Ask A Surveillance Operator

In the next week or so, we will be interviewing a surveillance operator who used to work in the loss prevention department of a big box store. We'd liked to know what questions you have for operators. Post questions here that you think we should include in the interview.

  • # of "purposeful" slip and fall claims / workplace "accidents" that were handled differently thanks to the surveillance cameras.
  • How much knowledge of the system did you have prior to starting?
    • -- How long did it take to learn / get acquainted with the system?
  • Were you considered the "IT dept" by coworkers and faculty, or was there an IT dept. there to handle tech problems?

1. How many channels did you playback together simultanously on a typical investigation session?

2. Did you use smart search/pixel search often to find footage? Did it save you a lot of time?

Great questions so far. Keep 'em coming!

  • To what extent did camera positions influence merchandise/showfloor layout?
  • Do showfloor camera positions change often?
  • Did you ever prosecute with video evidence?
  • Is video surveillance integrated with other systems, like POS or electronic article surveillance (EAS)?

How much of your input sought by the decision makers?

How difficult or easy is it to train a new LP agent in system operation, especially keeping continuous view of a suspected shoplifter? Are there systems that are easier to train for than others?

Ari, good questions. I'm not sure how much experience the operator has on other systems outside of whatever this store was using at their locations in the region but I will ask.

What was the typical procedure for investigating an incident and how did the surveillance system help with that investigation?

Did the used surveilance system have any more or less "advanced" functions and features to help the operator to find what is of interest as fast and easily as possible and did those features support the operator during a typical investigation? Or is it still a lot of slow and manual work?

What percentage of shrinkage would they attribute to employee theft vs shoplifters?

What kind of employee and/or ORC scams have they seen, and did they use surveillance to identify/stop them?

To what extent are retail analytics used?

How long during an average 8 hour weekend day are you actually watching live video vs walking the store or doing investigations?

Great questions. That's about 17 questions. Let's get three more and make it 20 and then I'll work on getting your answers.

My concerns is on the quality of these Live View Systems.

How did you keep focused on the task of surveillance?

How often were the monitors ignored and the operators were involved in other tasks?

What methods were tried to measure operator efficacy and improve it?