Software

British shopkeepers and landlords protect themselves from thieves

How about the boutique owner would get a signal when a shoplifter enters the business? That enables a network in the UK. Shops, who register at Facewatch, can upload pictures of shoplifters in the network. And a software to identify offenders enter and warn the owner. The network already has 10,000 members.

British shopkeepers and landlords protect themselves from thieves
Known shoplifters are stored in a file, to have the surveillance cameras and software access. They recognize a face, the shop owner receives a signal. Photo: Facewatch

“I know this sounds a bit like minority report, but it is possible”, the Facewatch founder Gordon Simon says confidently. In the Hollywood science fiction thriller “Minority report” by Stephen Spielberg in the year 2002, there’s a police organization called Precrime, preventing crimes before they happen. Visions of the future are there information base. In the Facewatch universe that should make the images from surveillance cameras.

Facewatch works with 13 police units

Basically, Facewatch is a pool of information: on the platform entrepreneurs in groups can join forces to share information and video footage of thieves from a particular region. “Events” can be posted via a form. The “events” with proof pictures can be sent to the police about it quickly. Currently 13 police units work together with Facewatch. Meanwhile, about 10,000 companies use the platform.

British shopkeepers and landlords protect themselves from thieves
Because of increasing thefts of guests in London’s oldest wine bar Gordon’s wine bar came Gordon Simon holder on the idea to proceed with a network against Pilferer. Photo: Jerry Bruns/Gordon’s wine bar

And with success: on the press pages, which cooperate with Facewatch, are already several success stories to read about ducted shoplifters and prevented attacks.

Owner of London’s oldest wine bar fights against pickpockets

Gordon Simons initiative for the platform has a specific reason: he is the owner of London’s oldest wine bar. “Gordon’s wine bar” in Covent Garden, there are 125 years. Founded in 1890 was Wendy Gordon and is since run as a family business. Simon Gordon has mightily annoyed that it was again and again that his guests were robbed while they enjoyed their wines.

2010 it reached him, he was active and founded Facewatch. Members of the platform are smaller shops, restaurants and bars. Since then, you exchange shots by pickpockets from surveillance cameras. However, the landlords and shop owners so far customers and thieves on the photos themselves had to mark. Five years later Facewatch feels ready for the next step. Now, software to separate the good from the evil.

730 €000 of Crowdfunding collected

To do this, Facewatch started a Crowdfunding action on the platform of Crowdcube in May. The self-proclaimed crime-fighter by 153 investors were collecting to 530,000 British pounds. Facewatch international plans to expand with the money. Facewatch is already present with partners in the United States, Australia and Canada, there are requests from interested parties from the EU and Iceland.

British shopkeepers and landlords protect themselves from thieves
A possible shoplifter has been recognised by the camera of a business and also neighboring shops and restaurants will be warned. Photo: Facewatch

Now, the surveillance cameras with facial recognition software to be equipped and automatically sound the alarm as soon as a potential shoplifter from the list that is stored in the system enters a room monitored by Facewatch. A public outcry or a protest against this kind of private crime-fighting has not so far.

No country in Europe has so many surveillance cameras

United Kingdom is one of the countries with the highest density of surveillance cameras in the world. About 6 million video installations on public places, railway stations or airports make the British under permanent observation. More than 10 million surveillance cameras along the roads to be added. Each driving vehicle is captured in the UK four times per hour.