Shopping center live video surveillance: the benefits and use cases

May 18, 2023

Shopping malls have seen a lot of crime in recent years. In addition to the individual shoplifters who have been targeting mall stores for years, there are now organized retail crime (ORC) groups operating together. On top of that, violence has been on the rise. All of this leads to a lot of liability for property managers, as well as the potential for lost revenue if legitimate patrons choose to shop elsewhere. Shopping center live video surveillance can help keep your place of commerce safe and secure.

See how Solink improves the security level of your business with live video surveillance.

Live video surveillance is a way to monitor your shopping centers remotely in real time. Remote monitoring uses a combination of commercial security cameras and advanced video analytics to keep an eye on your properties. There are many benefits to using this technology, including enhanced security, lower operational costs, improved efficiency, and better relationships with law enforcement.


Indeed, while the improved security alone justifies the price of live video surveillance for your mall, the benefits go well beyond just better security.

15 live video surveillance benefits for shopping center managers

As mentioned above, being able to monitor your shopping centers in real time has both security and non-security benefits.

Here are 15 benefits of shopping center live video surveillance:

  • Identify retraining needs
  • More effective onboarding
  • Enhanced access control
  • Virtual guarding
  • Respond to issues in real time
  • No more illegal dumping
  • Health and safety improvements
  • Cleaner buildings and grounds
  • Remote monitoring
  • Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs
  • Safer parking lots
  • Improved relationship with law enforcement
  • Better security
  • Faster police response
  • Alarm verification

Note that these benefits often open up great synergies. For example, virtual guarding can reduce labor expenses while improving security.

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

Identify retraining needs

Employees often find themselves in need of retraining. This can be due to their lack of experience or mistakes made during initial training. Whether malicious or because of training shortcomings, the results are the same for the business: reduced profitability from lost productivity.

Retraining needs appear in many different situations. Here are two examples.

Time theft is when employees are being paid to work but are doing something else instead. This can be simple productivity issues such as employees using their mobile phones during work hours. However, it can also be more serious, for example employees skipping scheduled cleanings that could lead to an uninviting shopping mall or even safety risks.

Disruptive behavior has become more common over the last few years. Whereas previously loss prevention guards in a shopping center would be directed to stop suspected shoplifters, that could lead to violence today. Operating under the same status quo as ten years ago could lead to customers or staff being placed in dangerous situations.

Shopping center live video surveillance can help you identify examples of retraining needs and provide examples of what to do, or not to do, in similar situations going forward.

Volunteers of America-Michigan has identified several retraining issues using the Solink platform. Live video surveillance has helped them find instances of employees not doing what they are supposed to without ever needing to step foot in the affected stores.

More effective onboarding

A major difficulty in onboarding new employees in shopping malls is a lack of real-world examples of what to do, as well as what not to do. Shopping center live video surveillance gives you the ability to find and save clips of employee interactions with customers, and all of the other tasks your staff is expected to perform on a daily basis.

For example, you can show examples of how to properly clean public areas, which doors to use when taking out refuse, and how to handle disruptive behavior, loss prevention investigations, or interactions with law enforcement.

Shopping centers also experience internal theft, with employees not only stealing supplies from the shopping center but also merchandise from individual tenant stores as well. Being able to quickly find and save evidence of internal theft can help both resolve incidents and give you the tools to better perform loss prevention onboarding in the future.

Simply showing new employees these clips gives them an understanding of how they should act as an employee in your shopping malls. It also subtly reminds them that theft will be uncovered and there will be consequences.

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Enhanced access control

Businesses are increasingly looking to improve their security. Since 2014, violent crime rates have been on the rise. The locations of major violent crimes are also becoming more broad, with public places increasingly the location of mass shootings.

In fact, in 2022, there were multiple mass shootings in American shopping centers, outlets, and malls. Thankfully, different tools are being implemented to keep people safe.

One way property managers keep their tenants safe is through access control. Access control is a system that restricts entry into a location by requiring people to use a badge, type in a code, or otherwise prove they have permission to enter the premises.

While most of the square footage of a shopping center is open to the public, there are still employee-only areas. It’s often the case that employees are not present in these areas, for example the recycling center, supplies cage, or loading dock, during the entire shopping day, especially when they are not all located next to each other.

Access control can be used to protect these locations from unauthorized guests, as well as the entire building outside the hours of operation.

The one issue with access control is that people could share badges or passwords, or someone can steal a badge to gain entry. In this situation, the access control system could even lead to further security complacency by relying on the technology to maintain the security perimeter.

