Camera Deployment Reveals Fraud

Camera Deployment Reveals Fraud

A few years ago I attended the annual meeting of the Forest Resources Association. Like others, I tend to be early in the breakfast line and this particular morning I sat next to a logger from Pennsylvania. We had not previously met so we had the usual introductory style conversation; Where are you from? What do you do? Etc..

The following summary explains how he discovered fraud by employing the same techniques DRM uses to monitor loggers, scale houses, and wood inventories.
As always, Aaron

Logger Purchases Surveillance Cameras

As we sat talking that morning, I explained to him how, as a forestry audit services firm, we provide operational auditing throughout the forest industry supply chain and also assist our clients in monitoring and testing their timber security systems. I told him one method used to utilize surveillance systems is to count the production of a log crew and verify the use of security tags.

He explained that he ran multiple crews and used subcontractors on the wood processing and trucking side. After hearing how DRM works to monitor operations, the logger returned home and purchased several remote cameras to monitor activity at and around the various log landings. He understood that it needed to occur without the knowledge of his employees and subcontracted crews.

I’m happy to report that he discovered no theft of his products occurring, which of course pleased him as well. However, he was surprised to learn of the frequency of after-hours and weekend activities happening on his roads and landings (a very common observation once cameras are deployed). He understandably was distressed to see his crews routinely arriving and departing to and from the work site at times that did not match their time-cards. 
Mitigation MeasuresAs a result of his camera surveillance, he installed GPS monitoring systems on all his company trucks. Thus, he was able to routinely match date and time stamp/location to the time-cards of his employees. Because of this foresight in monitoring the comings and goings of his employees and the discovery of time-card fraud, he was able to take disciplinary action. The real issue turned out to be with two employees who ultimately were fired for stealing time. This logger has continued to employ camera surveillance on his job’s to monitor traffic and activities.

Lessons Learned by the Logger

Even though camera surveillance has many benefits, there is a definite learning curve associated with setting them up and getting them to deliver the pictures you want. The first tree you come too isn’t always the best choice for camera placement. And cameras can have sight limits especially in low light and dark conditions.

He also learned that a camera can’t replace a locked gate. Gates are still the best at reducing the after hours site seers and thieves.

What Camera should you Use?

This is a very common question and my response these days is to use the cameras you are familiar with. There are so many options in the game-camera world that it is best to stick with cameras you are familiar with and that you can setup quickly in order to get the pictures you want. However, about a year ago, the best camera for low light conditions was in the Browning game camera family. Many game cameras use visible IR llight at night to light up the picture the camera sees, and in doing so it also lights up where the camera is placed. Use models with invivislbe IR light so you can prevent camera theft. When you purchase a game camera set it up on your driveway and experiment with how the camera placement impacts triggering the sensors. Keep experimenting until you can consistently get the camera sensors to trigger where you want in order to get the best pictures.

Keep in mind, new camera systems are always being brought to market and in the high tech world a year is a very long time.