Although a largely under-reported crime, vandalism incidents present a significant burden to businesses and organizations. The Urban Institute reports that vandalism is not only difficult to prevent, but because it is difficult to catch perpetrators in the act, it too often incurs labor and repair costs for victims. And, while many incidents are considered trivial “broken window” offenses, the unfortunate truth is that vandalism crimes often lead to more devastating and serious crimes.
In December 2022, thousands of citizens in Moore County, North Carolina, experienced this when they were left without power after attackers vandalized electrical substations. As reported by the Carolina Journal, the outages affected numerous businesses, schools, and homes, taking four full days for power to be restored across the county. This example serves as a reminder that vandalism can be a significant offense, and local businesses and law enforcement must be vigilant and take preventative measures to protect people and property. In many cases, technology can help mitigate the effects of vandalism and increase situational awareness to improve early detection and asset protection.
Combating Vandalism with Intelligent Technology
Video analytics—an artificial intelligence-based solution for data-driven decision making—transforms video surveillance into a business intelligence source, making it searchable based on filters, actionable through alerting, and quantifiable for decision making. The solution detects and extracts objects in video, and then identifies, classifies, and indexes each object to enable video content-based search, alerting, and data visualization. When it comes to vandalism, this powerful tool drives timely and impactful security decision-making for protecting and preserving property, accelerates post-event investigations, and supports agile response to suspicious behavior and developing situations.
Improving Asset Protection
In today’s data-driven world, long-term trend analysis is critical for business strategy and success—and this is no different for asset protection and on-site security. By enabling organizations to visualize their video as data, video analytics empowers businesses to make sense of traffic trends and uncover patterns to drive intelligent decision-making and planning, including strategies to mitigate vandalism threats in the short- and long-term. For example, if a retailer leverages video analytics to identify consistent trends of heightened vandalism during afterschool hours, management can make the decision to increase security coverage during peak times to deter the vandals from acting. Video analytics can also help a store understand how perpetrators interact with a space before and after the crime and take measures to disrupt the criminal patterns. Data visualization helps retailers understand vulnerabilities, protect assets, and make intelligent decisions based on realities on the ground.
Accelerating Incident Investigation
When it comes to vandalism prevention and asset protection, prevention is most certainly the goal. But the reality is that incidents do occur, and security teams need to be empowered to address each situation with speed and accuracy. Integrating a video analytics solution into your asset protection strategy increases understanding of security and safety incidents by accelerating post-event video review for known leads with filtered search capabilities. Better investigation resources help organizations and business alike decrease liability and accelerate criminal investigations with speed, accuracy, and insight, while simultaneously boosting intelligence about criminal patterns so they can respond smarter the next time around.
For example, graffiti is a common form of vandalism that affects many commercial and retail properties, but by the time a business discovers the incident, the suspect is usually long gone, meaning surveillance footage must be leveraged for evidence. By integrating video analytics, security teams can search video to quickly identify people and items of interest throughout the video evidence. In a parking lot, for example, video analytics can be applied to associate the suspect with a vehicle, capture the license plate information, and advance the investigation by providing this evidence to law enforcement.
Proactive Vandalism Prevention
Understanding trends can also help businesses and organizations increase their situational awareness and proactively prevent vandalism in the moment. For instance, with video analytics, security teams can configure alerting logic to notify operators of pre-defined suspicious behaviors, such as activity in staff-only area so that security can quickly identify if unrecognized persons are present in restricted spaces. Upon receiving the alert, an action plan can be determined to resolve the incident quickly and safely. Businesses can also set up dwell alerts to inform them when individuals are loitering in an area. In this case, security could monitor the area more closely to rule out intent to deface an advertisement or other signage. Video analytics promote rapid response to incidents by notifying the appropriate security stakeholders while the event is unfolding.
In addition, because security personnel can’t realistically monitor every camera, having real-time alerts to draw attention to the most critical activity elevates situational awareness to enable proactive response to suspicious activity. Small things like being notified when a light turns on after hours or—where authorized—a known offender is recognized through a face matching watchlist, create significant impact in the operational capacity of security teams and in the overall goal of effective vandalism prevention and asset protection.
Staying a Step Ahead
Vandalism is a serious problem for businesses, causing significant property damage and disruption. Implementing AI-powered video analytics can help combat the threat by uncovering patterns to inform security-based decisions, accelerating incident investigations, and proactively preventing vandalism through increased situational awareness and real-time response. With video analytics on their side, organizations and businesses can be vigilant in protecting their property and staying one step ahead of potential threats.
Liam Galin joined BriefCam as CEO to take charge of the company’s growth strategy and maintain its position as a video analytics market leader and innovator. Bringing over 20 years of leadership experience at international technology companies in various market segments, Liam is passionate about building connections between the market, technology, and people, in constant pursuit of innovation and new ways of approaching everyday challenges. Before joining BriefCam, Galin served as founder and CEO of Whatify and Chairman and CEO of Flash Networks, which was acquired by Volaris Group. He holds M.Sc. and B.Sc. Electrical Engineering from Tel Aviv University.