Shopping center live video surveillance can help here. Solink integrates with Brivo, an access control system. That way you have paired video to each entry into these areas. If an event occurs, it is easier to confirm who entered the building, that they had permission to be there.


Virtual guarding

Virtual guarding is the use of live video surveillance equipment to replace on-site security guards or enhance their ability to patrol large spaces. In either case, using your security system to replace live guards can save a lot of money.

In addition, surveillance cameras never sleep, cannot be intimidated, provide objective evidence when an incident occurs, and can monitor your entire property at once. All of these added benefits are why many property managers are using remote guards to protect their shopping centers.

Virtual guarding is particularly effective for shopping center live video surveillance. With so much area to patrol, it would be difficult to effectively monitor the entire mall with live guards within a reasonable budget.


Respond to issues in real time

Cloud video surveillance gives businesses access to their security camera feeds from anywhere, 24 hours a day. Real-time monitoring of entrances and exits, hallways, and parking lots can prevent vandalism and theft, as well as keep shoppers and mall employees safe from violence.

Many groundskeeping duties are done on a schedule. For example, snow removal must happen before 8:00 a.m. for parking lots to be clear before the shopping center opens for the day.

Using live video surveillance, a single person can review hundreds of northern shopping centers in an hour to make sure the snow plows have met their service agreements. Weekly lawn cutting in the summer, hourly mopping during rainy weather, and more can be confirmed in the same way.

No more illegal dumping

One of the most unique issues faced by property managers is illegal dumping. With cities increasingly charging homeowners to have extra garbage bags removed or to access the dump to throw away large items, shopping center dumpsters have become the sites of illegal dumpings.

Perhaps the perpetrators don’t realize it is illegal or costing the property managers money to remove waste. Either way, it cuts into the bottom line. Furthermore, when illegal dumping occurs without regard for the trash removal schedule, that garbage can build up for several days. At best, this is an unsightly mess. At worst, it becomes a breeding ground for pests.

Solink’s Motion Search allows you to scan hours of footage in minutes to find illegal dumping events. You can then save the video and share the information with law enforcement by email. That way, issues have consequences, and you can try to recoup the costs of illegal dumping.

Health and safety improvements

Keeping a safe environment is critical for shopping center owners. The popularity of shopping centers means any fire, theft, or violence risk is multiplied.

Some common safety violations can be seen across shopping centers. Blocked emergency exits can occur, which could be deadly if a fire were to occur. Similarly, parking, even for a few minutes, in a fire lane represents a major risk. Both of these issues can be rectified with shopping center live video surveillance.

Motion search allows shopping center managers to scan hours of footage in minutes to find the instance of someone blocking a door or parking in the fire lane. Another way that motion search can help keep tenants safe is by protecting against inclement weather by making sure employees put out wet floor signs when it starts to rain or snow.

Veterans of America-Michigan uses Solink to reduce the liability caused by snow or rain. The head office checks that every store has wet floor signs out whenever the weather report calls for rain. They then conduct follow-up calls to stores that aren’t compliant.

Cleaner buildings and grounds

Buildings and grounds that are not properly maintained quickly degrade, costing property managers more money in the long run. Missing weekly lawn maintenance could mean resodding the following spring.

The issues don’t stop there. Wet floors, refuse in hallways, and other common cleanliness issues can be safety concerns, lead to pest issues, and create an unpleasant environment that keeps shoppers away.

With live video surveillance, it is easy to monitor scheduled tasks such as lawn mowing and floor cleaning. It’s also possible to check up on unscheduled maintenance, for example hourly mopping during rainstorms.

Remote monitoring

Video remote monitoring gives you the ability to audit your shopping centers for company policy compliance without visiting in person. When you are managing multiple shopping malls, being able to check up on all of your buildings in real time from anywhere on your laptop or mobile device is a major time saver.

It also means keeping the same level of control on operations whether you are on site, at the head office, or at home.

Reduced labor expenses and hiring needs

Live video surveillance can reduce labor expenses in several ways. Most directly, the remote guarding function can replace live 24/7 on-site security guards. However, even when a full-time salary isn’t being removed from the books, video surveillance systems can be used to improve productivity.

When a security guard is patrolling a shopping center, they can’t be everywhere at once. This leaves security gaps that could be exploited. Instead, someone using motion alerts can monitor several security camera feeds at once.

