Real-Time Video Monitoring Could Deter Car Thefts at Phoenix Shopping Malls

By Tom Vigilante, Jr.

With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season fast approaching, Phoenix’s ABC television affiliate recently aired a segment on their evening news about the number of car thefts at Valley shopping malls.

According to research done among car thefts at Phoenix-area malls from September 2011 to August 2012, ABC 15 (KNXV-TV, Ch. 15) reported that Metrocenter in Phoenix had the most occurrences with 84 cars stolen on its property during the 12-month time frame. Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale ranked second with 56 thefts, Arizona Mills in Tempe was third with 33 and Desert Sky Mall in Phoenix was fourth with 31. Car thefts for other malls included Tempe Marketplace (12), Scottsdale Fashion Square (5), Mesa’s Fiesta Mall (5), Mesa’s Superstition Springs Center (3) and Chandler Fashion Center (2).

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that New Year’s Day is the leading holiday for reported vehicle thefts, while Christmas Day repeats annually as the holiday with the fewest reported cars stolen. The NICB reminds drivers to be alert during the busy holiday season by parking in well-lit areas at shopping centers, keeping packages in the trunk or out of sight and making sure vehicles are locked while parked.

Although Phoenix led the nation in auto thefts in 2002, NCIB data now ranks the Valley 60th among 366 metro areas in car thefts. According to the Arizona Republic, the decrease in car thefts can be attributed to the creation by the Arizona State Legislature of the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, which trains police officers, provides funding for prosecutors dealing in auto-theft cases and issues bait cars to lure thieves.

While the decrease in auto thefts in the Phoenix metropolitan area has decreased significantly, there is still work to be done to prevent additional displeasure for car owners in the future.

Centralized Vision provides pro-active protection of properties and assets by using remote-camera monitoring with real-time response actions for companies, including strip malls and shopping centers. We have a technician at our corporate headquarters monitor closed-circuit video cameras throughout parking lots and closed-off areas of various shopping centers 24 hours a day to prevent car thefts, trespassing and personal attacks.

When our technician views a crime being committed on camera, he or she can immediately alert local law enforcement to dispatch police officers to the property, and even provide them with a photo or video in real time to track down the suspect. Some of our client’s CCTV cameras are equipped with voice response features, allowing Centralized Vision technicians to warn a suspect they are being watched on video and deter a crime from being committed.

Although Christmas shoppers can take precautions to prevent their automobile from being stolen at Phoenix shopping centers, it is always a good idea for malls to invest in additional resources to make their customers feel safe during the holiday season.

Tom Vigilante, Jr. is President & Founder of Centralized Vision, which has offices in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver. For more information on real-time video verification services or GPS monitoring, go to centralizedvision.com or call 855-888-8094.

Well Maintained Video Cameras Can Prevent Costly Obstructions

By Tom Vigilante, Jr.

Living in Phoenix during the summer, one might think the only weather element you have to deal with are the hot temperatures. And although those of us that live in the desert still maintain it’s a dry heat, we also have to routinely deal with large-scale dust storms between May and September each year.

More commonly known as haboobs, these massive dust storms sweep through the entire city, causing low visibility for drivers on the roadways and a flurry of news coverage from local television stations. They also leave layers of dirt transfixed on homes, businesses and parked vehicles.

Haboobs also cause problems for us in the video verification services industry because layers of dirt can block a camera’s view while monitoring a company’s property and assets. Light rain mixed with dust turns into dirt spots on the camera lens, causing a nuisance while trying to accurately identify objects on video. Our company, Centralized Vision, provides pro-active protection of property and assets for businesses using remote-camera monitoring with real-time response options. Any obstruction for video cameras we are monitoring could be the difference in preventing a crime or being able to apprehend a perpetrator.

Because Centralized Vision technicians are constantly monitoring numerous video cameras 24 hours a day, we can always alert our clients if there are obstacles in preventing us from protecting their assets.

Below are a few suggestions on how to maintain video cameras in order to provide optimum viewing:

  • Installation: When installing video surveillance cameras, it is imperative to make sure they are directed properly so they cover a full range of the property. Blind spots in camera coverage could allow thieves to escape without having video footage or a photo image to forward to law enforcement authorities.
  • Landscaping: Each month, it is a good idea to make sure bushes and trees are not blocking each camera’s view. High winds and storms can cause branches to fall and constant rain may cause vegetation to grow rapidly, standing in the way of a camera’s view. Landscapers can also hinder proper viewing if they use blowers to clean pathways, causing dust or dirt to collect on the lenses of video cameras.
  • Wiring: Periodically, it is essential to make sure wiring for each camera is not exposed or in danger of being ruined by moisture, animals or insects. Not keeping an eye on this may cause a loss of power to the camera or interrupted viewing because of a short in the wire.
  • Focus: Having a blurred image or video footage makes it more difficult for law enforcement officials to track down criminals. Wind, moisture or various movements can cause a camera to be out of focus.
  • Lighting: Make sure video cameras are not pointing into direct sunlight at certain points of the day to cause a disturbance in coverage. It is also essential to make sure external lighting sources are working so that maximum video surveillance can be maintained at night or in dark settings.

Having a modern video surveillance system along with 24/7 monitoring from Centralized Vision is a great investment to protect a company’s assets and to minimize financial loss. But just like every other investment, periodic maintenance is key to achieving the maximum results.

Tom Vigilante, Jr. is President & Founder at Centralized Vision. For more information on real-time video verification services or GPS monitoring, go to centralizedvision.com or call 855-888-8094.

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