Surveillance Camera Statistics

General Info

Shoplifting Info

Employee Theft Info

Property Crime Info

General Info

According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 75% of all crime in the US is property crime. In 2003, there were 14 million thefts of property, and of these, 83% were home and business burglaries. There's no reason to wait until it happens to you. While it might not make the evening news, when your home or business is burgled, safeguarding it becomes the most important issue in the world. Originally developed to provide the ultimate in security for banks, and traditionally used by security intensive operations like casinos and airports, today closed-circuit television (directly connecting video to a recording or viewing source without being broadcasted) and video surveillance systems are now economical and simple enough to be used at home. Now that this powerful technology is within the reach of the average consumer, it makes an effective part of any home security system, as well as a small business' everyday video surveillance. Advances in Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) technology are turning video surveillance equipment into the most valuable loss prevention, safety/security tool available today for both commercial and residential applications. The use of surveillance camera systems can alert you before threatening situations worsen, as well as provide you with an important record of events. Monitoring your store or business can be invaluable, in identifying and apprehending thieves and vandals. The prevention or resolution of just one crime would be enough to pay for video surveillance system equipment many times over. Retailers use CCTV video surveillance systems to monitor for shoplifters and dishonest employees, compile recorded evidence against bogus accident claims and monitor merchandising displays in the stores. Manufacturers, governments, hospitals and universities use video surveillance equipment to identify visitors and employees, monitor hazardous work areas, thwart theft and ensure the security of their premises and parking facilities.

Security cameras are known to reduce incidents, such as:

  • Customer shoplifting
  • Burglaries
  • Property vandalism
  • Bad check writing
  • False accusations

Additionally, surveillance camera systems can actually improve employee productivity because they know they’re being monitored.

Security cameras can greatly reduce the threats facing your business. Consider these statistics:

  • Employee theft = 48% of all business losses.
  • Shoplifting = 31 % of all business losses
  • Robbery - Occurs every 46 seconds according to the Department of Justice.
  • Assault - Against employees or against clients can lead to liability lawsuits.
  • Vendor Theft - Most businesses rely on vendors that leave product or perform services after hours.
  • Vandalism - Destruction of property usually done by known and police documented “taggers” in the area.

The installation of surveillance cameras will greatly increase the level of security for your business. The presence of cameras in clear view will deter potential thieves who will prefer to try a less risky target. With our DVR system, you can view any part of your business from any location via the internet.

Employee Theft Threat--2003 National Study Shows Losses from Employee Theft Reach Record Levels

A national study conducted in 2003 states that having a surveillance camera system with remote access can eliminate losses up to 80 percent and improve productivity!

The National Retail Security Survey reports that losses from employee theft have reached record levels and that total inventory shrinkage cost U.S. retailers $32.3 billion in 2003, up from $29 billion the year before.

According to University of Florida criminologist Richard C. Hollinger, Ph.D., who directs the National Retail Security Survey, the results indicate that in 2000, retailers lost 1.75 percent of their total annual sales to shrink, up from 1.69 percent the prior year. Hollinger said that the results of the survey should serve as a wake-up call to the retail industry that shrinkage continues to be a multi-billion dollar source of revenue loss.

The study, conducted by the University of Florida with a funding grant from ADT Security Services, Inc., a unit of Tyco Fire and Security Services, discovered that retail security managers attributed more than 46 percent of their losses to the thefts of disgruntled workers. In comparison, 31 percent of retail losses were the result of shoplifters. Employee theft was up 2 percentage points from the previous study.

Internal theft now costs U.S. retailers $14.9 billion annually, compared to shoplifting costs of $10 billion. Employee theft and shoplifting combined account for the largest source of property crime committed annually in the United States. The remainder of the annual retail losses was due to paperwork errors at 17.6 percent and theft by vendors at 5.8 percent, according to the data obtained by analyzing theft incidents from 116 of the largest U.S. retail chains.

"Given that the surveyed portion of the retail economy annually transacts over $1.845 trillion dollars, this percentage of loss is worth over $32 billion," Hollinger said. "This means that the single largest category of larceny in the United States is the crime that occurs in retail stores. This figure is larger than motor vehicle theft, bank robbery or household burglary combined."

