As violent retail robberies go, it was fairly typical. Three individuals entered a Memphis, Tennessee, pawn shop in June and robbed it, making off with cash, jewelry, and a firearm. The heist resulted in a damaged store, traumatized employees and a loss of over $34,000. And, typically, the tale ends there—only to happen all over again when they hit their next retailer.
More and more often, however, these stories are getting a positive plot twist. Along with their stolen goods, the pawn shop robbers unknowingly stole several 3SI GPS trackers. Immediately, the trackers activated, sending real-time location data into the local police department and providing patrol officers with exact location information. After a short pursuit, two of the robbers were safely taken into custody and a full recovery was made.
Today’s GPS technology is making these types of criminal apprehensions possible, which translates into the increased recovery of stolen goods, safer communities, and the busting up of retail crime rings. For LP, it’s an upgrade to strategies from years’ past.
“GPS takes the idea of Retail security to the next level in terms of being able to catch criminals and get them off the street,” explains Brandon Cromer, VP of Engineering and Manufacturing at 3SI Security Systems. The company began as the leading provider of dye and ink staining security solutions for the Financial industry, later transitioning its focus to the ongoing development of GPS tracking.
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This detour has opened new markets for 3SI, with the company finding its sweet spot in the Retail space over the last 10-years. “The technology has gotten to the point where the cost and size of the components has made the solution extremely attractive to retailers looking for smart covert devices to protect their high-value assets,” said Cromer.
GPS has extended asset protection beyond the retail environment and has become an essential tool in the apprehension and even criminal prosecution of suspects. GPS is also being used to safeguard high-value infrastructure components such as cell tower batteries and the like. “At this point the applications are endless.” said Cromer.
Smarter, Smaller, Longer
GPS components have gotten smaller and continue to shrink, making the technology a good fit in a greater range of retail environments. Stores can deploy GPS tracking on diverse product offerings and can keep expensive items on the sales floor rather than behind lock and key—a must for successfully meeting the demands of today’s consumer. Smarter power systems are eliminating the need for constant charging, as algorithms help to better manage battery usage and devices take advantage of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to remove the issue of unintended activation. “The solution allows for on-display merchandise tracking without requiring oversight by employees,” said Cromer. “This allows staff to focus on customer service and selling rather than security device management.”
3SI has invested significantly to improve its positioning algorithms and software features, including simplifying the management of alerts. GPS solutions are taking full advantage of the zero-sized computing trend, in which a whole lot of brains go into a tiny package.
More brains in a smaller package permits invisible asset protection on a wider range of products. “It’s covert enough that people don’t know that it’s there when picking it up, which is important in some applications,” said Cromer. “We really try to stay on top of the current technology. We’re constantly doing everything we can to ‘size down’ and ‘performance up.’”
As a core technology, GPS continues to improve and, unlike more speculative technologies, is in no danger of being replaced. The first of the GPS 3 satellites has successfully launched, which will keep the Navstar Global Positioning System operational and promises three times better accuracy. Nothing is future-proof, but GPS technology has ‘a very long runway,’ according to Cromer, noting that one distinct advantage of next-generation GPS will be better penetration of signals deep inside buildings.
3SI takes pride in taking full advantage of technology refinements to improve its customer offerings, while ensuring customers don’t suffer the technical problems that often accompany upgrades. More than technology, however, “it’s the total package that makes us special,” said Cromer, noting 3SI’s 24/7/365 support and its deep connections with law enforcement. It is those relationships with police that facilitate law enforcement response to alerts from 3SI Trackers…to date, more than 8,500 law enforcement agencies have been trained to respond to 3SI alerts.
What’s on the horizon for 3SI? More recoveries, more arrests & convictions, safer communities and hopefully a #SaferWorld.