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The Power of License Plate Recognition (LPR): A Case Study

License plate recognition (LPR) is an amazing security service, seldom recognised by the general public. Most people use some form of transportation every day, whether to go to work and back home, or to the shops or to run errands. With the sheer number of vehicles on the roads, tracking the license plates of vehicles entering and exiting a property can be a great way to ensure that people don’t overstay their welcome (such as in the case of Estates needing greater access control), and to ensure that if a vehicle on one of the various hotlist databases enters your property you know about it before trouble starts.

A client was having problems with a string of robberies where the perpetrators would utilise several vehicles and the proximity of the properties to informal settlements to strike out of nowhere and make quick escapes. Without clear communication with their on-site security provider, the client was struggling to make sense of the holes in their security and was being targeted relentlessly. So they approached Verifier to get an independent opinion on the matter, and to get some real peace of mind. This is how we helped turn their security situation around, harnessing the power of LPR!

Why our LPR Managed Service is so effective:

We manage, monitor, and maintain lines of communication at every stage of the LPR process, and ensure well-established and fleshed-out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are adhered to. Each site SOP is unique due to the clients' operational requirements. We make sure all security personnel on-site are doing what they are meant to be doing. Being fully independent we simply don’t accept poor quality and will speak up on any problems we discover. We process so many alerts per day we know what it takes to effectively manage the surge of information, so we make sure our staff take everything seriously on our side, and hold our client’s on-site service providers to the same high standard.

Utilising a robust array of LPR databases (some public like the SAPS database, and others global or private including our own), we don’t simply sell a camera, we provide a complete solution, effective and tested over 14 years. Our proven track record speaks for itself. Working alongside law enforcement, we help them clean their databases by notifying them of any vehicles that have been cleared and should be removed from their (SAPS) databases. On the client’s side, we ensure any alerts of vehicles their systems pick up are verified and correct. This ensures the information we send is actionable intelligence. We are one of the only companies in South Africa to utilise A.I and LPR to reduce false alarm rates in this way. This streamlined process allows our client’s existing staff to be utilised in the best possible manner. Through our accurate and lightning-fast information gathering, we can guide on-site staff and law enforcement through unfolding situations, to take the correct precautions. Initiating the right response to the right level of crime related to the LPR alert can greatly manage and mitigate risks.

What led to the client’s dire security situation:

The client was in a transition period, changing between two On-site security service providers. They felt that the previous provider was not taking the initiative and being proactive. Being reactive when organised vehicle-based crime is happening is already too late in many instances. On-site staff can only watch and monitor usually, but they can be granted permission from SAPS to detain suspicious individuals or vehicles if they have probable cause or if the vehicle is flagged on our databases in connection to a crime. Without LPR to quickly and accurately detect, record, and transmit pertinent information to the authorities, the suspects will be long gone before any action can be taken. Being linked to numerous databases contributes to the clients' safety and mitigates risk not just for the client, but for the customers who frequent their property.

From the start, we needed the new on-site security company and the client to communicate better, with each other, and with us. One of our value-added services is bridging communications gaps between players in a client’s security structure, and we make it our business to ask the relevant and important questions, and report our findings to the client in clear and concise reports.

In the past, the client didn’t have LPR, and some of their existing infrastructure was either outdated or under-utilised. From our experience, in the commercial or retail space, roughly 80 percent of crimes use vehicles for fast getaways. Therefore, LPR is an amazing and much-needed investment for clients in those sectors. The risk is still there, but the frequency, severity, and likelihood of successful criminal activity is greatly reduced. There is usually at least one vehicle involved. One-on-one crimes and break-ins are usually more opportunistic, but targeted crime tends to be vehicle-based.

What we did:

Our client owns several corporate and retail facilities, most situated within a small radius of each other. Throughout 2022, our client was being relentlessly targeted, and the crime types and boldness of criminals were escalating. When we took over the management of their LPR system in December 2022 the client was scrambling to respond to every incident occurring, but lacked organised protocols and the systems to keep up with the volume of alerts and incidents.

We began by helping to facilitate the change between on-site security providers, providing the client with insight and consultation. Then we established regimented SOPs to ensure all alerts we addressed were legitimate and accurate, and reduced the number of false alerts in the process.

We needed to be able to know about incidents immediately. With transparent communication we can back-check our systems and help reduce their search parameters. With so many sites in a small radius, considering the client’s incident history, we knew there was a 50/50 chance that the same vehicles would target multiple of their sites.

Once we got the client’s LPR system to the standards it needed to be, the process was repeated across the board to build system resilience. If one site fails its tasks, the other sites may fail too. Since our client initiated their Managed LPR Service with us, the client has gone from having incidents daily, to one single incident, across all their sites.

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