LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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most likely to be targeted—also thwarts theft by extending the time necessary to commit it. "Most of our locations have very quick response times, so we look at the specific time it takes and then examine what needs to be done to delay them even more," explained Matthews. After-Hours Visibility As part of a larger company initiative targeting waste and improving operations at Kroger supermarkets, the limitations of its existing alarm systems—or the lack of them at some locations—was identified as an area of risk. So as part of its project, the company approved capital dollars for new alarms, and the company is currently in the middle of a large installation rollout. It is already paying off. "Preliminary results have been fantastic," said Chris McCarrick. More than simple alerts, the system is providing visibility into overnight store operations, improving the safety of overnight store associates, and curtailing shrink due to theft. An hour after close, the new system must be armed until an hour before opening while specific doors can be disarmed without taking down the entire system, which allows for enhanced security without disrupting workflow. After being armed, individual PIN codes and exception reports provide intelligence on store activity during the night. "The feedback we get from the field and store management teams is that it's giving them better control over the building. Before, a back door could be opened in the middle of the night, and if it was a direct store delivery, someone propping open a door to have a smoke, or a bad guy, they might never know it," said McCarrick. "This gives us line of sight when those activities occur, when parts of the system are disarmed and by whom, and provides exception reporting to understand those activities." The capabilities of today's alarm systems are a significant upgrade to the monthly alarm company report from years' past, according to J. Patrick Murphy, a former LP director and now a consultant and expert witness with LPT Security Consulting. "The technology has allowed LP to work smarter not harder," said Murphy. "It allows the LP manager to know every day if anyone has bypassed an alarm zone and to investigate the reason, if it's some problem with alarm training, or if it's an equipment issue, or if it's something more ominous than that." McCarrick notes that the new alarms, which are monitored internally by the Kroger Central Alarm Center in Portland, Oregon, have required a culture change. "Because if the building isn't armed as required, the calls start to go out," he said. To help ease transition and to help managers get the most out of intelligence features, district AP managers go into each store to provide instruction, answer questions, and provide training on the system. By running a contact from the alarm panel into the back of Kroger store DVRs, alarm system exceptions are bookmarked by the video surveillance system. So, for example, if a door is opened overnight outside of a scheduled time, a manager can immediately scan a time line to identify that exception and then click it to watch a video of the event. "Video review is a great supplement to the system," said McCarrick. Joe Matthews also highlighted the role of video in after-hours protection of Academy Sports + Outdoors stores. "There is a short window of time from the moment they open the door to when the alarm bells, whistles, and sirens go off—and we also have surveillance video from the parking lot and video of them entering the store." Marrying video and alarm systems can also improve management of alarm events, a valuable asset since false alarms continue to be a significant nuisance and source of expense, according to several LP executives. "For some c-stores or strip center stores, false alarms are the number one item they're concerned with," said Ed Warminski, general manager at Supreme Security Systems, a security alarm system solutions company in the Northeast. In addition to fines, false alarms eventually provide a drag on police response, and thieves may intentionally trigger alarms over the course of weeks in the hopes of causing just this type of casual response. As a result, Warminski said its retail clients are increasingly opting for the company's Supreme Verified service, which provides video verification by pairing security alarm signals or motion sensors with video surveillance cameras. Remote users can look in live on the camera associated with the triggered alarm, and clips of what caused the alarm get immediately sent to central station operators as well as to the cell phones or SAFELY INTO THE NIGHT Technology has had the effect of democratizing retail security—providing smaller retail establishments the feature-rich functionality of a surveillance video management system but as a service. Indeed, in some cases it is retailers with smaller footprints that are most apt to embrace advanced security technology. J. Patrick Murphy Ed Warminski 20 JULY–AUGUST | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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