Increasingly, businesses are installing surveillance cameras to monitor employees, customers, and assets. The benefits of surveillance cameras are often evident: the business can quickly identify theft or vandalism and reduce liability by monitoring the premises. However, security cameras are not without risk. A few simple precautions can help to ensure that private and business surveillance remains effective and profitable.
A camera’s ability to detect intruders does not mean that the camera will identify them. First, it is important for CCTV systems to be properly installed so that employees feel comfortable about their presence in the building. Second, make sure that the system detects human presence at the camera rather than a mechanical or electrical malfunction. If the person who is supposed to be at the camera is not actually there, this will reduce false alarms and result in decreased insurance premiums.
Some businesses put surveillance cameras outdoors to protect their property. However, surveillance cameras that are exposed to weather and environmental damage often perform poorly or are impossible to repair due to damage from severe weather conditions or vandalism. Outdoor cameras should be properly installed where weather conditions will not have as much effect on them. Surveillance cameras should be well-positioned to monitor the entrance and exit of your business, as well as other vulnerable areas, such as fire exits or loading areas. It is important to allow for adequate space between camera locations so that each camera does not directly view the same location. This way, it is easier to identify people and track their movements in and about the building.
It is also advisable to install video surveillance equipment in places where criminals are likely to go when they break into your business or vandalize it. For example, thieves might be more likely to break into a vacant office building or warehouse than a well-lit business on the main street. If you can station a surveillance camera in the location where your business is most vulnerable, you can catch culprits before they have time to do damage.
If the natural lighting is insufficient in an area that might be visited by thieves, employees, or customers, it might be necessary to install an artificial lighting system. A sufficient amount of illumination will help mask shadows and prevent intruders from being detected. Be sure to install lighting that does not have a glare or cause excessive heat or glare when objects in the path of the beam pass through them. If a surveillance camera is in an area where infrared lighting is possible, it can help to illuminate intruders without blinding them.
Some business owners choose to use off-the-shelf CCTV systems rather than customizing and installing their own. While these systems are convenient to use and provide a reasonable level of security, they often have limitations. The cameras in these systems often do not provide optimal images, and the memory on the video recorder is often limited. The better systems have timers that allow the cameras to turn off and on in accordance with your business hours. This can be a good way to increase privacy for your employees and save money on your electricity bills.
It is important to remember that surveillance equipment can prove valuable evidence, but it is only as effective as the maintenance schedule.
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