CCTV and Catching the Criminal

So, many times when I talk to customers, they ask me few questions that seem to be more common than others. I will try to answer and explain some things regarding those frequently asked questions or FAQ about CCTV Systems, Security Cameras and right way to use them.

Q: Will I be able to clearly see the person’s face on the camera, so I can give it to the police?

A: In some cases yes. But camera would need to be located at the entrance or exit door and focus on the face. In open area like parking lot, or outside of the building it is almost impossible to capture clear mug shot.

Q: If I can’t get the clear shot of the face, how can I catch the criminal and what is the point of putting Surveillance Cameras?

A: In case of “little crimes” you don’t really need a face shot. Remember, just because someone broke into your car, and you do have a mug shot of the person, it doesn’t mean that police will be able to catch this criminal. They will not go through their data base to look for the match. But if you report it to the police and even if you don’t have a mug shot, you can still help catching this criminal. Police will look at other features like skin color, hair color, tattoos, clothes, way person walks, hair style etc. They will be patrolling the area and if they see someone matching description, they may stop this person and get ID or even compare it to the video. Even if they don’t arrest that person, most likely this person will move to different area knowing that Police is aware of his/her identity.

Q: Can I get license plate on the Security Camera?

A: Yes, but only if there is a camera located at the entrance/exit from parking lot, garage etc. Car needs to be passing slowly through narrow space so the camera can be focus just there to get tags.

Q: Can I get the license plates of cars parking next to my house or cars on the open parking lot?

A: Usually no.

Q: So what is the point of putting camera?

A: As with the face shot, license plate may not be the most important in catching the criminal. Usually person committing crime lives, works or just hangs out in the same area. Getting make of the car, color, specific detail like bumper sticker, ladder rack, big rims, tinted windows etc. is already big help in catching this criminal. If you report it to the police, they will be for a lookout for this specific car. If they car matching description, they will pull it over for questioning. Believe it or not, but in many cases stolen merchandise is still in the car. In case of hit and run, there will be visible damage on the car. Even if there is no other proof, it is usually enough to scare the criminal and prevent him or her to do more bad things.

It is always very important to report every incident to the local law enforcement. File the report even if you think that there is nothing to go after. More reports you file, more attention police will be paying to your property and sooner or later they will get the person. Always provide police with the video footage from your cameras. Something that may looks like nothing to you may be very important for them. In fact, there are situations where police just by looking at the video recognized suspect. They just arrested him many times before. So don’t be hesitant calling police, only in the worst case scenario they will not be able to help you.

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10 Years experience in surveillance, CCTV, access control.
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