Located in Sacramento, California, Arden Fair Mall serves a diverse market that spans a 25-mile radius and includes over 1.1 million residents. With its retail mix led by Nordstrom and a wide selection of more than 165 top apparel and specialty shops, Arden Fair Mall is merchandised to capture this dynamic market's large core of affluent and middle class shoppers. Managed by Macerich, a leading owner, operator, and developer of major retail properties across the United States, Arden Fair Mall has created a well-designed and maintained shopping and entertainment environment to meet its customers' changing needs. Committed to excellence in customer service, Arden Fair has taken the industry lead by developing an advanced, cutting-edge security programme that is anchored by the Avigilon HD Surveillance System to ensure an enjoyable retail experience.

A leader in retail security

A former Sacramento Police Department officer, Steve Reed joined Arden Fair Mall in 2000 as director of security and guest services and was tasked with revamping the mall's security programme. "The mall wasn't adequately monitored, with only 19 VHS-based cameras to monitor the entire 77-acre property", explained Reed, who brought security in-house and created a more effective security environment. "Macerich is now uniquely positioned as the only mall operator in the United States to have security operations in-house, demonstrating its commitment to the safety and security of its patrons." And amongst Macerich properties, Arden Fair takes the lead for its use of advanced security solutions.

In early 2007, Arden Fair upgraded from a VHS-based surveillance system to an analogue DVR-based system for greater coverage. At the same time, the mall installed license plate readers on two staff vehicles to monitor activity in its parking lots. "We are the only private security group in the nation with wireless access to the Department of Justice database of 220,000 stolen license plates", explained Reed, who has successfully leveraged the system to track stolen vehicles. But even with the advanced license plate readers and analogue DVR-based system, image clarity and reliability was inadequate. "After an impressive demonstration by Avigilon, I was immediately sold on the system's image quality and advanced management features." Reed enlisted the support of Delta Wireless & Surveillance Solutions, a local provider of integrated wireless and surveillance solutions to upgrade to the Avigilon HD Surveillance System for even better coverage and results.

The Avigilon advantage

"Arden Fair is a diamond in the rough-sandwiched between a high crime area to the west and a more affluent area to the east, presenting significant security challenges", noted Reed. Logging more than one thousand man-hours each week, Arden Fair security guards protect the mall's 10 million annual shoppers on foot, Segways, bicycles, and by car. Under the watchful eye of Nick Novo, Assistant Security and Guest Services Manager, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System is key to the mall's success in reducing risk and preventing incidents. "While all our security personnel have access to the system, Nick has taken the lead in its design and is the real system expert, keeping us at the top of our game," added Reed.

"With Avigilon, we have reduced auto theft by 60 percent and have a 90 percent prosecution rate..." 

Arden Fair manages the Avigilon HD Surveillance System using Avigilon Control Center Enterprise Network Video Management Software (NVMS) with HD Stream Management, which was built from the ground up to manage HD surveillance video. The mall installed Avigilon HD 2 MP cameras to monitor entrances, several Avigilon HD 16 MP cameras to monitor parking lots and all access points, an Avigilon 180° Panoramic HD Dome Camera to monitor the play area, and an Avigilon HD 5 MP camera to monitor the security and guest services area - the mall's hub. Avigilon analogue video encoders were installed to improve the performance of the mall's existing analogue cameras, though Reed has plans to transition the entire system over to Avigilon as budget allows. Three Avigilon Network Video Recorders store 40 days of continuous surveillance footage-a big improvement over the previous solution, which could only store one to three weeks of footage.

A 90 percent prosecution rate

According to Reed, Avigilon's top selling feature is its superior image quality. "Even when we zoom into the smallest detail from hundreds of feet out, the clarity is amazing-it's like watching HD TV", claimed Reed, who noted the importance of image clarity for successful prosecution. Arden Fair relies on the Avigilon HD Surveillance System to capture the detail that its analogue cameras miss. "If we capture an incident in our parking lot with one of our analogue cameras but can't discern the details, we can track the vehicle with one of our Avigilon HD 16 MP cameras using Avigilon Control Center software and retrieve clear, readable plates for indisputable evidence." In fact, before Arden Fair deployed the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, the mall experienced an extremely high rate of auto theft-incidents that were either missed entirely or if captured, were so grainy that the footage was inadmissible. "With Avigilon, we have reduced auto theft by 60 percent and have a 90 percent prosecution rate."

Superior low-light performance

Reed and his team have also been impressed with Avigilon's superior performance in low-light conditions-a critical requirement for the mall, which relies on its surveillance system 24x7. "With our analogue-based system, footage captured at night was virtually unusable because of its poor quality", commented Reed. "With Avigilon, images are totally clear and retrievable, providing much better coverage at all times of the day or night."

Exceptional time syncing and mapping

Arden Fair mall interior 
The Avigilon HD surveillance system's zooming capabilities delivers top quality, valuable evidence to the police 

As the primary user of the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, Novo has found its time syncing capabilities particularly useful because he can review up to 36 cameras at once to effectively locate a suspect, determine the direction of travel, and track actions in real-time. "With Avigilon's excellent time syncing abilities, I can instantly view an incident in real-time or recorded mode to gain a complete picture for faster resolution", Novo stated. Leveraging Avigilon's advanced mapping feature, Novo created a map overview of the mall's cameras to further improve his ability to quickly locate the information he needs.

The power of ‘observe and report' security

For Reed, one of the great advantages of the Avigilon HD Surveillance System is that it delivers the irrefutable evidence needed to quickly and effectively resolve conflicts, using an ‘observe and report' model. "By deploying a security programme based on the most advanced technologies, like the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, my staff is extremely successful without having to be hands on" explained Reed. "We get a lot of satisfaction in delivering top quality, valuable evidence to the police to help them in their investigations." Having helped recover 47 stolen vehicles leading to 40 prosecutions over the past couple of years, Arden Fair has become a role model for mall operators across the country. "We travel the country showcasing our security programme and have won several industry awards for our success".

Fighting crime with indisputable evidence

Using the advanced management features of Avigilon Control Center Enterprise NVMS, Reed and his team were able to successfully identify a purse-snatcher. "After combing through our footage and leveraging the system's zooming capabilities to capture facial and license plate details, we were able to locate the individual with the stolen purse, which he had hidden under a pizza box, as he entered his vehicle", said Reed. "We handed over the footage to local law enforcement and the suspect is now being prosecuted."

 "...the Avigilon HD surveillance system has clearly raised the bar as far as surveillance goes..."

A true partnership

A firm believer in partnerships for success, Reed has been very impressed with the level of support he has received from Avigilon. "Avigilon is the most supportive vendor we have dealt with", he said. With the help of Delta Wireless, installation and training have also been smooth and problem-free. "The learning curve is much faster than it was with our previous solution-the Avigilon HD Surveillance System is very user-friendly."

Spreading the word

"As part of our security initiative, we spend a lot of time marketing our advanced solutions and practices to increase awareness within the industry and deliver peace of mind to our shopping public", concluded Reed. "We are very excited to show off the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, which has clearly raised the bar as far as surveillance goes, and leaves a strong impression with everyone who sees it."