Get the Most From Your CCTV System

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR RECORDING CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

The use of recording closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems is an established procedure for commercial institutions, like warehouses, banks, retail stores, convenience stores, and many other types of businesses. In combination with solid metal doors, deadbolt locks, and other more basic security precautions, CCTV works in a variety of ways to deter crime. It allows for the detection and removal of criminals. In addition, CCTV is an excellent deterrence because would-be criminals will avoid these systems whenever possible. Also, with CCTV in place, security personnel are better able to interrupt a criminal act in progress.

In the United Kingdom in recent years there has been an explosion of CCTV surveillance in public and common areas such as town centers. Britain now boasts of employing the most extensive CCTV surveillance system anywhere in the world.

Recent research conducted by the Violence Research Group, University of Wales College of Medicine determined that, CCTV surveillance was associated with increased police detection of violence, and CCTV surveillance was associated with reduction in numbers of people injured in assault who were treated at emergency departments.

CCTV PERFORMANCE TIPS

The Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technology has a number of recommendations on how to get the most out of your CCTV surveillance system and facilitate the apprehension of perpetrators.
  • It is important that you have sufficient number of well-placed cameras to allow for sufficient detail and coverage of the area you are protecting.
  • Ensure there is adequate and proper lighting in the target areas.
  • Business owners should have written procedures and all involved personnel should be trained in how to react to a criminal event.
  • Businesses should create and adhere to a regular system maintenance program.
  • In order to facilitate possible prosecution, any recordings made by the CCTV system that capture a crime must be preserved in a way that enables police to document a chain of custody of the original images.

DESIGNING YOUR CCTV SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

Achieving optimal image quality requires attention to a number of factors that include:
  • Positioning and choice of lenses, cameras
  • Types of recorders
  • Data compression methods
  • Storage space
These considerations are all connected and have to be coordinated. If, for example, you add cameras to a system already in place, you could need to adjust storage amounts and image recording rates from individual cameras.

Be sure to make a careful assessment of the physical plant in which the CCTV system will be installed. Analysis of this assessment is a key ingredient of a successfully designed system. Your survey should include a site plan depicting where each camera is placed and what is its viewing field. And dont forget to test you system to ensure the images it produces will satisfy your purposes.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CCTV SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

The list of components for a basic CCTV system should comprise the following:
  • Fixed and/or mobile camera(s)
  • Recording apparatus that allows for recordings to be removed from the device
  • A monitor
Your CCTV system should include a monitor so its operation can be checked regularly. Monitors capable of operating in an under-scan mode are highly recommended. This will allow viewers to see and monitor the complete viewing field being recorded.

Depending on your needs, you may wish to consider upgrading your system to include audio recording capacity.

The optimal amount of cameras for an effective CCTV system will vary depending on the size and needs of the owner. Be sure not to position cameras where they can be tampered with. Using concealed wiring will help minimize the likelihood of tampering or disabling.

Be sure your cameras vision fields are unobstructed and pointed away from bright lights or glare from windows or other shiny surfaces. If bright lights are unavoidable, backlighting cameras can improve image quality.

Remember: you must include a minimum of one camera at each exit and every customer purchase point. Point one, also, at key areas such as safes. Aim exit cameras toward the inside of the building and all cameras in a way that affords a clear frontal view of the heads and shoulders of anyone who makes a purchase or exits the building. At a minimum, there must be at least one camera for every exit and every customer purchase point. The lenses on exit cameras should be configured a depth-of-field extending from three feet to beyond ten feet. This offers the added benefit of providing overviews of the interior and head-to-foot views of people as they enter and exit the facility.

Always consult with a reputable, established security expert when considering installing CCTV or any security system. The extra investment will pay for itself many times over the life of your system. And, of course, your safety and that of your family and employees are priceless.
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