"With the uncertainty in consumer confidence and warnings of a slow shopping season, retailers need to look beyond the selling floor to increase and protect their profits," said Mike Snyder, president of ADT Security Services. "Technologies such as anti-shoplifting systems, digital video surveillance and point of sale monitoring solutions, tied together with remote and central station monitoring, will help retailers contain some of these losses without sacrificing good customer service."

According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report in 2000, also explained here, the most recent year for which statistics are available:

Property crime rates appear to act as a kind of indicator of economic cycles. The NCVS index peaked the year before the two recessions of the early 1980s and rose again as the 1990-1991 recession ended — dropping steadily thereafter as the good times of the 1990s began to roll. The FBI property crime index peaked between the two recessions in the 1980s and immediately after the 1990-1991 recession. After that it too headed down — as we all embraced the world-wide-web. The index ticked up 2 points between 2000 and 2001 as the economy stuttered a little — with motor vehicle theft leading the charge. Property crime is thus a reflection of our economic lives and moves in step with unemployment, with the fluctuations in the poverty level, and vaguely reflects changes in income maintenance programs.

Still, even at the very height of the good times, in 2000, 7,711 people out of every 100,000 experienced some kind of property loss: 1,380 of these experienced a burglary, 5,960 had something stolen, and 370 lost a car to thieves. Another way to look at the matter is to use the FBI's "crime clock," which is based on reported crimes. In 2000, there was a property crime every 3.1 seconds, a larceny every 4.5 seconds, a burglary every 15.4 seconds, a car stolen every 27.1 seconds.


Shoplifting Info

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP),


  • More than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year. That's more than $35 million per day.

  • There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.

  • Shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store's security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes and hurts children and families.

  • Shoplifters steal from all types of stores including department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores and thrift shops.

  • There is no profile of a typical shoplifter. Men and women shoplift about equally as often.

  • Approximately 25 percent of shoplifters are kids, 75 percent are adults. 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.

  • Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident depending upon the type of store and item(s) chosen.

  • Shoplifting is often not a premeditated crime. 73 percent of adult and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters don't plan to steal in advance.

  • 89 percent of kids say they know other kids who shoplift. 66 percent say they hang out with those kids.

  • Shoplifters say they are caught an average of only once in every 48 times they steal. They are turned over to the police 50 percent of the time.

  • Approximately 3 percent of shoplifters are "professionals" who steal solely for resale or profit as a business. These include drug addicts who steal to feed their habit, hardened professionals who steal as a life-style and international shoplifting gangs who steal for profit as a business. "Professional" shoplifters are responsible for 10 percent of the total dollar losses.

  • The vast majority of shoplifters are "non-professionals" who steal, not out of criminal intent, financial need or greed but as a response to social and personal pressures in their life.

  • The excitement generated from "getting away with it" produces a chemical reaction resulting in what shoplifters describe as an incredible "rush" or "high" feeling. Many shoplifters will tell you that this high is their "true reward," rather than the merchandise itself.

  • Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.

  • 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught.

  • Most non-professional shoplifters don't commit other types of crimes. They'll never steal an ashtray from your house and will return to you a $20 bill you may have dropped. Their criminal activity is restricted to shoplifting and therefore, any rehabilitation program should be "offense-specific" for this crime.

  • Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.


Employee Theft Info

Security leaders know that employee crime increases in a down economy. The latest U.S. Commerce Department statistics demonstrate just how bad it is right now: the price tag for staff theft and fraud tops $40 billion per year for American business.

Employee theft is a serious problem that affects every type of business, from local Mom and Pop grocery stores, to huge multi-billion dollar corporations; and from service companies to high tech businesses. In fact, it has been estimated that roughly 95% of all businesses are victims of some sort of employee theft! The stealing can include an array of different items, including cash, inventory, data, and clients. What makes the situation worse is that managers are rarely aware of how much is being stolen, or even that theft is occurring in their companies.

Video surveillance can be a useful tool for identifying improper and unethical behavior. While video surveillance cannot prevent all employee theft, it does provide several distinct benefits that include:

  • Provision of proof to document improper activity -- Video surveillance cameras capture and record images of actual events that occur. Captured video can often shed valuable light on what did or did not take place leading up to an event in question. This evidence can often prove invaluable during an investigation. In addition to being able to rely on video images as evidence after the fact, video surveillance can also prevent criminal activity in the first place.

