The ACCESS Taskforce and its results in Paducah, KY

The ACCESS Taskforce showed the effects of LVT Units. See how they impacted the city of Paducah.

Last Updated:
December 18, 2023
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min Read
James Wang
Marketing Writer

It’s no secret that retailers are facing an increasing number of challenges threatening both the safety and profitability of their businesses. Everything from the rise of retail theft to property damage to violent crimes are all trending upwards. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), retailers lost over $112 billion last year in retail shrink with about $72.8 billion of that loss attributed to retail theft. In the NRF’s yearly survey of businesses, more than two-thirds of respondents acknowledge an increase in organized retail crime (ORC) but more importantly, cite an increase in the violence and aggressiveness of ORC.

To address these concerning numbers, both businesses and communities are increasingly making investments ranging from more personnel to upgrades in software, technology, and systems to try to stem the tide of crime. Yet when it comes to deterrence, it can be a challenge for businesses to feel confident that their investments are rooted in concrete results rather than in theory.

That is beginning to change. A recent study explored how effectively mobile security systems can combat crime by deploying the units to Opelika, AL and Paducah, KY. The study by the Loss Prevention Research Center (LPRC), reviewed data that was gathered by the Alliance of Companies and Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) Taskforce. The ACCESS Taskforce is a collaboration between LiveView Technologies (LVT) and local law enforcement, municipalities, and retailers over a six-month period.

This article focuses on Paducah, KY as a case study and how the surveillance units impacted the overall crime numbers there. To better understand the results, we first must understand why Paducah was selected.

Paducah, KY is a city with crime on the rise. It ranked in the 90th percentile of U.S. cities and experienced year over year increases in retail crime. According to reports, Paducah is more dangerous than 92% of other U.S. cities and the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime in Paducah is 1 in 25.  

Part of the reason lies in the geography of Paducah. Paducah is centrally located and easily accessible within two hours of cities like St. Louis, Knoxville, Nashville, and Cincinnati. The neighboring areas tend to be rural and visitors from those communities can balloon the population of Paducah from 27,000 residents to upwards to 100,000 people during the day. “Paducah is regional shopping with numerous national and local retailers,” explains Police Chief, Brian Laird. As a result, it attracts people and an influx of economic dollars to retailers and the city. However, Laird also explains that with that can also come unwanted consequences, in the form of increased crime. The proximity to highways also makes it an enticing target for organized retail crime.

Another critical reason why Paducah was a good fit for the study was because it was largely absent of any surveillance units in use in the area previously. This provided a baseline to effectively measure any discernible effect on crime numbers once LVT Units were mobilized.

As a result, the ACCESS Taskforce deployed 32 LVT mobile surveillance units and strategically placed them in major shopping areas and locations with a higher incident of crime all around Paducah.

Each business security camera system weighs 1,800 pounds and comes equipped with as many as three cameras mounted to it with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom. Some of the other capabilities include strobe lights, loudspeakers, and floodlights. Each unit can be remotely accessed and footage can be viewed either in real time or played back. The units can be moved as they are mounted to mobile trailers and have no external wiring or connections. While they can be a daunting physical deterrent, they are largely unobtrusive and don’t negatively affect a customer’s retail experience like locking up inventory or other invasive deterrence methods.

After six months of being deployed, and analyzing the data, the findings regarding the effectiveness of the surveillance units were extremely encouraging.


  • 80% drop in weapons violations
  • 54% drop in burglaries
  • 50% drop in robberies
  • 43% decrease in trespassing
  • 15% reduction in property crime
  • 13% overall reduction in crime

Not only did businesses see a reduction in crime across the board but that decrease also extended to larger areas and distance. Often, when efforts are initiated to limit criminal activity in one location, it pushes the crime to other surrounding businesses or territory. This is known as crime displacement.

However, when it came to Paducah, KY the opposite was generally true and instead of crime displacement, they experienced crime diffusion. Crime diffusion is the notion that if you deter crime in one area, those deterrence efforts ripple into adjacent environments as well. So instead of merely moving crime around the corner, you are reducing it from happening both in time and distance. In other words, once you stop crime in an immediate area, it stops it from happening in larger areas as well.

One possible explanation for this is that in retail environments like parking lots, the sight lines between areas are so clear and open, that the presence and sight of the mobile units can be a deterrent for not just immediate retailers in the area but those further away as well. It creates a community security blanket that stretches well beyond the retail grid and enhances a collaborative effort amongst businesses, local police efforts, and municipalities. Together, it increases the perceived risk of being caught and increases the ease to commit crimes, all while reducing the cost benefit of the crime.

To further understand the efficacy of the mobile surveillance units beyond the hard statistics, the LPRC conducted a survey amongst members of the community, retailers, employees, and law enforcement in both Opelika and Paducah to gauge how the units were received. These were some of the findings:

  • 50% of respondents felt safer shopping at stores with mobile units. That sentiment increased to 80% when it came to shopping at night.
  • 75% of retail employees felt safer parking near the units.
  • Approximately 75% of law enforcement respondents agreed that the units save retailers and law enforcement time investigating retail crimes, while 60–70% of the retail respondents agreed.

When it comes to law enforcement and retailers, respondents say that the collaboration between everyone has improved drastically and that it has played a big role in deterring crime. They cite that the units improve the ability to share evidence quickly and cut down on the time needed to investigate crimes. Lastly, every group that responded felt that the community had become safer since the presence of the ACCESS Taskforce and for Paducah Police Chief, Brian Laird, that is the ultimate goal. “We are constantly working to improve the quality of life and decrease crime in Paducah,” says Laird. “We believe that deploying LVT’s security units in partnership with local retailers will improve our ability to diminish crime and care not only for our citizens, but also visitors to Paducah.”

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