in high technology systems, was contracted to deploy an Axis solution.

Several arrests, for incidents ranging from garage card fraud to theft of a manhole cover, have been carried out. The filling station is able to respond appropriately to customer queries and complaints by scrutinising recorded footage and extracting the relevant images. While staff and customers of Newclare Motors go about their daily business in a safe and peaceful environment, Adams can rest assured that no nefarious action or endeavour can escape the eye of his surveillance system.

A solution that thinks for itself

Adams was adamant that his chosen surveillance solution had to possess the necessary intelligence to provide more than just a picture; he wanted a system that could interpret activities and operate as a value-adding business tool. A criteria-driven search ability was also identified as an imperative feature.

In addition to these requirements, Adams was not negotiable on image clarity. “There have been numerous frustrating incidents in the past where it has not been possible to identify the facial features of a culprit,” he remarks, “the old analogue system provided a grainy, blurred image that was not adequate to make positive identifications.”

Adams’ uncompromising insistence on exceptional resolution made a firm case for the deployment of high-definition (HD) network video. This technology offers more useful images in remarkable detail that allows the operator to read a number plate or clearly see an item being scanned at a till point.

Thwarting future criminal activity

One of the most prevalent crimes affecting filling stations is garage card fraud. This practice, entailing the use of stolen credit cards, has a devastating impact on turnover. The Newclare Motors system puts two large obstacles in the way of criminals making use of these misappropriated cards.

Firstly, when management become aware that a fraudulent card has been used, it is possible to review the footage to ascertain a licence plate number and a detailed description of the perpetrator.

This information can be used to pursue a criminal charge. Secondly, there is a possibility of flagging a particular licence plate in order to raise an automatic alarm when this vehicle returns to the premises.

Creating a flawless view

ML Technologies was able to recommend the most appropriate Axis camera to ensure that application matched requirement every time. The forecourt of the filling station is monitored by AXIS P1344 network cameras. The Axis P1344 is a fixed network camera offering HD video quality. Its ability to autofocus ensures optimum picture quality under a variety of light conditions.

An Axis P5534 PTZ dome network camera, once again offering HD-quality video, was selected to provide an overview of the entire site as well as being able to monitor critical areas defined as presets on the NUUO software.

Axis M1104 network cameras are strategically positioned inside the convenience store, interior offices and throughout the onsite Steers fast food outlet. The AXIS M1104 was chosen for its compact design and ease of installation, as a result of its ability to support power over Ethernet, which greatly reduced the need for cabling and additional power points during installation. The H.264 video stream keeps bandwidth requirements to a minimum.

A total of 53 network cameras provide 24-hour surveillance of the entire vicinity and actively discourage criminals seeking their next soft target.


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