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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with information from Mansfield Police Chief Keith Porch.
MANSFIELD — Lexington Avenue Kroger shoppers have seen a tower with flashing blue lights in the parking lot for more than a year.
A Richland Source reader asked what it’s used for after noticing it moved locations when the company repaved its parking lot.
According to LiveView Technologies, the company that makes the security units, the towers are equipped with 24/7 video recording, floodlights and alerts.
A unit was leased by American Rescue Plan Act funds from the City of Mansfield in 2021, which Mansfield Police Chief Keith Porch said the police department has moved around to a few different locations.
The Kroger Company financed its own unit independent of city funds.
“These security cameras are very popular around the state with retail stores,” Porch said.
A Loss Prevention Research Council study found a 40% decrease in shoplifting in two cities during a six-month pilot program including multiple LVT units in retail parking lots.
Corporate Affairs manager for Columbus division Kroger stores Mark Bruce didn’t respond to a question about whether the LVT unit at Lexington Avenue has decreased shoplifting or crime in the Lexington Avenue parking lot.
“The safety of our associates and customers is top priority and we continue to enhance our tools to provide a full, fresh and friendly shopping experience for all,” he said.
The unit is currently placed between two parking spots, though it is mounted on wheels and can move if unlocked.
The tower includes three cameras that function in all lighting conditions and are powered by solar panels and batteries. The cameras are equipped with pan-tilt-zoom and strobe lights. The 22-foot-high unit also has a two-way speaker to announce messages to people in the area.
The LVT website says this feature can be useful for “ talkdown capabilities” to address crime suspects.
The 24/7 video recording can be live-streamed on cellular and satellite devices. It used Edge-based AI computer vision to send automated alerts if anything looks suspicious and offers next steps to send law enforcement to the site.
A demo of the LVT unit is available online.