Blog: How the pandemic is challenging business owners’ security needs
Let’s say your daughter calls asking if you have any surgical face masks. It’s during the pandemic and, as luck would have it, you do. So, you send them to her thinking, like most people, she needs them for safety reasons. Now imagine discovering (days later) that she was actually asking for her boyfriend—so he could use them to blend in with other customers to rob convenience stores. That’s what William Rosario Lopez asked his girlfriend to do in March of 2020 before going on an eight-day crime spree with his identity partially concealed behind a face mask. And he isn’t the only one. Criminals across The United States have been using face masks to commit crimes so law enforcement agents can’t identify them via video surveillance.
So, what are business owners and operators supposed to do to keep their premises, staff, merchandise, and customers safe during a challenging time? This blog covers some actions you may want to consider. To mask or not to mask? That is the question.
Some business owners are deciding to ban people from wearing masks in their stores. For example, Fraser Ross, the owner of L.A.’s renowned upmarket department store chain Kitson, decided to ban masks in his flagship location to deter crime. Ross is well known for his divisive social media posts and storefront displays, but he insists that the ban is simply about protecting his business. “The masks have nothing to do with politics; it’s to protect the assets,” Ross said. “I’m protecting my employees and our assets.” And, while it’s an option for any business owner to ban masks (at least while there are no government imposed mandatory mask laws), it’s a risky choice. According to an article by Qualtrics, there has been a significant uptick in customers choosing brands based on their strong safety measures—requiring masks, not banning them. In fact, over 20% of customers say they have stopped shopping with a brand because its’ health and safety measures weren’t good enough. Embrace AI + video surveillance
Lopez might have scraped his face mask-donning convenient store robbery plans if he’d known this: if any of the stores he robbed had, had AI-led facial recognition video surveillance he would have had a problem. That’s because he couldn’t use the mask to cover his eyeballs, the key to facial recognition’s Identification system. Already on the rise before the pandemic, businesses are now turning to video surveillance with AI tech for more advanced capabilities. For example, kiosks are now available with facial recognition and temperature gauges. That way, in addition to catching criminals, business owners can double down on their safety measures by tracking customers’ temperatures. And when a customer is running a fever, they can take further measures to see if the person should be asked to leave. With this level of monitoring, just imagine how loyal those safety-first customers will be. Go beyond video surveillance. Adding kiosks to your storefront can have its drawbacks—it’s expensive and time consuming to install and maintain them. And, let’s face it, sometimes you just need to have a human response option.
Secyre, with an app that affordably connects business owners and operators with security guards, offers a new mindset to security solutions. In addition to video surveillance, you can use the app to respond in real time while events are happening.
Invest in basic safety plans Don’t have any wiggle room in your bottom line? Loomis has identified “easy” ways to increase the security of your business without having to invest any capital. From developing and fine tuning a security plan to providing employee training, there are some very basic ways you can increase the security of your business that can be very effective.
New times call for new approaches No one could have guessed just how much the pandemic would change the world. So many different aspects of human life have been altered, from seemingly small things like how we get our groceries and watch TV to larger things like starting a new career. And change has certainly affected the security industry and the businesses that rely on it.
Crime, too, has become more advanced with cyber threats increasing a jaw dropping 81% since the pandemic began. Fortunately, tech was already in the works for businesses to adopt to combat criminal activity. And that includes tech to increase on-premise security. If your business has the capital to invest in kiosks and other new tech, it will be a great investment to address current threats and to handle future disruptions. And affordable new tech like Secyre’s app may also be just what you need for a complete security solution. Ready to Secyre it? Find out more.