Friday, November 2, 2007

Lights... Camera... Action...

Many businesses these days have cameras installed to record the activities of customers, employees and criminals. These cameras are great tools for law enforcement, when they are installed and used properly.

I have a few problem businesses in my town that have dysfunctional, or just non-functional, camera systems. It is absolutely maddening to ask for video of a theft or other incident and be told, "Oh, our cameras don't work". Then there are the businesses with cameras, but no tapes for the VCR, or no discs for the DVD burner.

I also try to encourage business owners / managers to properly aim their cameras. You can install a super duper, High Definition, maxi-color, wide screen camera with a half gainer and a triple backflip, but if it's pointing at the floor, it's worthless. Cameras need to cover entrances and exits, and be at an angle that will see faces, not the tops of heads. I don't really care if the guy who robbed your store was wearing an Oakland Raiders hat if I can't tell what race he is.

Unfortunately, it seems that the businesses with the really great camera systems, are the ones that really don't need it. The businesses that get robbed, forged, frauded, and burgled mostly have genuinely shitty camera systems. I don't know why. Somebody should pass a law that if you're gonna have a camera system, it should be done properly.

When I catch somebody based upon a great screen capture from a great camera system, it's always fun to say "Smile, you're on Candid Camera!"


USAincognito said...

Cameras are a great help in deterring crime and in solving crimes - as long as they are installed and used properly. We showed up once to a company that had dummy cameras. Apparently the thief was smart and knew that, too.
PS. When I manage to get a day off I am going to try to catch up on some of your posts here. Really enjoying reading a fellow officer's blog! :)

Officer "Smith" said...

Dummy cameras are quite easy to pick out if you know what to look for. Why bother? Even if you don't record it, a single REAL camera hooked to a monitor where everyone can see it is a HUGE deterrent. You know, like when you walk into Wal Mart and see yourself on the screen.