Mobotix Success Stories

Video Footage Shows MxActivitySensor Preventing Car Dealership Theft

Recently we received an email from an industry colleague telling us about a YouTube video showing MxActivitySensor being used to prevent crime.

After watching it, we thought it too good not to share. This particular piece of footage that you’re about to see was taken at night. This same solution would be difficult to achieve using video motion detection, primarily because the camera has been setup outdoors.

Not only is it compelling, it’s pretty funny watching as the two stooges desperately try to hide from “whatever it is” that keeps detecting and announcing their presence.

We reached out to MOBOTIX installer, Onsite Guardian and asked if they would be willing to share their story.

In addition to the obvious “preventative security” part of the story, what was really interesting is that since switching each camera from VMD to MxActivitySensor, they’ve found that the system’s false alarms have reduced by over 90%.

Anyway, here is their story which they kindly emailed to us…

Here in South Louisiana we are experiencing an outbreak of thefts at car dealerships. Thieves are stealing up to 30 tires and rims in one night from a single dealership.

(Note: the background music is being played via the PA system that has been integrated with the MOBOTIX cameras)

Very early on a Saturday morning two people enter our customer’s car dealership from an adjacent dealership.

The subjects cross the property line and are soon detected by a MOBOTIX D14 dual lens camera, that has the MxActivitySensor software installed. This resulted in the audible message being played through the dealership’s PA system. As you can see in the video, the stunned suspects stop dead in their tracks and listen. After scampering around for a bit, trying to stay in the shadows (while still being detected) they ran back to the adjacent lot.

The next morning the adjacent dealership arrived to find a new vehicle sitting on blocks. The subjects had stolen all four rims and tires. A properly configured MOBOTIX system could have deterred this theft or ended with the suspects in custody.

The preventative nature of this solution is key to its success. Not only because it deters the crime, it saves time and money.

Let me explain what I mean…

We visited the neighboring car dealership the next morning, and found the owner and a police officer standing by the vandalized vehicle.

A technician from his surveillance company was also onsite with a new analogue camera in his hand. He was preparing to install it to add more coverage to the area where the theft took place. The owner told the police officer, “I think we have some video footage”.

So the owner has now incurred even more expenses due to the theft, by adding more cameras to his already outdated DVR system. What if all of the channels were full on his DVR? Now he has to purchase a new DVR or disable an existing camera.

Add this to the cost of the tires and rims, the owner’s time on a Saturday morning, and his payroll expense for the service employees to repair the vehicle. Don’t forget the administrative time to file an insurance claim as well as the billable time the integrator will spend downloading video evidence to release to police investigators. Odds are the video will likely prove to be unusable for identifying these suspects.

This highlights the importance of preventative security!

Our customers always ask, “Can I zoom in and see more detail of the person?”. Our answer is, yes, to some degree. However, in this case the suspects were wearing hats and had bandanas over their face. Therefore, powerful zooming capabilities would have been of little help. This is why our objective is to create systems that detect the threat before a criminal act occurs, which in turn enables us to proactively notify security or police personnel as necessary.

We often hear customers say “We want to catch these guys”, however in our experience, we’ve found the best thing to do is keep them away from the site, and don’t give them the opportunity to commit the crime.

Application: Car Dealership vandal and theft prevention
Location: South Louisiana, USA

The System Setup
The car dealership installation uses the following Mx Products:
8 x M24′s with various lenses
4 x D14′s with various lens combinations
1 x D14 180
1 x ExtIO

Plus the alarm notifications from the camera are being sent to a back-to-base video alarm monitoring service.

The area was lit using standard white lighting.

The Solution

One camera acts as the master time server for the rest of the cameras. The master camera is also linked to the ExtIO which is located inside the dealership in a data closet which houses the amplifier for the PA system. The audio output of the ExtIO is connected to an input on the PA amp.

Two customized scheduled messages were recorded.

The first message is a female voice welcoming guests to the dealership but also letting them know that the lot was being monitored. The welcome message plays from 9pm-12am and Sundays. The second message is a male voice that basically says you have been detected, authorities have been notified and you need to leave. Sound profiles are created such that the default MX-Alarm sound is played before and after the verbal warning.

The cameras have been upgraded to the latest firmware that supports MxActivitySensor. We’ve also taken advantage of IP Notify, which has been working fantastic for this and many other of our MOBOTIX installations. It is truly amazing technology.

Prior to MxActivitySensor the cameras were using VMD. VMD resulted in a lot of false alarms due to lighting conditions, wind and rain. After upgrading to MxActivitySensor our nightly events per camera have been reduced from over 75 to as little as 4. This reduction also increased our video retention time greatly due to the decrease in events.

All cameras are set to IP Notify the Master camera when an MxActivitySensor event is detected. When master camera receives the IP notifications, the camera plays the welcome greeting during working hours and the warning announcement after hours and on Sundays.

Since the master camera is linked to the ExtIO these messages are played throughout the entire dealership over the PA system. Cameras that are in an area where we expect trouble are also set to play the Mx Alarm sound locally as well as IP Notify adjacent cameras to do the same. A video monitoring service is also notified on the MxActivitySensor events. The monitoring service assesses the threat in under one minute.

Finally, we have the system connected to a 24/7 video monitoring service. The control room duty guard, verified the alarm but did not dispatch police in this case because she watched them leave the premises. However, as of this incident, we’ve changed the site rules to alert police if anyone enters the dealership after hours.

The system was introduced to Diversified Auto Dealers earlier this year. Diversified Auto Dealers has over 200 car dealership members across seven states. In our first meeting with the owners we were told that in over 30 years of being in business they had yet to find a surveillance system that was solid enough to get Board of Directors approval. In fact, just before the demonstration the owner stated, “This better be good…” Less than 10 minutes into our demonstration he said, “This is incredible!” Onsite Guardian’s solution was approved by the Diversified Auto Dealers Board of Directors in May 2013.

This system is not just for car dealerships. We have also installed the same system in various problem areas in many other businesses throughout South Louisiana. It has proven itself for them as well.

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