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« Daily Headers: May 13, 2009 | Main | 3VR CEO Al Shipp Interviewed in Security Products Podcast! »

IHF Roundup: Retail Crime Rates Continue to Climb, Robotic Animals End Poaching Dreams & Other Top Headlines This Week

At their conference in Orlando earlier this week, RILA announced the continuing trend of crime in retail institutions at least partially blamed on the dismal economic conditions we've been experiencing. The survey included some of America's largest retailers in all market segments and inquired about measured or perceived changes in retail crimes over the last four months (on the heels of the December 2008 Crime Trends Survey). Here's a quick rundown of the statistics. Looks like we've still got a ways to go to turn this ship around:
  • 61% of retailers surveyed report having experienced an increase in amateur/opportunistic shoplifting in the last 4 months.
  • 55% have experienced an increase in financial fraud.
  • 72% of respondents report that they continue to see an increase in organized retail crime (ORC).
  • No retailers reported a decrease at all in amateur/opportunistic shoplifting since last surveyed.
Not exactly encouraging numbers, but they definitely show room for improvement and a growing market for surveillance deployments in the retail sector.

While some are resorting to stealing merchandise to make ends meet, others are betting on Lady Luck for a few extra bucks in this recession. Many casinos have seen increased gambling tendencies -- that is, of already-problematic gamblers -- in the past few months. Should security systems be preventing such detrimental habits? A Toronto Sun writer seems to think so.

With an estimated one-third of gambling revenue coming from problem gamblers in casinos, she puts forth the valid argument as to why they aren't stopped before hitting the tables. As she notes in the article, "In Holland, for instance, all casino visitors have to show their national ID card or a passport and are entered into a computer database that tracks their gambling behavior."

So, why aren't other countries monitoring such negative behavior? Should there be some sort of biometric database in gambling facilities? Good question. Although, if you think about it, isn't that almost like employing biometrics at a fast-food joint and prohibiting those with high blood pressure from ordering certain fatty foods? Definitely something to be considered.

Biometrics (or the lack thereof) aren't only in hot water in casinos -- that's hardly the case.

In England, the Home Office announced plans for organizations (including the Post Office and National Pharmacy Association) to collect and transmit biometric information for ID card enrollment. That would mean fingerprints and facial photographs would be stored on ID cards and in a central database.

However, the big question remains the security of the data itself. With such a massive high-street database, there must be a maximum security standard for the implementation to be viable. Additionally, who would be liable for a breach in the system?

That's an awfully high level of risk with the value this type of highly-sensitive information presents to identity thieves and the like. Still lots of kinks to be worked out here. Plus, really not sure how I'd feel about needing to give a set of prints to receive my prescription either.

Biometrics scans are popping up all over -- even in journalism. Fingerprints and retina scans are now required for all journalists covering the war in Afghanistan before being accredited to travel with NATO units or visit military bases. It's drawing some red flags from legal experts who have called the new produced "strange and offensive" and I'm not surprised. According to the article, "The data, including fingerprints and a retina scan, are used to verify identity and are apparently checked against an archive of known terrorists." I've heard journalists called bad things, but being checked against terrorist images -- not quite. At least yet.

Wrote about this quickly earlier in the week -- robotics out to save Mother Nature. Well, something like that. Researchers have designed robotic animals to catch animal poachers. Turkeys, swimming moose, white-tailed deer, black bears -- you name it, there's a robot that resembles it. These robots are saving species one at a time -- literally. With prices ranging from $500 for turkey to $5,500 for a grizzly bear, these decoys do not come cheap and with special reflective eyes glow at night, I'm not sure I'd want to be out in the wild with either species.

Also, don't forget to check out John Honovich's post about our 3VR Korea study on (along with the commentary from our CEO Al Shipp and myself) here. Gets into the nitty-gritty of the what the study results really mean. Definitely an interesting read.

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