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FOCUS: Business/Commercial Crime Prevention

“Tips for the purchase, installation and maintenance of CCTV recording systems”

The prevalence of CCTV in the commercial environment has proved to be both a criminal deterrent and an effective investigative too. While the presence of CCTV has become very common, almost expected, there is still need to define how to create a system that will provide the most benefit when the images captured need to be utilized after a crime has been committed. This tip sheet will provide some useful considerations for ensuring that the system chosen yields the desired results. Not all environments are the same or have the same risk. The following information is applicable in most circumstances. Be sure to consult an industry professional before making any purchase and installation decisions.

Before buying a CCTV recording system, evaluate your needs. Do you just want to monitor general comings and goings or do you want to be able to see faces? This is an important clarification. Monitoring general comings and goings is often a deterrent to employee related workplace risks while the need to see faces provides more accuracy of who is coming and going and will provide employers / Investigators with more useable information.


1. CCTV security cameras produce images using CMOS or CCD chips. Tiny and very low price CCTV cameras usually use CMOS technology and produce poor quality video.

2. Look for CCD technology cameras for better quality video. Minimum camera resolution should be 640 x 480 in order to provide facial recognition. The higher the resolution number, the sharper the image will be.

3. Megapixel IP cameras can capture High Definition Video and provide greater detail, improving identification.

4. There are two main types of Digital Video Recorders: PC-based DVR’s and Standalone DVR’s.

5. PC based DVR’s are built around a PC running on the Windows operating system. PC based DVR’s are easier to use, more feature-rich, and usually cost more than standalone DVR’s. You can add more cameras to a PC-based DVR at a later time by adding additional video capture cards or extension cards.

6. Standalone DVR’s run on Linux operating systems that are designed to run a single application. Standalone DVRs are not as feature-rich as PC based DVRs but they are more cost-effective. The Standalone DVR’s software provides live view, remote access, camera control and other basic administrative functions.


1. Basic setup problems reduce the performance of many CCTV surveillance systems.

Cameras should be positioned as close to eye level as possible in key transaction points such as cash registers, exits and entrances for a clear view of the subject.

2. Have a good sight plan with no blind spots caused by lights or signage on the ceiling.

3. Provide adequate lighting to capture images in both day and night.

4. Exterior camera coverage can capture useable information, such as vehicle information or the activity of a criminal prior to entering a structure. For example, robbers often park and prepare for their crime outside of a business. Being aware of what happens on the exterior can be as crucial as what happens on the interior.

5. DVR setup is important to get the best image detail. Recording for longer periods of time reduces the quality of the video. Setting the DVR to record for 2 weeks or less will provide more detail than recording for several weeks.

6. Since DVRs are constantly running, it is a good idea to know a few basic maintenance tips to keep it working efficiently. Try to keep your DVR in a well ventilated area with a bit of air flow. DVRs tend to collect a lot of dust and can clog the system and hamper your DVR’s ability to work correctly. Use a can of compressed air and clean your DVR out every month or so.

7. A good preventative measure to protect your DVR is to make sure and connect it to a power surge device which will help prevent an unwanted power surge from overloading and frying your DVRs circuitry.

8. Make sure camera lenses and enclosures are cleaned regularly. Have a regular maintenance and repair plan and take care of problems as soon as they occur.

9. Be sure that video is available for viewing as soon as police arrive on scene. The sooner images are viewed, the better and this expediency allows for a more thorough initial investigation and crime scene processing. Employees need to know how to operate a system for quick viewing.

The above information is provided as a courtesy only and intended as basic information for consideration when making decisions for any business/commercial environment. For best results, seek out additional information before implementing a CCTV system.

For more information visit:

Best Practices for CCTV Systems:

Implementing Successful Video Security Systems:—Implementing-Successful-Video-Security-Systems&id=995709