August 22, 2013

Security Methods Attempt to Fend Off Christmas Grinches

Two reports on the Today show this morning highlighted the fact that Grinches really do surface during the holidays—from a neighbor stealing Christmas decorations to professional thieves stabbing store personnel then fleeing via a high-speed chase.

Pictured above is a dome security camera used in business and home video surveillance.

One report calls them professional thieves who steal for a living. What are they stealing? These criminals are actually lining their jackets with many forms of red meat. They’re also pilfering Axe deodorant, Prilosec, Oil of Olay and razor blades.

These items are being taken because they are easy to move once out of the store at low prices compared to their retail tag, and a lot can be taken at once.

The Today report showed one burglar actually entering the store as he burst through the ceiling, but most are not taking such drastic measures (nor are they stabbing employees as mentioned in the lead to this post).

In terms of removing merchandise from the stores, some are entering with empty handbags that have been lined with aluminum foil and duct tape to trick store security systems.

Today reporters also indicated that there were other more blatant methods.

Return fraud is one of these such methods. Wrongdoers actually remove the item of value from the box, then fill it back up with useless contents and return it, usually for cash. Then, the stolen goods are sold on the “black market”.

Under ringing, according to Today, is also employed. The report showed surveillance video of a man at a register. His cart was filled with power tools. The clerk, with whom he was obviously in “cahoots”, only rang him up for a bottle of Gatorade.

A mother, with her child in tow, was captured on film switching the price tags of expensive toys with much less pricey items. This behavior is of course known as sticker swapping.

To combat the heavy losses that stores suffer, which ultimately lead to higher prices for the consumer, Target is going high tech. The Today piece called it something out of “CSI”, but it truly is a lab, based in Minnesota, designed to research and investigate.

Their goal is to work with law enforcement to capture thieves after doing such things as lifting fingerprints off of merchandise. They also analyze and enhance video surveillance.

It this leads to a decrease in thefts, then not only is the lab itself worth it, but it can help keep prices of goods down at Target since thieves won’t be removing items from shelves at such a high rate.

Also on Today, was a report of a woman in Texas who was stealing Christmas decorations in surrounding neighborhoods.

Home video surveillance led to her capture. Local news outlets published pictures of the woman and soon after, authorities were able to apprehend her.

The video shown on Today depicted her bending over alongside a driveway and peeling away a string of Christmas lights. Images also show her walking directly in front of a home security camera with a clear view of her face.

Hopefully, these Grinches will have a change in heart and stop their bad behavior…just like the real Grinch did in the Christmas special. That way, video surveillance, crime labs and police won’t need to intervene. We can wish can’t we—it is Christmas afterall.


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