ACCESS Taskforce Pilot Results Point to Crime Reduction in Both Test Cities

This past spring, we ran a feature story on the Alliance of Companies and Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) Taskforce, a collaborative initiative between LiveView Technologies (LVT), local government, law enforcement, and retailers to both deter retail crime and gather the evidence necessary to investigate and prosecute it. Today, LVT released the results of the six-month effort, which began last November and concluded in May.

The taskforce deployed forty-nine LVT mobile surveillance units across two test cities—seventeen in Opelika, Alabama, and thirty-two in Paducah, Kentucky—in major shopping centers and locations with a higher crime rate. A total of fifteen retail companies participated, twelve with a location in Opelika and fourteen in Paducah. The taskforce chose these two locations because they have many retailers with no mobile units, serve as major retail hubs for their surrounding regions, and sit near several major highways. Participating retailers included The Home Depot, Walmart, Advance Auto Parts, Lowe’s, and Walgreens.

In Opelika, shoplifting and disorderly conduct were the two most common incidents before the LVT units arrived. Shoplifting incidents in that city decreased by 40 percent, while disorderly conduct dropped by 31 percent. In Paducah, common incidents of weapons law violations, burglary, and trespassing decreased post-LVT unit placement by 80 percent, 53.5 percent, and 45 percent, respectively. That city also experienced a 50 percent reduction in robberies. Opelika experienced a 10 percent reduction in overall crime, and Paducah a 13 percent reduction.

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Matt Kelley

“When we look at the success of our units, we’re hoping to deter crime before it even happens,” said Matt Kelley, head of retail go-to-market at LVT. “We assist the police daily in the apprehension and prosecution of criminals, but we want to truly stop the crime from happening. An LVT unit can be the difference in getting people home safely. That’s true success.”

To analyze fluctuations in crime rates pre- and post-placement of the LVT units, the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) undertook an independent analysis of the initiative based on a year’s worth of service call data from the police departments in both cities. The LPRC tallied the incident numbers within uniform grid cells for both cities and used general linear regression models to identify statistically significant differences for specific incidents across locations with and without LVT units. The organization then used spatial statistical tests to probe changes in incident distribution across both cities over time.

LVT Units Promote Greater Feelings of Safety and Security

When the ACCESS Taskforce began wrapping up in May, the LPRC disseminated a survey to gauge perceptions of the LVT units, what law enforcement and retailers gained from them, and how the units affected crime, disorder, and collaboration between law enforcement and retailers. The survey also included several questions about respondents’ perceptions of crime and disorder in their cities and in America overall, plus a combination of closed-ended and open-ended questions. In total, 407 community members, retail employees, retail managers, loss prevention leaders, and law enforcement officers and leadership in Opelika and Paducah gave valid responses. Highlights of the survey include:

  • 50 percent of all respondents reported that they would feel safer shopping at stores with the units than those without; 80 percent of retail respondents and community members reported that they would feel safer shopping at stores with the units at night.
  • 60 percent of retail managers and LP leaders reported that they would prefer to park close to the units during the day; just over 75 percent of retail employees said the same.
  • Nearly 70 percent of retail managers and LP leaders and nearly 80 percent of retail employees said they would prefer their company to continue using LVT units at their stores.
  • About 65 percent of retailers reported that collaboration had improved since the taskforce began; over 80 percent of respondents who believed collaboration had improved also agreed that it had reduced crime.
  • Approximately 45 percent of law enforcement respondents agreed that the units make it possible to quickly share evidence, while nearly 60 percent of retail leaders and 70 percent of retail employees agreed.
  • Almost 75 percent of law enforcement respondents agreed that the units save retailers and law enforcement time investigating retail crimes, while 60-70 percent of the retail respondents agreed.
  • Between 60 percent and approximately 75 percent of respondents in each group believed that the community had become safer since the taskforce began.

The survey also unearthed some positive and negative sentiments on the LVT units from all respondents:

  • Those who said the units improved collaboration generally focused on how they provided additional evidence; for example, one respondent wrote that it is “easier to get information and collaborate to catch a suspect,” while another noted that LVT “provides valid evidence to law enforcement.”
  • Another shared that the taskforce “Facilitated more frequent and effective communication between law enforcement and retailers.”
  • Some of the respondents—including law enforcement and retailers—focused on the fact that they did not have access to the system. One law enforcement respondent said there was a serious crime, but his department had difficulty obtaining the video. LVT had previously shared that law enforcement doesn’t have direct access to the video footage but must get it from the company itself or individual retailers, who ultimately own it and are not bound to share it.
  • A law enforcement respondent believed the LVT Units “increased community engagement” because it allowed them to “discuss retail crimes.”

What’s Next for the Taskforce?

The LPRC noted at the end of its study that additional areas of questioning merit further research. Looking at what’s next for the taskforce, LVT’s Kelley said “With the recent success of the ACCESS Taskforce, we are already in discussion for the next iteration. We are currently evaluating larger cities who can partner with us in a similar way to Paducah and Opelika.”

For a full copy of the study, or if you’re interested in learning more about the ACCESS Taskforce, visit

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