Saturday, November 20, 2010

Goodwill Industries International, the nation’s leading non-profit workforce organization, is on a very noble mission – inspire hope and self-confidence, and help people from all backgrounds and walks of life to feel successful, valuable and dignified. Through its workforce development services, donation centers and retail stores, Goodwill eliminates those barriers to opportunity so that people in need can reach their fullest potential.
However, down in South Carolina, the local chapter was increasingly running up against a major barrier to opportunity of their own – rampant theft at Goodwill Donation Centers. At the 21 retail stores managed by Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina , after hours thefts at donation centers had begun to take their toll, growing to approximately 30% and costing thousands of dollars per year. In addition, safety concerns and lower morale was becoming evident among the 1,700 member district workforce. Goodwill Industries had an analog video surveillance solution in place, but the cameras were very limited in their capabilities and effectiveness. Brad Kyzer, Loss Prevention Specialist for Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina, sought out a better security camera solution to put a halt to the current trend that was impacting their service so severely.
“With our analog cameras, images were blurry and details were unclear,” said Kyzer. “This lack of clarity prevented us from providing prosecutable evidence to local authorities in many cases. We were becoming a haven for these thieves who were essentially getting away with stealing our donations.”
His criteria was straightforward – the best image quality at the best price, enabling Goodwill Industries to put a real deterrent in place. That’s when ComSurv’s high definition security camera solution first came to Mr. Kyzer’s attention.
Finding the ROI
Jose Noy, staff at security installer Comsurv head quartered in Charleston, S.C., was the one to introduce Mobotix high definition surveillance concept to Kyzer. Noy had worked with Goodwill stores in the past, so he was aware of the unique challenges associated with securing retail stores and donation centers of the nation’s leading non-profit workforce centers. Rather than pushing a complicated, component-heavy surveillance system, Noy knew that Mobotix’s decentralized approach to IP network video security was the perfect fit.
“There was no question that Goodwill needed to move beyond analog surveillance,” said Noy. “However, we wanted Goodwill to avoid the struggle that many users face in harnessing the full capability of their IP video security systems, namely high-resolution imagery. By implementing a decentralized network camera solution, Goodwill would be able to record, analyze and store megapixel video at a fraction of the bandwidth required from competing high-resolution IP video products. At the end of the day, there was no real question that ComSurv had the right solution for Goodwill.”
Noy recommended their High Definition M24 Allround camera as it delivers exceptional image quality for both indoor and outdoor surveillance applications. The weather-resistant camera allows users to zero in on portions of a scene without losing image quality by provides digital pan/tilt/zoom functionality for its field of view. On-camera compression capabilities along with built-in MicroSD slot allow Goodwill and other users to store high-quality video images directly on the device, perfect to conserve network bandwidth and reduce cost. The camera also provides two-way audio support with a built-in microphone and speaker.
Kyzer immediately liked what he was seeing. “The quality and clarity of the megapixel images are amazing, the HD M24 cameras give us the ability to zoom in on details and capture crisp images and video for evidence. The two-way audio allows us to talk live to suspects and give them a warning and stop the theft while it is occurring.”
After an initial two-week trial period at two donation centers, Kyzer and Network Manager David Smith proposed to the Executive Management Team for a full replacement of security cameras at 21 retail store donation sites in the Lower South Carolina district. To date, all stores have been updated. At each location, one HD M24 camera replaced 2-4 analog devices. In addition, the use of the MxPEG video codec has cut the time required to review video in half and significantly reduced the load on Goodwill’s network infrastructure – all factoring in to the superior cost-effectiveness of the ComSurv solution.
Immediate Results
Over the course of the previous year there was a rash of donation thefts at various Goodwill locations throughout the Lower South Carolina district only resulted in six arrests. Within the first few weeks after installing the High Definition cameras across the 10 locations, Goodwill began to notice a sudden slow down in thefts to what Kyzer attributes as “word spreading throughout the criminal community.” Only one month after installing the first cameras there were two theft attempts and Kyzer’s team was able to provide clear, crisp footage from the newly installed HD M24 cameras to local authorities that lead to the immediate arrest of four individuals. Better yet, police were able to recoup more than $1,100 in donations.
Kyzer and the team at Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina soon found themselves at the forefront of security technology during national meetings with Goodwill Industries security division. Peers from across the Goodwill network were stunned by the immediate results as well as the low cost for implementation, making the Lower South Carolina district a model for employing innovative security technology solutions.
“Our public entrusts Goodwill with its charitable contributions to further the mission of Goodwill,” said Robert Smith, Goodwill president & CEO. “In order to be good stewards of the goods the public entrusts Goodwill with, we must make sure that we do everything we can to ensure the goods are being safeguarded and to ensure we support the mission outreach of Goodwill services. To that extent, we must provide our Loss Prevention Staff with the tools necessary to protect the assets entrusted to Goodwill. To that end, Goodwill has chosen the best technology and technology partners to accomplish this goal.”


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