Sleepy Surrey shop heist shows value of strong video surveillance

If all the shops had subscribed to Jabbakam there would be much more evidence

A couple of real life incidents have brought home to us the real game-changing transformation that the introduction of community based TV monitoring can provide. The trigger event was the burglary of a newsagent’s premises right in the heart of a sleepy Surrey village. The police would have stood an outside chance of catching the culprits if inexpensive IP based surveillance cameras had been involved.

Given that the Surrey Police have said that the chances of exactly the same crime being committed over and over again until the culprits are finally caught, perhaps our attention should be drawn to preventing another burglary from a shop close to the newsagent’s premises, which is situated right in the heart of a quiet Surrey village.

What actually happened was that two young men drove up in a relatively modern sporty saloon car late at night. The lads leapt out, and – carrying a crowbar – smashed their way into the newsagent’s premises. Once inside, the pair crowbarred the cigarette display off the wall and poured the shelves’ contents into waiting bags. For good measure, the pair also used the crowbar to open the till which contained a relatively small amount of money to act as a float for the next day’s business.

Now the shop’s owner (and we can’t identify him because none of this has gone to court yet), is relatively experienced and had gone to the trouble of installing four cameras for a CCTV installation. The sad fact is that these cameras failed to pick up sufficient leads for the police to work on. For example, the getaway car was indeed parked at the rear of the premises and was caught on TV. But its number plate was not clearly visible. Sadly, anyone who frequents that shop can view the TV monitor and see that there is little chance that a car’s licence plate will show up on this system when parked in that position.

After the theft, the police took away the shop’s hard disk in the vain hope that the grainy pictures of the criminals which it holds can be digitally enhanced to provide some kind of photo fit.

The second step for the police was to make inquires around neighbouring High Street premises with a view to finding more real evidence. For example, it is hoped that the footage from a local bank might actually provide a vehicle registration number. Better still, the young thieves had hoods pulled up over their heads and it is hoped that the bank’s cameras might have managed to get a full facial image of one of the crooks. The newsagent’s equipment didn’t quite manage that.

We firmly believe that if all the shopkeepers in the High Street had banded together with community TV monitoring system, the police would much more clues to work on. For example, at least one community camera should have picked up on a full or partial vehicle registration number. Furthermore, one camera in the vicinity should have obtained a decent picture of one culprit even if he or she was wearing a tightly pulled up hoodie.

The sad thing is that if all of the businesses on that particular High Street had signed up to an IP based surveillance system such as Jabbakam then there would have been plenty of video footage for the Police to work on. Plus, there would be no need for the hard disk to have been removed – potentially leaving the shop vulnerable to a second attack. Moreover, the likely rise in insurance premiums for the shops in that area would have surely have been less than the cost for all of them to join Jabbakam in the first place.