Shopping malls should consider integrated security solutions
Shopping malls face many safety and security challenges, including access control, fire and customer injuries. An integrated management system that encompasses video surveillance, intrusion detection or even elements like HVAC and elevator control could be the best solution for managing these risks.
Safety and security concerns that malls have to deal with included fire protection, trips/slips and access control, said Jeremey Sea, Senior Manager of Commercial Marketing for APAC at Sensormatic Solutions, which is part of Johnson Controls.
While fire safety is a fundamental mandate, trip and slip incidents are the most frequent type of liability claim. “(Trip and slip incidents) can result in worker and customer compensation claims costing mall operators millions of dollars every year,” Sea said.
Enforcing access control is another key challenge for mall operators. Parking lots can be a haven for loitering, and multiple entry and exit points mean it is critical that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive areas.
Shoplifting and employee theft were also a source of losses for retailers, Sea said. The rise of organized criminals targeting high-value merchandise, and employees making multiple returns using the same receipts without a customer’s presence are recurrent issues.
Facing multiple security risks and threats, Sea suggested malls use “an integrated approach that combines the multi-faced aspects of running a mall.” Sensormatic Solutions, for example, offers fire protection, video surveillance, location-based security and intrusion detection products.
“An integrated fire alarm system allows the monitoring of fire detectors from a centralized location, and an integrated intercom system is critical for quick broadcasting of critical announcements,” Sea explained.
“Video surveillance, especially high-quality recording cameras, is an essential deterrent,” Sea said. It could be used to monitor malls for suspicious activities, or be linked to points of sale to provide video evidence and clear documentation of events, he added.
An effective CCTV monitoring system also provided store employees with peace of mind in instances of customer abuse, Sea said, adding cameras were useful for surveying the premises for obstacles, spilled liquids and other hazards. The advanced video search functionality can validate trip/slip claims, thus greatly reducing insurance claims.
An integrated system of video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection can help to secure confidential areas such as warehouses, loading bays and storage rooms. Any unauthorized access attempts will trigger an alarm as well as camera recording. The video will be displayed live on the access control system, which in turn enables security personnel to respond in a timely manner.
“Besides fire and security, other issues such as HVAC and lift controls are also important elements to ensure the smooth running of malls,” Sea said, adding that a physical security information management (PSIM) system could help in this regard.
“By integrating myriad systems such as access control, video surveillance, intrusion, sensors, fire alarm, analytics, networks and other building management systems, the PSIM technology offers mall operators greater control and improve situation awareness,” Sea explained.
Cloud surveillance solutions were on the rise, Sea said, with solutions providers integrating cybersecurity and data privacy with cloud-based storage. “The technology is simple to install, easy to manage and offers end-to-end security,” Sea noted.
This article was first published on ASMag.