Know Your Customer – and Know the Criminals
Here’s how a criminal database and license plate recognition make this supermarket’s business safer – and life’s easier.
About the client
PAK'nSAVE is a discount food warehouse chain in New Zealand, owned by the Foodstuffs cooperative. Founded in 1985, PAK'nSAVE was the last of the three major New Zealand supermarket chains to be founded. Currently, nearly 60 PAK'nSAVE stores operate across the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Innovate – Then Innovate Some More
PAK’nSAVE, the supermarket chain in New Zealand leaves nothing to chance when it is about security. Besides regular CCTV technology, the store has been a long-term user of Auror, a world-class crime intelligence platform that lets them report all crime events including the capture of vehicles of interest.
This solution was effective at allowing them to report, solve and prevent crime in their store and provided an opportunity to leverage additional technology. However, previously the store’s security manager, Roberta, needed to spend her time watching the CCTV system constantly, relying on her memory of license plates and faces.
So PAK’nSAVE asked…
How could we use the data in the Auror platform to know when an offender had entered the site? What if that process could be automated? How could we save time and make our business safer and life easier?
Introducing License Plate Recognition
It became clear that if the license plates of incoming vehicles were recognized automatically – and cross-checked with the platform – the store could be instantly alerted when a vehicle of interest had entered the car park.
Good solutions need good collaboration – so our local partner Image Analytics Pacific teamed up with IQ Security and Auror. By implementing our easy-to-use license plate recognition software, Carmen® GO (now integrated with Auror), they delivered a complete solution providing real-time alerts of all known vehicles entering the car park.
The New, Automated Process
When a vehicle drives into the store parking area, it gets captured by a camera. The image, containing the license plate information is then transferred to the ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition software that extracts the alphanumeric license plate data. This data is cross-checked with the Auror platform – without the need to manually enter any characters. If the number plate is flagged in the database (the vehicle had an incident in the past or it is a stolen vehicle), the system is triggered automatically and sends a real-time notification (SMS or push notification) to the allocated team.
What does it mean in practice? A clear benefit – the security team now has an instant understanding of anyone entering the store that matches the database – resulting in significant crime reduction.
Quick ROI and Impressive Results
It has only been a few months since the implementation and the system is already providing significant value to the business through a reduction in crime. PAK’nSAVE minimized its loss and has live information on any vehicle that enters the store parking area. Some numbers:
- Within 3 days of going live, the store had 5 known vehicles and 1 stolen vehicle enter the store.
- 90% of their losses (due to criminal activity) are now prevented – compared to earlier months.
Roberta could only say good things about the new system. She mentioned that the plate reading function has greatly helped her work – not only for efficiently monitoring the safety of her store but it also gives her and her family peace of mind. She gets real-time security alerts and always knows the offender’s record of previous crimes – so she knows in advance what to expect. If it is about a serious crime, she assembles her team or calls for police backup.
Further Usage of License Plate Recognition
This technology, often referred to as ALPR or ANPR – meaning the same: a software that recognizes license plates – offers several benefits in various environments. As we learned, ANPR can help reduce losses and decrease criminal activity. ANPR can also make business processes easier and more convenient, as Roberta experienced.
To mention another example from New Zealand, a well-known gas station uses the same technology for offering automated payment based on the vehicles’ license plates – while some other gas stations implemented efficient drive-off prevention solutions, also using the number plate data for identification.
There are many more areas where ANPR transforms security and business – you can get familiar with our worldwide projects by browsing our case studies.