Considering CCTV? Ask yourself....
- Am I being realistic?
- Once installed, how much time am I prepared to spend looking at the Monitor and watching recorded images.
- Am I taking advice from a CCTV expert or am I dealing with a "CCTV cowboy "? It is important to realize that not all security companies who are expert in alarm systems are necessarily competent in CCTV design and installation. Have you just chosen the company because it is a large company in the security industry? Consider the overheads a large company has and the high turnover of staff that they can expect, to a small company offering expertise in a narrow but highly technical field.
- Is the system I am contemplating capable of being upgraded economically?
- What are the advantages and pitfalls of recording what the cameras are seeing?
- Are dummy cameras a viable option?
- Is it best to install a hidden [covert] system or a visible [overt] system?
- Do I need Colour or black-and-white cameras?
- Have I been shown exactly what area each camera will cover and how recognizable the people will be at various parts of the scene?
Before adding CCTV as a loss prevention strategy think about the following; The four deciding factors for capital expenditure on CCTV:
Peace of mind.
Remember watching Crimewatch and seeing the actual crime take place. The criminal obviously did not know that CCTV is supposed to deter him from committing an offence. Not all robbers mind having their faces captured on video! It is surprising how many simply don't care. No doubt they have watched Crimewatch as well and have noticed the lack of quality and how hard it is to identify an offender.
This of course is one of the major changes that the digital revolution has brought upon us. These images are now of real value and can be successfully frozen and played in slow replay and slow play modes to assist in identifying the offender.
Deterrence is more successful when the CCTV system is coupled with high visibility signage. Consideration should also be given to having a monitor showing selected images within the public view.
This can be like closing the door after the horse has bolted. You have been victimised and would like something done about it. If your equipment is working properly you have someone's face on the video. You can show that to the police and they will recognize the culprit and rush to make the arrest.
In the real world of course, it is more likely that the media will print the images as they love the visual and graphic effect that can be obtained by utilizing such images.
This is where the good quality identification camera pays off. If the camera chosen is a colour it may assist in identifying the offender due to the colour of his clothing. This is not only relevant on the day but can be relevant in a later Police inquiry when clothing is seized from the offender's place of abode.
Even if a robber wears a mask or covers his features, reviewing the preceding hours of videotape may identify the culprit. In most cases some robbers will "case" the premises prior to the actual robbery.
Are you even checking the images to identify crimes? The Dedicated Micro's Digital Sprite assists with this as it has the added advantage of being able to e-mail you upon any event or alarm activation, power loss or camera loss as it arises.
Develop a reviewing strategy that benefits your business both in the detection of shoplifting and customer service. CCTV is a very useful tool to assist with staff customer service training. Involve your staff where appropriate and turn the exercise into a positive experience.
Peace of Mind
A correctly designed and installed CCTV security system is undoubtedly one of the most effective tools in the entire spectrum of crime prevention. However, don't be lulled into a false sense of security by believing that once you've installed the equipment your job is done. Crime prevention requires careful thought and reassessment periodically.
Having actual recorded footage will reassure the police that a crime did in fact take place. There have been many reports of crimes in the past to cover offences actually committed by employees at the premises. On many occasions there is some complicity on behalf of the employee with the "so-called robber. Yes, some people do lie! The recording will also show where the offender went and what he touched during the crime and this assists police in all avenues of their follow-up inquiries.
Staff training is an important part of your security strategy. Staff should be made aware via signage and training of all overt cameras and their functionality. Have they been trained what to do if they observe offences taking place?