How a Smarter Security Camera Set-Up Can Solve Petrol Stations’ Theft Problem

Petrol stations run a higher risk of robbery than most other businesses. The fact that they are open late at night and often only staffed by a single employee makes them an easy target for thieves. Even in broad daylight, drive-offs continue to be a problem that costs petrol stations millions of dollars every year.

Many petrol station owners use security cameras to counteract these risks. A video security system is an imperative addition to any business if the business owner hopes to prevent substantial losses from theft and protect their employees from harm. Whether it deters a would-be-thief by its presence alone or helps in identifying the perpetrator after the fact, a camera system is the eye-in-the-sky that keeps vulnerable establishments such as petrol stations safe.

Protecting Your Business
Security camera technology is constantly advancing, so it’s crucial for petrol station owners to periodically reassess and upgrade their security systems. Cameras that are in poor condition or set up incorrectly will do no one any good. Here are some of the most effective ways to use security cameras to prevent theft and guarantee employee and customer safety:

Indoor or Outdoor?
Nearly all petrol stations can benefit from security cameras both inside the shop and outside near the petrol pumps. Not all cameras are created alike though, so it’s important to pay attention to which kind of camera you are using for each location. Cameras that are designed to be used indoors are often not durable enough to withstand the elements and should not be used outdoors. Also, consider each camera’s compatibility with the typical light level in the area where it is installed; some indoor cameras aren’t designed to automatically adapt to different light levels the way most outdoor cameras are.

Camera Positioning
The most significant determining factor in a camera system’s success is the way the cameras are positioned. It goes without saying that even a state-of-the-art camera won’t catch any petrol thieves if it’s pointed in the wrong direction. The highest-priority areas should be the registers, the front door, and the petrol pumps.

Inside the shop, cameras should be placed in locations with a clear view of the front of the store, including the registers and the front door. Position the cameras at an angle and distance that allows for a clear view of anyone standing at the counter or using the door. This way, the cameras can be used to quickly and accurately identify anyone who attempts an armed robbery or just tries to sneak an item out the front door without paying. It’s also a good idea to set up additional cameras where they can monitor any back doors or easily-accessible windows.

Outside, security cameras should be positioned directly above the petrol pumps to identify drive-off offenders. Placing a camera at every pump provides a clear view of the individual, their car, and their license plate number. Some cameras are equipped with ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) technology, which can read and automatically check a license plate number against database records. Installing this type of camera above each petrol pump allows the owner to immediately identify the culprit and alert the police.

Help the Cameras Help You
Security cameras are an essential part of petrol station loss prevention, but their effectiveness relies on the operator’s vigilance as well. Keep all areas inside and outside well lit, and post signs that make it clear there are cameras watching at all times. Usually, just the knowledge that they are on camera is enough to make would-be-robbers think twice. Ideally, a security camera system should be preventing more theft than it’s catching.

Camera Security
The cameras may be there to keep the business safe, but petrol station owners need to take some precautionary steps to keep their cameras safe as well. In particular, it’s important to protect cables that could be cut in order to disable the cameras. During installation, all cables should either be well hidden or provided a sturdy protective casing to make them as difficult as possible for determined individuals to access and tamper with.

There are two possible types of video security systems: NVR, or Network Video Recorder, and DVR, or Digital Video Recorder. Both systems will work to deter thieves, but there are some different advantages and disadvantages to each.

DVR Systems
DVR systems use analogue cameras to record and store security footage on a recorder. These systems are simple to operate, but they don’t record audio and typically offer lower image quality than NVR systems. However, they can still be used effectively for many security purposes, such as identifying a drive-off offender’s license plate number, for example. Plus, DVR systems are continuously improving in quality.

NVR Systems
NVR systems employ a newer technology that uses IP cameras to record and store footage on a network. The primary advantage of an NVR system is that it allows the operator to manipulate the cameras and view the footage from a central, remote control station. This makes it easy to spot a crime in progress and take immediate action. NVR systems also have the potential to be fully wireless, which makes them more difficult for thieves to disable.

Addressing The Petrol Problem
Petrol theft may be on the rise, but petrol station owners can combat the problem by making smart use of the security camera systems available. Maintaining up-to-date video security is a vital part of employee safety and loss prevention efforts that should not be neglected. It’s well worth the investment for any business owner to optimize their camera system and guarantee the safety of their business.

If you need any help and advice choosing the right security camera system for your site, feel free to reach out to us for help.

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