CCTV or not to CCTV?
We are finding clients are moving on because once CCTV is installed, they now feel safer. We are also having a significant number of new clients who have discovered that CCTV is not the miracle cure that some people think.
CCTV is wonderful. The more the merrier. The problems that are arising are both physical and legal.
Criminals are wearing balaclavas and gloves. We are watching them on camera going about their business and ignoring the cameras. While other traits may be picked up in certain situations, it doesn't happen very frequently. When all we can see is their eyes, and no fingerprints are being left behind because of gloves, there is minimum benefit to relying just on CCTV.
Another minefield. Have you personally notified each criminal that you have CCTV and that he or she is being recorded? If you haven't then you aren't complying with CCTV regulations and any evidence obtained from CCTV will be removed from any court case. The criminal could hold up a card with his name and number, but unless he has been notified in advance of the cameras etc, that evidence is non-admissable in court. At a minimum, signage stating that you have CCTV and it is being recorded must be displayed on all points of entry including the roof if your building has one. This also means windows etc. Knowing who the criminal is, is one thing. Actually getting him or her before a judge takes more than just fancy pictures.
Don't buy cheap cameras or recorders. Cameras should be at least 2MP but 5-8MP is better. Proper night vision capability or permenant lighting (not sensor lighting). Use IP based technology. Forget co-ax. Secure the recorder where the criminals can't access it. Check the cameras at 2am when there is no moonlight. Remote access is normal these days so make this an option. Make yourself aware of CCTV rules. These apply to everybody, not just businesses.
NO!. If you only have have dummy cameras, or the dummy cameras are the only obvious ones, and you have signage stating that the store has CCTV, you are asking for major trouble. Don't do it. There are incidents where the public have relied on stores having CCTV to record incidents, only to find that the CCTV Cameras are dummy cameras. Payouts to the public (from stores) are hundreds of thousands in each case.
CCTV is good, but not the holy grail. Combine it with a good back to base alarm system and response system, and you are on your way to effective security.