You might be surprised to learn that scrap metal theft is a significant issue in the United States and worldwide. The reason is that scrap metal often contains copper, aluminum, brass, and bronze, all of which hold significant value. Thieves will often target scrap metal yards because they feel as though they won’t be protected adequately. The value of metals is also significant, as a recent case in Canada led to a man’s arrest on charges of entering vacant properties and stealing copper piping valued in excess of $50,000.
Scrap metal yard surveillance is one way to curb this theft, and it involves placing security cameras in strategic locations around the property and having professional security guards monitor them. Taking this step is beneficial because it means there are always eyes on the valuable commodities in your scrap yard. This guide will take you through the benefits of video surveillance and provide information on features you should insist on for your system.
The Benefits of Scrap Metal Yard Video Surveillance
You’ll want to learn a bit about the benefits of video cameras before installing them around your scrap metal yard. The investment is only worth the upfront cost if it provides you with a tangible return, after all. Here are a few reasons why the investment will pay off:
The main reason why you’d install surveillance cameras is to deter criminals from entering the property in the first place. Making cameras visible and placing warning signs around the yard can scare off potential thieves. Having these cameras can also reduce employee theft because they’ll know someone is watching.
You’ll have quick and easy access to evidence available in cases where thieves do enter your scrap yard and steal some of your metal, increasing your chances of prosecuting those responsible for the crime. The benefit of pressing charges is that future thieves will know they’ll face the consequences for their actions and, in some cases, you might even get your metal back.
Lower Insurance Rates
Your insurance provider will be happy to see that you have surveillance cameras and might cut you a break on your premiums moving forward. You should at least have fewer claims to file, which will eventually drop your rates and positively influence your bottom line.
Watch for Fires
An underrated benefit of installing security cameras is that you can watch for fires around the yard. Fires at metal recycling plants are pretty common and can do more damage to the business than theft, so it’s a good idea to watch for them at all times. Thermal cameras are recommended for this use because they can detect even a slight temperature change, providing an early warning.
These are just a few of the many benefits of installing video cameras around your scrap metal yard. There are some features, however, that you should insist on to ensure the system meets your needs.
6 Features Your Video Surveillance Should Include
There are many systems on the market for those who have determined that their scrap metal yard would benefit from video surveillance. Every business is different, but some features make it more likely you’ll receive the best return on your investment. Consider these possibilities:
License Plate Recognition
Metal is a heavy material, especially if you have to move 50+ pounds of it to make a decent profit. Thieves will generally show up with a truck to make their getaway easier. Having a video surveillance system that can scan license plates makes catching these individuals after the fact a breeze.
Many high-end surveillance systems have sensors that can detect an intruder from up to 1,200 feet away. A scrap yard with a large perimeter can use this feature to ensure no one can enter the property undetected, even if they’re far from your cameras.
Many thieves will show up at night when everyone has gone home for the day, so your cameras should have the ability to see in the dark. Night vision is pretty standard in these systems nowadays, but make sure you confirm that the cameras are high-quality so you aren’t disappointed with the results.
A nice feature to add to your camera system is a loudspeaker that gives your security team the ability to talk to intruders. Letting thieves know that you see them and that the police are on the way often causes them to leave before they have the chance to steal anything. These speakers are more effective than playing a recording because trespassers will know that someone is actively watching them.
Your camera will likely record on motion 24 hours per day, so there’s a lot of video to go through when something goes missing. Some service providers offer time-lapse videos of your site, saving you from having to analyze hours of surveillance tape to find the perpetrator.
You may want a security guard to actively monitor your video feed at night to provide protection at the site’s most vulnerable moments. The firm you hire should include active monitoring between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and provide optional 24-hour surveillance on weekends and holidays.
Those looking at security firms to handle metal scrap yard video surveillance needs will want to find a service provider offering as many of these features as possible. The more your security team offers, the safer the metal in your yard becomes.
Contact a Video Surveillance Expert
It’s certainly possible to handle your video surveillance needs alone, but you wouldn’t get any sleep because active monitoring is usually only necessary at night. Hiring a firm known for its professional security services is a more practical and effective approach if you own or operate a metal scrap yard.
Mobile Video Guard has long excelled at providing full-service video surveillance in the Washington, D.C., area. We can assess your site’s needs and customize a plan to improve your security posture immediately. Contact us today with any questions about securing your scrap metal yard.