3 Tips on How to Buy a Successful Video Surveillance System

ESC Logo (image)

ESC-installed dome camera with video analytics. (image)
ESC-installed dome camera with video analytics.

The value of video surveillance in commercial settings is widely known and accepted. Over the years, the general public has come to understand that a picture is truly more effective than a thousand words.

For example, when a robbery occurs, the video is immediately pulled and given to law enforcement for their use. There’s a chain of evidence that begins at your video recorder that is documented from that point throughout the process. Using that video, it’s hoped that detectives, along with the surrounding community, will be able to identify the assailant. Quite often images from this video are shared with community members through local television as well as over the Internet. Using this method, by establishing a tip line and an award offering it’s often possible to apprehend and arrest the individual(s) involved.

There’s a whole list of do’s and don’ts to be aware of when buying and installing a video surveillance system for your commercial retail business. In this article we’ll include the most important ones you need to know about.

#1. Camera Placement

Overt domed camera (image)
Overt domed camera.

Where you put cameras is extremely important and where you fail to install them is likewise important to the overall security of your investment as well as your personnel. The objective is to make it obvious to the perpetrator that he’s on video and that anything he does from this point forward will not go unnoticed or unpunished.

With this in mind, the very first camera to install is one overlooking the entrance. Because this camera is hanging on the wall or ceiling looking right at him or her, they automatically know that there’s a record of their being there at that time.

Cameras also are positioned overlooking the cashier, the counter, as well as throughout a variety of aisles. Special attention should also be paid to special areas of the store, such as the liquor and cigarette sections. Not only are these cameras good to go during business hours, they also will help to identify criminals who break in after hours.

#2. Recording Video

It’s likewise important that you record your video surveillance images on a digital device with enough storage space to hold at least a week’s worth of video per camera. Good choices are DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) as well as NVRs (Network Video Recorders). DVRs are good when using older analog cameras that use standard coaxial cable where NVRs are used when working with modern IP (Internet Protocol) cameras.

Recording video catches thieves in the act for documentation (image)
Recording video catches thieves in the act for documentation.

If you have analog cameras and you one day plan to update or add onto your system using modern IP cameras, then I recommend that you purchase a HDVR (Hybrid Digital Video Recorder) because they will work with both. IP cameras are better than analog models, and because the average price of an IP camera has come down over the past few years, they’re now affordable to smaller businesses.

Remote archiving of your video is also a great idea for several reasons. First, there are times when smart criminals will not only break in and take things, but they also will steal the DVR/NVR and when that happens, there will likely be no record of the perpetrator at all. Having video sent to a Cloud-based video archiving system assures that if this happens, the perpetrator(s) can be identified and brought to justice.

#3. Don’t Buy on Price Alone

When it comes to cameras, buy on quality, not price. (image)
When it comes to cameras, buy on quality, not price.

You’ve heard the old adage time and again, “don’t buy the cheapest thing out there.” Here’s why: “Because it won’t give you the results you’re looking for and so you won’t be happy.”

A good example of this is an installation we did a number of years ago where we were competing against a company who had proposed the cheapest thing that they could give. The cost of the cameras to the client was in the $50 range and the company itself was actually a one-man show—what we commonly call a “trunk slammer.”

Based on what the client told us during our initial meeting, it was clear to me that they required quality cameras with a price tag in the $250 per camera area. Needless to say, the prospect ended up buying the cheapest thing he could get.

Within a year, they were back on the phone with us asking for help. Evidently there was a shoplifting incident and the camera overlooking the door was unable to give the police a good enough image for identification purposes. We replaced key cameras with the more expensive models and so the next time an incident took place, identification was now possible.

Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Allan Colombo, ESC Media Director
Email: ESC@Tpromo.Com
Electronic Systems Consultants LLC (ESC) offers a full line of quality analog and IP cameras along with the DVR, NVR, and HDVR you need for a quality installation. Our installers are the best at what they do, and when we’re finished, you have our satisfaction guarantee. ESC offers the best video surveillance available for the least investment. Give us a call today at 614-754-1393, send an email to ESC@tpromo.com, or use the convenient contact form below:

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