Businesses on the Century Road Industrial Estate in Hull have joined forces to help reduce crime on the estate with the introduction of an innovative ‘Video Vulture’ security system.
Preventing crime and security problems impacting on businesses reduces wasteful indirect costs to firms and helps improve overall productivity and gross value. There is also compelling evidence and experience within the UK that investors are put off by places with a poor business crime reputation.
When confronted with severe problems of opportunistic crime on the Century Road Industrial Estate we implemented a cost effective intervention which had a major impact. Following an approach from Humberside Police and a scoping of the problem, RCP21 proposed a collaborative action between businesses, the police and RCP21 which included the deployment of RCP21's Video Vulture System to send alerts to businesses, key holders, police and the CCTV monitoring station via SMS message with a video file attachment.
Feedback from businesses and the police was that the joint action had made a significant impact and crime on the estate fell by 20% with additional savings to the police in having fewer false alarms.
Humberside Police proposed Century Road Industrial Estate as a problem area where the Video Vulture CCTV system technology could be pilot tested.
A section of businesses at the back of the estate, where it links to a disused railway line were repeat victims of burglary and attempted break-ins.
The RCP21 team undertook a site visit to Century Road to assess the suitability for deployment of the system on the estate. However, more importantly, the organisation of the pilot allowed the RCP21 project to bring together the businesses, police and the current security service providers for key holding and alarm response in a collaborative network.
The Video Vulture system was installed and the pilot scheme took place in September 2010.
The Business Collaboration Network set up to receive the alarms consisted of:
- The Monitoring Station at Langthwaite Business Park
- Humberside Police Officers
- The owners of the businesses
- The key holding and alarm response providers for businesses.
The advantages for all parties in the collaboration of being able to simultaneously see real time footage of what had activated the Video Vulture system were that it dramatically reduced the time it took to inform all parties of the intrusion, also recipients could quickly eliminate false alarms. A response from the Police, the business owners and any key holding and alarm companies was only triggered when there was a real intrusion on the site.
The quick and co-ordinated response to real alarm activations by all participants was a key factor of the success in the reduction of crime that was achieved. Another very important factor was that all parties agreed to commit resource to the pilot for a set period of time (30 days) during which the high level of response by all parties was maintained.
Results of Video Vulture Deployment
During the 30 day pilot period there were 16 alarm activations, 15 of which were false alarms or not suspicious. 1 alarm triggered a Police response, but was subsequently found to be a member of staff.
PC Richard Beeforth, Crime Reduction Officer, Humberside Police said: "The Video Vulture system acts as an effective deterrent by triggering the alarm system before the intruder enters the property. The real time monitoring means that users are able to see what has triggered the alarm, reducing the number of false alarm calls to the police but allowing users to contact the police promptly when necessary. Since the system was installed the average number of reported crimes has dropped from 1 crime every ten days to zero."
Rob Hatfield of Hatfields Haulage, one of the businesses involved, said: "Video Vulture is definitely a step forward. There are no disadvantages to the system. Preventing false alarms saves time and money. The monitoring is excellent"