The CCTV cameras are easy to set up, are proved to be effective and have been especially employed in streets, schools, stores, banks, government offices, hospitals, public and private institutions. There are a few roles that CCTV systems play in reducing crimes, assaults and assist to police investigations (Skills for Security, 2010). CCTV cameras capture images of offences taking place (detection). In some cases this leads to the removal of an offender’s ability to break a law (crime deterrence). The potential offender becomes aware of the presence of CCTV, assesses the risks of breaking in a location and chooses either not to take action or to go ahead elsewhere (Skills for Security, 2010).
On the other hand, the real story for me is about the failure of CCTV to deter people from committing crimes during England Riots. From my point of view, the deterrence theory of surveillance had no connection with the motivations of the rioters. The theory of street crime as a rational act then failed. Evidence of the CCTV deployment shows where CCTV does work and that is for example in garages, banks, shops etc. In this case, CCTV system makes perfect sense as part of burglar alarm that switches on for instance when the glass breaks. Generally, people behave according to their social contract, the collection of rules that impose them together by instilling with internal surveillance in the form of regulation and aspiration. For this reason, CCTV systems are an invitation to walk away from the contract and their duty to one another, to become the lawlessness the CCTV is meant to prevent. The CCTV devices also introduce self-discipline.
In this respect, everyone can be constantly reminded of the risks that they have to be aware of at all times. They can accordingly change their behaviour by trying to increase their alertness. CCTV cameras can then produce self-discipline through fear of surveillance, if real or imagined. The belief that CCTV alone can counter complex social problems is unrealistic in the extreme (Skills for Security, 2010). CCTV can work the best alongside other measures to generate some changes and there is still a lot to be learnt about how to use it to the greatest effect.
In addition, CCTV cameras allow those monitoring the scene to determine whether police assistance is required. This crime prevention mechanism requires that police can respond in a timely manner to any significant incidents identified by CCTV operators, and that the local criminal justice system can pursue the offenders’ conviction (Skills for Security, 2010). The availability of local resources is crucial factor in the success of this mechanism. CCTV footage can also help identify potential witnesses who might not otherwise come forward to police. Therefore, this ensures that police resources are called out only when necessary (efficient deployment) (Skills for Security, 2010).
The CCTV systems that security companies set up nowadays are already fully integrated and complete with security lighting, access control and alarms. For this reason, clients can be offered top of the line security (Skills for Security, 2010). As examples of those systems, I would recommend 3 models: V-CR420 is a card reader with a built-in 4MP wide angle IP Camera. The card reader recognizes ID cards and grants access accordingly. This all in one solution eliminates the need of installing and maintaining a separate camera in addition to the card reader. LGWP is a detector, well established in the market and recognized as a reliable product with excellent wireless communication capabilities. It has the additional feature of twin dual sensors with mirror/ lens optics and Infra Red anti-masking. PIH-7535DHPL is a PTZ camera from Merit Lilin featuring 35x optical zoom, super high resolution, Day/Night, 4 patrols with self learn, Alarm Schedule and Position set-up.
The basic functions of CCTV Systems
The basic CCTV system consists of a camera (imaging device), transmission medium (connecting cable) and monitor. Larger CCTV systems use more cameras (which can be remotely controlled); include multiple viewing points (monitors, controllers, multiplexers); use a variety of transmission mediums to send the signal from the camera to viewing device (coaxial cable, fibre optic, twisted pair, landlines or wireless transmission via microwave) (Skills for Security, 2010). Recorders store video images and printers generate a “hard copy” of selected images. Switching devices allow operators to select specific cameras and direct their output to specific monitoring instruments. Controllers permit operators to point the camera at an area of interest and to zoom in or out (Skills for Security, 2010).
The quality of any security system depends on the weakest link which is often the cameras where the image creation stage is the most difficult to understand and the easiest to get wrong. Cameras’ assemblies can be grouped into fixed, pan/tilt/zoom, covert, overt and dome (Skills for Security, 2010).
In order to select the correct camera, there is a need to clearly understand a range of selection and performance criteria which can combine or conflict when putting together an integrated CCTV system. The quality of the camera is dependent on the lens. A first point to remember is that not all lenses fit all cameras. The issue of the lens mount must be taken into account. A second factor with lenses is if they are fixed focus or varifocal. Lenses are also offered in different focal lengths (Skills for Security, 2010).
There are specific requirements that control the screen images sizes for the recognition and detection of individuals. For this reason, a lens calculator should always be used when selecting and installing cameras (Skills for Security, 2010). Today, most cameras capture their images on solid-state sensors, known as a Charged Coupled Device (CCD). The CCD camera has greater light sensitivity than other types of camera, giving it larger operational range. The resolution of a CCD camera is measured in pixels.
Basically, resolution is the amount of picture detail, the greater the resolution, and the better the picture quality. Most CCD cameras are colour, due to the advantages of a colour picture for identification purposes. However, colour cameras require decent lighting to provide good images (Skills for Security, 2010). Monochrome cameras are also sensitive to natural and actively generated infrared light and can therefore be used in nighttime applications where normal lighting is not preferable or acceptable.
Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras are able to monitor external activity over a wide area and provide the advantage of allowing an operator to zoom in on suspicious activity. PTZ cameras also have disadvantages, such as: they are very expensive in comparison with regular fixed cameras; require a stronger mounting due to their increased weight and do not provide 24/7 coverage of a given location due to the fact that their direction of view is altered when operated manually.
Dome Cameras create an impression of 360° surveillance. There are two types of dome camera available, the first is a simple fixed camera and the second type is a fully functioning PTZ assembly suitable for internal or external use, providing full 360° coverage. Panning is very quick; this system can be operated manually, set to “patrol” through various sequences or a combination of both.
CCTV – Implications for Security Managers
Regardless of the technologies used in designing and implementing a CCTV security system, there are a number of issues that must be addressed in all situations (Skills for Security, 2010). First, what information does a client/security manager want the system to provide?
There are three basic possible answers: Detection – indicate something is happening in the field of interest. Recognition – determine exactly what is happening. Identification – determine who is involved in the activity.
Second, there is a need for a different type of specification – the performance specification which specifies not what the system should be but what a client/ security manager want it to be capable of doing under defined conditions. In this way, there is a clear and written understanding between the purchaser and installer that the system must comply to agreed performance parameters (Skills for Security, 2010). This particular point will be important once the system is in use and it does not work as agreed. If a client/ security manager agree a technical specification and the installer installs what they ask for but it then does not give the quality that they require then it may be more difficult for them to put it right (Skills for Security, 2010).
Third, the starting point for any CCTV performance specification is to first draw up an operational requirement (OR). A clear understanding of the operational requirement is fundamental to the design, test and operation of an effective and economic CCTV system. The operational requirement provides all of the information that the security manager requires to begin the (OR) process including examples and checklists for CCTV planning and implementation (Skills for Security, 2010).
CCTV may not be able to completely reduce crime or deter criminals; however it is used effectively to target specific offences. Furthermore, there is no doubt that it is a powerful and innovative weapon in the security/ police arsenal and it widely helps in controlling crime and giving moral support to the law.
Skills for Security (2010) Level 3 Security Operations