5-Star Luxury Hotel – CCTV
In 2014, the hotel underwent security challenges involving the pilfering of various possessions and important documents from its high-end clientele arriving from abroad. Victims were being targeted upon arrival at the airport, and perpetrators appeared to be creating their opportunity from the moment their victims were on route to their hotel. The majority of the crimes occurred after the guests had arrived at the hotel, already comfortable and relaxed in the pampering environment one expects from a luxury resort. Unbeknownst to both the hotel staff and their guests, it was most often at the hotel reception where a briefcase, laptop or some other valuable would suddenly go missing.
The challenge that was presented to both hotel security and local police officials was that they were unable to get any facial images of the offenders to aid in uncovering the identities of the criminals. The thieves always carefully concealed their faces beneath caps, brimmed hats and other inconspicuous means.
The determined and specialized engineers of Lazerbeam Fire and Security set out on a course of action to craftily design a surveillance setup that would ultimately reveal the identities of the culprits and put an end to the unlawful activity.
Firstly, special cameras were set up and installed outside the hotel entrance, situated in such a way that a clear and unobstructed view was obtained, of all vehicles and passengers that were dropped off at the front of the hotel. These special cameras were capable of streaming images at maximum definition and ensured recording of those images at the highest frame rate to minimize any time lapse on the recorder.
Secondly, cameras were strategically placed behind the hotel reception area, focusing in on and capturing facial images of any and all persons that approached the reception desk. These time-stamped facial images were then linked together with the hotel’s check-in software data; images and data recorded together with matching dates and times.
Thirdly, a camera was installed by the hotel’s front door, facing inwards to the interior of the hotel so that the bright light from outside would not produce a glare on the quality of the picture, but instead lend its light to provide a very clear view to the features of anyone exiting and entering the hotel.
The final measure in the design of the surveillance setup was devised to counter the challenge presented by the caps and brimmed hats worn by the criminals. Previously, not a single image of any of the criminals’ faces could be taken because their covered heads were always positioned downward, faces concealed from security cameras. It should be noted that as one enters the Hotel, one is faced with an ascending staircase that leads to the hotel’s reception desk at maisonette level. At the top of the stairs, one finds themselves directly in front of a fireplace.
The engineers at Lazerbeam ascertained that if a camera could be placed in front of the stairs, ideally at the base within the fireplace, low enough to the ground but well hidden, a facial image could be taken from anyone ascending the stair case as they reached the top step, even if their face was averted downward.
A very small camera with a CS mount lens was selected to be used with a lens having a focal length over 16mm. Over the course of a weekend, Lazerbeam brought in a team called “Diamond Drill”, drilling specialists who created a small hole through the marble flooring of the fireplace, enabling the specialized mounting of the small selected camera. Before the camera was positioned, it was completely wrapped, only the lens remaining unobstructed, in layers of heat insulating material to protect it from the heat of the fireplace. Then, the wrapped device was completely spray-painted over, with the exception of the lens, to match the color to the inside of the fireplace. The small camera was mounted just inside the fireplace with a bracket and some wiring. Who would suspect a camera in a fireplace?
After a period of time, thefts at the reception area were linked to high resolution images taken of the vehicle registrations belonging to suspect vehicles pulling up outside the hotel entrance, as well as images captured by the reception desk camera, with timestamps supporting the suspicion that the images were of the same person. But most importantly, it was the facial images which were captured by the covertly placed camera in the fireplace, which finally enabled the authorities to solidly confirm the identities of the offenders, as they reached the top of the staircase heading towards the lobby.
Police were able to connect the persons in the images, through the vehicle registrations also captured on camera, to an address, which when searched, exposed the location of over 23 stolen laptops, valuable documents and several other items that had been reported missing. All these articles were immediately confiscated and soon afterwards, the arrest of a large gang of over 40 members operating within the UK but originating in South America, followed.
The local authorities were able to successfully arrest the felons, and the Hotel’s Head of Security, received the highest compliments from the Belgrave Police Department for the use of their shared surveillance footage.
Lazerbeam Fire and Security is delighted to have contributed to the capture of these offenders and continues to move forward with the mission to provide security and safety for both UK customers and international visitors.