  • Acts as a natural deterrent to unethical behavior -- Just having a video surveillance system installed onsite can have a powerful effect of preventing criminal activity in the first place. Employees that are aware of the presence of video surveillance cameras are less likely to participate in unethical or criminal behavior due to the fear of their crime being recorded.

    In general, employees will think twice before participating in any kind of unlawful activity if they know they are being watched by company security cameras.
  • Provides added safety and protection for employees -- Companies that install video surveillance systems within their facility often experience added safety as a side benefit. Managers can be kept informed of suspicious behavior allowing them to carefully monitor certain situations before they become full-blown problems. In addition, if unethical or criminal activity does occur, the video evidence can make it easier to correctly identify those involved and ensure a swifter resolution. This can mean a safer working environment for employees.

Employee theft is one of the most pervasive problems faced by businesses today, and it continues to escalate at an estimated rate of 15 percent per year. Employee theft is very common. Some retail industry studies have found that more than one third of all thefts from businesses were by employees. Theft by employees can only be as successful as operators allow conditions for it to happen. With so many obstacles outside in the marketplace, no one should have to lose to an enemy inside their own store. Thieving employees will have a devastating impact on your business and fellow employees if left unchecked.

Internal investigations of this nature are often difficult to handle. Employing the services of an outside firm that specializes in Forensic Accounting is the only way to guarantee a swift and thorough resolution to a very difficult problem. Internal theft, the most prevalent problem facing businesses today, is taking an all-time toll financially and emotionally. Department of Commerce estimates that employee theft costs employers approximately one billion a week.

Employee’s who steal from their employer is more prominent than most business owners realize. The average business loses approximately 6% of revenue to fraud each year, and typically employees are to blame. Employee theft is one of the serious threats that a restaurant owner has to accept. Each year, there is an estimate of over $52 billion loss because of this reason. Employee theft is often cited as the most common type of theft within small businesses.

Retail employees admit to steal an average of $168 a year. They estimate the average co-worker steals $1000 a year. Retail employee thieves were most unhappy with the inadequate tasks and challenges of their work and the fact that their employers seemed not to care about them. In the hospital, employees who took property were most unhappy about their employer’s lack of caring, in addition to poor treatment by immediate supervisors and limited job responsibility. Retail store employees have a constant opportunity to steal cash or merchandise and all they need is the desire and sufficient motivation to do so. What keeps most employees honest is moral character, loyalty, respect for the law and their employer, and the desire to be viewed as trustworthy.

Business owners must be aware of these facts in order to detect employee theft. It is a common fact that most employers do not suspect their employees of theft. Business owners like to think that their employees are honest and care about the business almost as much as the owners do. Theft and dishonesty is only a problem for big business. Business owners who make frequent bank deposits substantially reduce their risk. If you handle a lot of cash, make deposits twice a day.

Employees can steal easily in many ways, with some examples being: not giving the customer a receipt and the correct change, giving back fictitious refunds, and pretending to ring up merchandise for friends. Prevention is key, but if you own a business and suspect that an employee is stealing from you, call the police. Employees steal for many reasons, and most explain it by rationalizing their actions, blaming the company for poor oversight or for providing easy opportunities to steal. Many blame management for setting a poor example.

Employees define what is right and wrong regarding their behavior, and they can rationalize stealing from their employer in their own minds. Thieves normally view themselves as average people in a dishonest world where everyone is just trying to get ahead or to maintain what they have. Employees responsible for accounting, bookkeeping and other financial functions should expect to be subject to a different, sometimes higher, level of oversight than their colleagues in other departments. They should welcome the additional scrutiny of your internal financial controls. Employees have to know and see that both doors are being taped with time and date.

Trusted, largely unsupervised employees can cook up elaborate schemes to steal and dispose of large quantities of equipment and merchandise for their own gain. Such crimes are easy to commit because the employees usually have company trucks at their disposal. Trust means something totally different because you have no choice but to empower your line-level employees with access to all of the financial tools necessary for your hotels to operate profitably. You therefore put a much higher premium on trust.


Property Crime Info

According to the 2003 FBI Report of Offenses Known to Law Enforcement, the most recent year for which statistics are available, in New York City alone, there was: 25,989 Robberies; 28,293 Burglaries; and 124,846 instances of Larceny or Theft.

Official New York City Site - City Wide Crime Statistics Weekly