AI Powered Technology Helps Prevent Retail Crime – Yahoo Finance

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Retailers are hoping AI-powered surveillance and other technologies can eventually make theft a thing of the past.

Video surveillance systems, locked cases that can be operated by smartphones, and AI-powered heat maps are just a few of the anti-theft advancements on the market.

“We’re looking at a whole lot of other AI plays here,” Read Hayes, head researcher of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) at the University of Florida, told Yahoo Finance on NEXT. (Check back for the full episode on Monday, Mar. 18).

“Picking up on what people are saying, like threatening words or victims’ words, things like that, that we think we can also map more in real time.”

FaceID technology could someday be used to unlock cases in stores.FaceID technology could someday be used to unlock cases in stores.

FaceID technology could someday be used to unlock cases in stores. (Yahoo Finance)

Hayes’s group develops and tests a wide array of AI-powered theft prevention technologies. The LPRC is funded by the university and dozens of the world’s largest retailers — from Target (TGT) to Walgreens (WBA) — which pay an annual membership fee to access the lab’s findings and research.

The lab in turn works on theft-prevention solutions that those retailers can all access.

Yahoo Finance’s Madison Mills took an exclusive look inside the research lab, where the council is developing a live heat map that pulls in real-time data from a variety of sources, including retailers, law enforcement, and fire rescue agencies. The map aims to track and prevent theft — or, at a minimum, alert other retailers on the app if a crime occurs nearby.

This is not just about giving retailers a heads-up. It’s also about providing clarity on the scope of the theft problem, one that is increasingly difficult to quantify.

“If we rely on public information, law enforcement information … that’s very inaccurate. Not their fault. They only know what people tell them,” said Hayes.

Madison Mills is a host and reporter at Yahoo Finance.

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