A group of London bar and shop owners have launched an online crime-fighting initiative after an increase in bag snatchers and shoplifters.
The Facewatch website allows them to share CCTV images of thieves as soon as a crime is committed and also enables them to send the image to the police.
Facial recognition software is used to help identify serial offenders, who historically make up a large percentage of crimes.
Commenting on the Facewatch initiative, Matt McCloskey, Head of Applications & Services at Virgin Media Business said: “The Facewatch initiative is yet more proof that companies are crying out for smarter surveillance systems.
“In the past, businesses have relied on their staff, customers or CCTV cameras to catch thieves.
“But sadly this has proven to be inefficient in some cases, with unreliable witness statements, blurry surveillance images, and a lack of timestamps on CCTV footage, preventing the police from identifying and arresting thieves.”
“During the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in demand for more sophisticated security systems, such as IP CCTV.
“Unlike traditional surveillance systems, which record video footage on tape, IP CCTV is completely digital and runs across an organisation’s network.
“This means that businesses can take more control over their surveillance system, which can help to reduce security costs and make maintenance much easier.
“As the images can be viewed and stored digitally this has made it possible for software developers to develop innovative ways of analysing and presenting data.
“Applications, such as facial recognition, can be used to flag known suspects to camera operators automatically, ensuring that they are looking at the right screen at the right time.
“So, for example, if a known bag thief enters a bar, security staff on the ground will be alerted immediately.”