Anybody who has watched reality television lately knows that crime and business often collide with disastrous results in terms of damage to humans and costs to the business itself. Unlike a normal television broadcast, CCTV is not meant for widespread distribution, even though the system may contain wifi capabilities. The purpose of video surveillance is twofold. First, the cameras themselves are meant as a form of deterrent to would-be criminals. Secondly, the cameras serve as a record that may be viewed later on in the investigation of a crime or suspected crime.
Most people are aware of the black-and-white recordings from CCTV monitoring. These systems are less expensive than their color counterparts. They also have an advantage of being more sensitive to light, which makes them a better pick for late night monitoring of darkened spaces. However, color systems are becoming less expensive and of better quality, and are showing up more and more in daytime situations.
Aside from costs, CCTV monitoring also raises legal questions. While most jurisdictions allow video surveillance in areas generally open into the public, there still remain questions about audio recording, which falls under eavesdropping laws and is subject to more scrutiny. Any business owner seeking to install a system should seek legal advice before installation of a surveillance system, especially one that includes audio. Though in fact many manufacturers of video systems do not even sell systems that record audio.
In addition to the cost of installation of the system itself, many businesses marry video systems with VCR/DVR recordings for future use. These videos must be stored for a sufficient amount of time until it is determined that they are no longer needed. While this used to require warehouses to store massive amounts of tape, today that same data can be stored in smaller computer hard drives, subject to compression and size limits. This is also sometimes subject to legal questions, so consulting with an attorney is recommended.
CCTV monitoring is an important part of the war against crime. Advances in video technology have brought down the costs of such systems while improving overall quality. At the same time these systems represent a legal liability if installed carelessly or without regard to local, state, and national regulations.