Using Surveillance Cameras to Detect Cashier Cheating
It’s called “sweethearting”: when cashiers pass free merchandise to friends. And some stores are using security cameras to detect it:
Mathematical algorithms embedded in the stores’ new security system pick out sweethearting on their own. There’s no need for a security guard watching banks of video monitors or reviewing hours of grainy footage. When the system thinks it’s spotted evidence, it alerts management on a computer screen and offers up the footage.
Big Y’s security system comes from a Cambridge, Mass.-based company called StopLift Inc. The technology works by scouring video pixels for various gestures and deciding whether they add up to a normal transaction at the register or not.
How good is it? My guess is that it’s not very good, but this is an instance where that may be good enough. As long as there aren’t a lot of false positives—as long as a person can quickly review the suspect footage and dismiss it as a false positive—the cost savings might be worth the expense.