How Can We Help The Salvation Army Deal With Two Security / Operational Problems?

For those that don't know them they are a church based organisation which runs among other things Charity stores where people can donate items to be sold the profits going into helping the Salvation Army with their welfare problems. They have two problems

1) People dump all sorts of rubbish outside thier shops after hours as a "donation" often this is of to poor a quality to be used costing them tens of thousands in dollars per store to dispose of this legally

2) People going through the stuff left after hours and taking the good stuff before staff arrive in the morning. Sometimes if staff pick up on any of these events they are abused and threatened.

They have tried cameras but find them ineffective and often police aren't interested as they see it as a minor issue. As well they don't want to be seen as picking on people as this would result in negative publicity for them.

Wondering if anyone has come across a solution that may solve these problems


Michael -

At VideoIQ we had a number of Goodwill stores as customers that used video analytics along with remote live monitoring for this exact problem.

You can also try an automated/pre-recorded message, though many times that quickly becomes ineffective when people realize there is no threat behind it.

The basic idea is that you have a camera setup to monitor the area around the donation drop-off, and send an alert to a remote monitoring center. The monitoring center will do a live audio talk-down, telling the person the store is closed, they need to leave, etc. The live audio tends to be very effective because people know they are being watched, it's not just a basic "get lost" message. If it's an extreme problem you can also add a PTZ that the remote operator can use to get license plate details.

If the person does not leave just from the audio talk-down, local police are called. Response times are generally better than average, because the police dispatcher is being told by the remote monitoring center that the crime is in-progress, they can also give details on how many people are there, etc.

From an analytics standpoint, this is a fairly basic problem. You may have some problems with stray animals, but for the most part there should be multiple vendors that could tackle this.

For the remote monitoring, something like this is probably going to cost the customer $150-$250/mo. per location (based on rates in the US). It will mostly be dependent on how many alarms are generated overall, so reducing false alarms is important as it will cut costs down.

I would suggest finding a monitoring company first, and then asking them what products they prefer to monitor vs. buying a camera or analytics package and then trying to find someone who can monitor that device.

Glean from this (or this) what you can. Good luck.

How about a change in business hours to accommodate late drop offs, a secure bin to have late drop offs accepted, where they cannot be pilfered, or placing a really large dumpster where people normally dump stuff at night.