Video surveillance systems have become a regular fixture in our lives. We have them in our homes and see them in stores and throughout our cities. These devices offer a level of protection that remains unmatched in price and reliability.
Modern security systems have emerging technologies that expand their capabilities and make them easier to use. Best of all, people are more accustomed to their presence, which makes them feel safer and more secure.
Retail Video Surveillance
Video surveillance is an essential tool for any retail business. It can protect your business from theft, trespassing, fire, and flooding. To get the most of your surveillance system, you should take a few tips from the pros. There’s a lot more to a good system than merely mounting a few cameras around your store.
1. Types of Cameras
There are two types of cameras to choose from: Internet Protocol (IP) or analog. Of the two, IP cameras have more features, better resolution, and a wider field of vision. Some of the features include:
- Motion Sensors
- Mobile Notifications
- Direct Connection to Law Enforcement
- Video Analytics
Analog cameras tend to be less expensive because it’s older technology with fewer components.
2. Video Storage
Every system requires a hub to store video. Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) evolved from VCRs and generally captured low resolution (720 x 480 pixels) video. Network Video Recorders (NVRs) are the next generation in recording technology and can store high definition (HD) video at 1920 x 1080 pixels. Also, DVR systems require cables that directly connect to the cameras, whereas NVR can receive wireless transmissions over WiFi.
One feature to look for is cloud storage. This allows for remote access, redundancy to prevent loss of video and frees up space on local networks. Another great feature to look for is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches. These provide a power source without the need for an outlet (or installing one). Motion detection and night vision can monitor your store and parking lots when you’re not there. Scalability is also something to consider when adding more store locations or warehouse space.
4. Placement of Cameras and Sensors
Cameras should be positioned to cover all access points into and out of your store. One or multiple cameras should record traffic near the cash register. Consider using ceiling-mounted dome cameras to capture a wider area, such as sales floors and storerooms. Parking lots and garages need to be monitored, as well. For extra protection, motion sensors can also be placed at all entrances, exits, windows, or other points of entry. Always look for blind spots and try to eliminate them through positioning your employees, displays, or other creative ways that take up space.
Video Surveillance Laws
Your video surveillance provides you with valuable evidence regarding suspect identification. It can also provide direct evidence pertaining to lawsuits and worker’s compensation claims. Following surveillance laws specific to your state will help you avoid costly mistakes.
All video footage needs to have a date stamp and proof that there was no tampering. Also, setting up a regular security audit will guide store policies in handling and storing video recordings. This includes regular maintenance checks to show that the equipment is in good working order.
Always consult with your lawyer(s) on how to treat video as evidence. They can guide you concerning when you should share it and with whom. Following their advice and the laws of your state can save you time in court.