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The Future of Retail Security: Enhancing Video Surveillance with AI

The Future of Retail Security: Enhancing Video Surveillance with AI

Posted by Albert Stepanyan

Albert Stepanyan

President and CEO at Scylla AI

As someone who specializes in video analytics and has worked with many retailers worldwide, I've seen just how much shoplifting can hurt a store’s bottom line. The truth is that shrinkage—which is often due to shoplifting—can eat up as much as 3% of a store’s annual sales. While traditional video surveillance has been a go-to solution, its effectiveness tends to decline over time. Even the best security guards can only do so much; they can't watch everything at once, and they usually catch less than 5% of shoplifting incidents.

Retail crime is a pervasive global issue that exacts a heavy financial toll. In the United States and Europe combined, retail crime racks up an astonishing $60.673 billion annually. This translates to approximately $106 per person in the United States and $77 per person in Europe. These stark figures underscore the critical necessity for advanced and effective loss prevention solutions.

Traditional shoplifting prevention methods

Traditional CCTV systems, although widely deployed, present a fundamentally unsustainable approach to security. They rely passively on retrospective analysis, which limits their ability to prevent thefts in real-time. Moreover, security guards, despite their physical presence, often struggle to respond effectively to shoplifting incidents. This reactive approach fails to deter determined thieves, leading to significant losses for businesses. To address these shortcomings, businesses must adopt more proactive and advanced security solutions that actively deter theft and protect their assets in real-time.

In the battle against shoplifting, retailers deploy a myriad of strategies beyond CCTV, yet none seem to effectively confront the problem head-on:

● Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags and labels trigger alarms, but thieves still escape unnoticed. ● Security guards vigilantly patrol, yet shoplifters slip through the cracks. ● Access control measures like restricted zones and key cards aim to keep thieves out, but determined culprits still breach security. ● Inventory management systems, including high-tech solutions like smart shopping carts, promise to track every item, yet merchandise mysteriously disappears. ● Staff are armed with training and education, but cunning shoplifters exploit blind spots. ● Despite safes and strict protocols guarding against internal theft, losses persist.

The worsening situation has forced some retailers, especially in the United States, to take drastic steps: closing down entire stores. Despite implementing numerous security measures, they remain unable to stop or even significantly reduce rampant shoplifting. This drastic action highlights the severe impact of unchecked theft, leaving businesses to confront the grim truth that traditional defenses are inadequate against ongoing criminal activities.

A call for proactive security solutions

Addressing shoplifting requires a multifaceted approach, as there is no single solution. Factors such as societal norms and legal constraints vary widely, with some regions facing challenges in apprehending perpetrators due to legal complexities and public perception issues. Effective strategies encompass a blend of human vigilance, strategic consulting, IoT devices, and cutting-edge technologies like AI-driven shoplifting detection systems.

In Europe and the UK, retailers benefit from robust legal frameworks that support their efforts against theft. Here, Scylla AI emerges as a transformative solution. Scylla AI offers a 24/7 video surveillance platform that operates tirelessly without breaks or downtime. Powered by artificial intelligence, this advanced system delivers continuous, real-time monitoring to swiftly and accurately identify suspicious shopping behaviors. By leveraging AI technology, Scylla AI equips retailers with the tools needed to proactively combat shoplifting and safeguard their assets effectively.

In the realm of cutting-edge retail security, Scylla AI revolutionizes shoplifting detection with its advanced AI video analytics tailored for proactive and effective theft prevention. This intelligent system not only identifies the concealment of valuable items in backpacks or bags but also triggers alerts using strobe lights and a mobile app, notifying security guards and cashiers in real-time. Moreover, in environments where facial recognition is adopted, Scylla AI automatically adds identified individuals to a watchlist to deter repeat offenses.

For customers seeking heightened security in their mass retail chains, Scylla AI offers an innovative Auto-enrollment system. This feature scans crowds and assigns a unique ID to each individual, even if they are not initially on a watchlist. Should a person appear within a short period of time in multiple stores of the same retail chain, the system promptly flags them and searches for any prior shoplifting records. This is particularly effective in combating retail organized crime, providing retailers with a proactive approach to safeguarding their assets.

Scylla’s video analytics set itself apart in the evolving field of video surveillance by leveraging AI to detect suspicious behavior with exceptional accuracy. Using continuous learning and advanced behavior recognition technology, Scylla achieves a detection rate of up to 99%. This capability is bolstered by seamless integration into existing surveillance systems, ensuring quick setup and immediate deployment of real-time alerts to connected devices.

Scheduled AutoPatrols

With Scylla AI video analytics, store security is enhanced through swift response mechanisms, allowing security personnel to intervene promptly and decisively. By providing clear video evidence of suspicious activities, Scylla empowers security teams to confront potential thieves effectively and mitigate losses.

The results speak for themselves: by integrating AI technology like Scylla AI into retail store operations, a typical mid-sized department store slashed its monthly €80,000 shrinkage from theft by at least 64%. This remarkable achievement came with just a fraction of the investment allocated to upgrading the store with Scylla AI's advanced capabilities.

However, it's crucial to remember that AI alone isn't a magic solution. Achieving such significant reductions requires expertise from experienced consultants and integrators, supportive legislation, and a dedicated workforce on-site. Nevertheless, the absence of these elements should never be an excuse for failing to combat theft or enhance customer safety. With the right tools and strategies in place, retailers can proactively protect their assets and provide a secure environment for their customers, paving the way for sustainable growth and success.

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