With proactive alerts, the security guard’s labor is also freed up to do secondary tasks. For example, they can help people find their destination, clean, coordinate safety and security efforts with store managers, etc.

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

Safer parking lots

Malls are often filled with expensive merchandise, from computers and mobile phones to sporting goods and designer bags. However, live video surveillance sometimes brings the greatest benefit outside.

The sprawling parking lots surrounding some shopping centers can be major sources of liability. Indeed, the following can all lead to legal liability for the owner and/or occupant of the shopping center:

  • Fender benders
  • Hit and runs
  • Smash-and-grab thefts
  • Stolen cars
  • Safety issues due to wet or snowy conditions

Without real-time monitoring, issues go unresolved. When a crime does occur, it’s important to be able to properly follow up so it doesn’t happen again. The Solink platform allows you to document every event in your mall parking lots to make sure it is resolved correctly and quickly.

In fact, this ability to document issues leads to our next benefit for shopping center owners.

Improved relationship with law enforcement

Property management firms try to build strong relationships with local law enforcement. They want responses to their shopping centers to be prompt and appropriate. One of the easiest ways to build a strong relationship with police is to provide them with the evidence they need to help you.

When an incident occurs, Solink’s live video surveillance platform makes it easy to find, save, and share video footage of the event. Use motion search to find the incident, save the clips including multiple angles where necessary, and then send them to the police via email.

This is especially useful for shopping center management. While the theft may occur in an individual store, that store’s security system is unlikely to have coverage of the suspect’s vehicle, or it may not get a clear view of their face. By coordinating with the shopping center management, it’s more likely that the assailant will be identified.

Furthermore, when police trust you to provide evidence, they are more inclined to fully investigate every incident. In fact, they might start coming to you looking for video feeds that have street views to help with investigations. This heightened police presence adds another layer of security to your shopping centers as a strong deterrent to criminal activity.

The largest Cookies retailer uses Solink to build their relationship with law enforcement. Here’s what their Director of Loss Prevention, Ryan Dzwigalski, has to say:

“I’ve been in loss prevention for 20 years. I wish I had something like Solink before because being able to share video with the police so easily is huge. It was always such a hassle before. You’d have to find a USB stick, get their address, put it in a bubbled envelope, and drop it off at the police dropbox. Then, the police might not be able to open the file. If you get a reputation of not providing the needed evidence, police can become less responsive to non-emergency calls like theft. Now, Solink has helped me create a good relationship with law enforcement. It is such a huge benefit.”


Better security

Shopping center live video surveillance is often about maintaining a certain level of security, or even improving it, while reducing costs. It can be hard to improve profitability from some retail property managers through higher revenue generation, so cutting costs is paramount.

Installing cameras gives property owners an added layer of security without the need for hiring more security guards or signing an expensive outside security agreement.

Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service is another way to better protect your business with live video surveillance. Unlike traditional panel alarms, video alarms can monitor entire areas of your business for improved detection. You can also turn them on and off one zone at a time, meaning the public shopping area is open to the public during the day while the recycling center and back entrance is secured.

In a recent independent comparison of Solink Video Alarms and traditional panel alarms, video alarms led to multiple arrests while traditional alarms led to zero apprehensions.

Faster emergency response

When it comes to protecting the valuables inside of a mall, outdoor cameras can help here too. With video alarms, you can catch people trying to break into your shopping mall at night before they even gain entry.

In the same comparison of Solink Video Alarms and traditional panel alarms, Solink alerted law enforcement to a potential break-in at an office building, the police arrived on the scene, and the suspect was arrested all before the traditional panel alarm was triggered.

Alarm verification

Alarm verification gives trained professionals the ability to review in real time what is happening on a site before deciding whether an emergency response is warranted. Then, when law enforcement is required, the video feed is shared with the dispatcher to ensure prompt and appropriate response.

However, the value of alarm verification goes beyond better security. Verified alarms also save you money. Many police forces no longer respond to unverified alarms. In cities, where they do respond, false alarm fees are rising.

In the same head-to-head comparison mentioned above, Solink Video Alarms led to a 100% decrease in false alarm fines across multiple locations.

Solink is the best shopping center live video surveillance system

Solink provides a customizable cloud-first video analytics platform. Productivity and training, health and safety, cleanliness, and security can all be monitored with shopping center live video surveillance.

To see how Solink can help you monitor all of your shopping centers,sign up for a demo today.

To see all the ways Solink can help your business, book a demo today.

Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.