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Security on the forecourt

The Client:
Boxtone Crawley owns the BP Spar Crawley Avenue service station, in Crawley, Sussex. Located on a dual carriage way, it serves the busy commercial area and local community. In addition to a four lane petrol filling station, the Crawley Avenue service station offers customers a wide range of convenience goods including hot food, alcohol, groceries, drinks, snacks and magazines.

The Situation:
Like many forecourts the Crawley Avenue service station suffers from crimes such as drive offs, shop lifting and violence towards staff. Boxtone Crawley has always believed in employing security measures – with CCTV cameras to deter and detect crime. However, in 2005 the camera system at Crawley Avenue was no longer proving to be effective. Forecourt Manager Debbie Prince found it difficult to use, and she was no longer able to record images from the cameras for evidence. Boxtone contacted security firm AGE Systems, who specialise in forecourt security, to get advice about improving their security system.

The Solution:
Visiting the site, AGE’s Director Jason Gargiulo evaluated the security requirements and proposed a solution that kept costs down by re-utilising some of the existing equipment, such as the colour cameras, which were in good working order but needed repositioning to get better fields of view. However, Jason suggested replacing the old single channel digital recorder and separate multiplexer, which were causing Debbie so many operational problems. Instead, Jason recommended the Honeywell HRHD 16, a digital video recorder (DVR) with built in multiplexer that can record up to 16 cameras at the same time. He recommended it for its high quality performance, multi function and ease of use.

The Honeywell DVR was also recommended because it provides excellent picture quality from the cameras and number plates are easy to read. CCTV images can easily be transferred on to CD, USB or to a separate hard drive. When CCTV is played back on a Windows™ XP PC, Debbie can zoom in on an image to see more detailed information. Because it is easy to operate, the digital recorder is used regularly during the day. If there is an incident the cameras can be checked within seconds to get information and evidence to pass on to the police. Jason comments: “Effective security is about using the right equipment in the right way. The Crawley Avenue service station now has a more effective system that provides high quality images that can be used as evidence. The result is that staff and customers feel safer and criminals are put off. It’s important to think about what you need and then use the tools to the greatest effect. Maintaining equipment is vital too, if it stops working for any reason – your security is compromised.”

“Effective security is about using the right equipment in the right way - It’s important to think about what you need and then use the tools to the greatest effect”

The Benefits:
With the repositioning of the cameras, the service station now has much better site coverage. Cameras watch the four rows of pumps at the front, getting a clear number plate reading and good recording of all vehicles and their occupants. Cameras are also located around the back of the store to cover the back entrance - these also watch the parking area. Cameras inside the store monitor specific areas including the alcohol display and tills.

Crime reduction
Shop theft, particularly of alcohol has gone down by around 80 percent since the new system was installed. Teenagers used to come in the back entrance, grab a case of beer and run out again. This occurred as often as three times a day. Now it rarely happens. Why? “Because we can see them better,” says Debbie, adding: “There are also monitors over the entrance doors that show any potential thieves that they are being recorded and the quality of the recording is very good. The CCTV is helping to reduce shop theft by acting as a deterrent.”

The Product:

  • HRHD - 16 Channel Digital Video Recorder

Security on the forecourt (pdf)