For many years law enforcement has relied upon surveillance video to help solve bank robberies and other similar crimes. Historically the video image has been captured by a low-resolution camera and stored on a videocassette recorder set to operate for an extended period of time. Typically this has resulted in a grainy black and white video image, which oftentimes makes it difficult to enhance or to capture usable still images. Because most video recordings of this kind rely upon a reusable VHS tape, the quality has been poor and generally has only had a limited amount of investigative value.
As technology has evolved, so has the quality and investigative value of surveillance video. The development of compact, high-resolution cameras and low cost digital video recorders has resulted in the availability of better surveillance systems used to protect more local businesses and property. The availability of inexpensive and easy to operate systems has also led to an increase in residential and mobile applications as well. In fact, during the past year Sheriff's detectives have used surveillance video to help solve property crimes such as burglaries and thefts, in addition to violent crimes that include robberies, sexual batteries and even a homicide.
Advances in technology have made video security systems affordable for residential, business, church or civic organization installations. When considering the purchase of a surveillance system, thought should be given to some important, yet basic factors. Bearing in mind that recording is essential to the effectiveness of any video security system, a primary concern should be universally compatible. A recording that cannot be easily exported and replayed without the use of special equipment or software is of little use to an investigator attempting to collect a copy for evidentiary purposes.
Another important, yet often overlooked detail when installing a surveillance system is camera placement. First and foremost cameras should always be installed in such a manner as to comply with existing privacy laws. Cameras should also be installed in such a manner as to avoid backlighting and glare from the Sun or from an artificial lighting source.
There are many different types of surveillance systems and even more types of components. If you are not sure what equipment is required, or how to install it, you may want to seek professional help from a reputable security company before making a purchase.
For additional suggestions regarding home or business security please contact the Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.