Regional police using more high tech - focus on retail thefts with a database of retail store surveillance cameras images.

Crime 100By Staff

November 12th, 2018



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has a new tool to help identify suspects of retail thefts occurring in the Region. The HRPS is the first service in Ontario to leverage a website dubbed ‘Retail C.O.P.’ (Cameras on Patrol).

Images of suspects in retail thefts are uploaded to the secure site, along with brief suspect descriptions.

Retail theft 2

Retail security cameras capture the data – police can analyze and frequently identify suspects.

These images are typically gathered from retail store surveillance cameras. Loss prevention officers are then provided access to the website in hopes of helping to identify suspects. Any tips are sent to the HRPS Retail Theft Unit for investigation.

To date, the HRPS has invited and trained more than one hundred loss prevention officers from across Ontario to take part in the program.

This program provides retailers, security, loss prevention and law enforcement agencies opportunities to identify offenders and through education, reduce and prevent organized retail crime, and prosecute identified offenders.

How is it working so far? “Fantastic” said Inspector Bob Gourley, 3 District Operations. “. By tapping into the knowledge and experience of the loss prevention officers on the ground in stores across Halton we are taking advantage of a previously underutilized resource.”

Retail theft

Security cameras capture some of the thefts – the information is shared with retail security people who can aid the police in arrests.

Retail theft costs Canadians $4 billion every  year, with costs being passed on to consumers. This year to date, there have been more than one thousand occurrences of retail theft reported to police in Halton.


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