Quartet of Calgary liquor stores to install customer ID-scanning system

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is teaming up with liquor store company Alcanna to try to reduce violent thefts and robberies.

Following a successful project in Edmonton, four Liquor Depot and Ace Liquor stores in Calgary will have an ID-scanning system installed on their doors. When a valid ID is scanned on the Patronscan system, the front door will be unlocked for the customer to enter.

“The main concern we have is around the increased threats towards staff and customers that occur during these types of violent events,” Sgt. Nick Wilsher of the CPS crime prevention team said in a statement.

According to CPS statistics, the four liquor stores slated to have the ID-scanning systems installed reported a total of 245 incidents involving theft between January 2020 to April 2021. In the same time period, liquor stores across the city reported more than 2,400 incidents.

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“We are confident that this partnership with the Calgary Police Service to introduce controlled entrances in Calgary will show the same drastic reduction in thefts and robberies as our pilot program in Edmonton has demonstrated,” Tank Vader, president of Alcanna, said in a statement.

Alcanna stats show Edmonton stores with Patronscan had a 94 per cent reduction in thefts and no robberies in 2020.

Tables showing the efficacy of the Patronscan system installed at doors of Alcanna liquor stores.
Tables showing the efficacy of the Patronscan system installed at doors of Alcanna liquor stores. Alcanna

Alcanna will install the system in four stores in the city’s northwest and northeast:

  • ACE Liquor TransCanada, 1440 – 52 St. N.E.
  • ACE Liquor Crossroads, 2148 – 18 Ave. N.E.
  • Liquor Depot Montgomery, 5032 – 16 Ave. N.W.
  • Liquor Depot North Hill, 1632 – 14 Ave. N.W.

“The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police has called for a province-wide requirement of controlled entrances for all liquor stores,” Vader said.

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According to a CPS release, Patronscan has been used at Calgary bars and nightclubs for more than a decade and is compliant with the Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Act.

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Patronscan devices capture a person’s name, age and photograph from valid ID like a driver’s license, passport, Alberta identification card, military identification card and status card. That information is held on secure Patronscan servers for 21 days, after which it is permanently deleted.

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“If a crime is committed on Alcanna property, law enforcement, such as CPS, are the only authorized party granted access to the personal information of the individual who committed the crime,” the police release said.

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Calgary police said Alcanna employees don’t have access to the servers, and the data is not used for marketing or shared with a third-party.

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