Common Video Surveillance Mistakes

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video surveillance mistakes

video surveillance mistakes

Security and video surveillance is a competitive industry.  There were some core problems we wanted to address when we started out in business. The first was to reduce the cost of video surveillance systems and keeping capital outlay to a minimum through a subscription model. This makes it easy for our customers to get started quickly.  The second was for our customers to always know whether or not the equipment on their site is working and is positioned correctly.  Not finding out that it isn’t when it’s too late.  Lastly, we wanted to make it easy for our customers to always have up to date equipment and someone watching when it counts most.

These are real challenges that real companies working with security providers are concerned about when using video surveillance. There are several mistakes we see over and over again. The biggest and most common mistake is not partnering with a professional security company. Choosing the right company to install and manage your video surveillance system will save time, money and bring many added benefits from the solution. There are many other mistakes that many users and some less professional suppliers make that are either wasting money or just not delivering the results hoped for.

There are three areas where video surveillance mistakes are often made:

  • People
  • Placement
  • Equipment


video surveillance mistakesPeople, touched on in the introduction, relates to the people supplying, installing, and managing the video surveillance system. It is easy to obtain and install a video surveillance system; DIY security stores sell most equipment to the public. There is nothing wrong with this if only one or two cameras are being used on a small site like a corner shop. Once you get to three or more cameras or need some non-standard features, your best bet is to work with a professional. Even on small sites, getting advice from the right people is important.

Once the right people have been chosen the next area of concern is where to place the cameras and what cameras to use.


Planning placement on and around the site is where many people make mistakes with video surveillance. Many installations work off of a plan and this is not wrong, but a plan is a two-dimensional image and does not provide a clear view of the site or actual camera position.

Since the plan was drawn, things may have changed. The view from the camera may often be blocked by trees or other foliage; storage containers; or signs. Understanding the activity in the area is something a plan cannot show.

Simple things like the angle the camera is pointed is another common mistakes with video surveillance.  Making sure the camera gets the best image of the people rather than a series of hats and hairstyles or clouds in the sky sounds simple enough, but too many video surveillance systems don’t get this right.

The levels of daylight, shadows and even exhaust gases or steam need to be considered.  Shade can make the image being filmed unclear if you’re not using the right type of camera. Too much light or positioned so that direct sun hits the lens at sunset or sunrise can cause problems and interrupt video surveillance for short periods of time. Criminals will note little mistakes like this when studying a site, they will note when sunshine or darkness can assist them most. Think like a criminal when placing your video cameras, experts in video surveillance will do this automatically.

Make sure the cameras are placed in a secure location. Crazy as it may seem security camera theft is very common and is not only an inconvenience but can be embarrassing and difficult to explain.

Once you have addressed the people and the placement for your video surveillance system the next step is to choose the equipment most suited to your needs.

video surveillance mistakesEquipment

One of the biggest video surveillance mistakes is choosing the wrong equipment. CCTV solutions are more sophisticated today than they were in the past. The choice of cameras is vast and the functionality of the cameras ranges from simple point and shoot to powerful cameras with hi-powered zoom lenses, infrared and thermal imaging, motion detecting or powerful HD recording. Static cameras, swivel cameras, cameras that auto-follow a suspect, cameras with hi definition zoom, and cameras that offer 360 degree vision are all options. The more complex sites often have a combination of one or more of the above.

The cameras are just the start of modern video surveillance. Behind what seem to be just simple cameras hides an array of software and analysis technology. This adds power to the system as well as numerous benefits. It is true, cameras can be purchased from the hardware store and installed by the home or business owner. But for the best solution, a professional security company should be used. This will allow you to take advantage of all that your system has to offer.

With the hardware, a number of considerations must be made. A common video surveillance mistake is not planning for the future and scalability. Being able to extend or upgrade your video surveillance system easily is an important consideration.

Audio should not be ignored. Microphones and audio technology for security purposes is an affordable value add. Be sure you are protected legally by checking the statutes and laws in your jurisdiction.  In many cases captured audio can make or break a case.

One of the most important elements of video surveillance is video storage and retrieval. Another common video surveillance mistake is to install the best cameras but not match them to the proper storage and retrieval. Establishing how long video should or must be kept should be part of the planning and implementation. Likewise easy retrieval or sharing of footage is an important part of the system. If you get crystal clear footage, but have no storage or retrieval plan it is virtually worthless.

Once your security system has been installed, everything is done right? Not quite, the next two mistakes that are frequently seen are failing to maintain and upgrade the system when necessary.

Maintenance and Upgrading

Video surveillance systems as with any appliance or tool needs regular maintenance. There are countless examples of video surveillance systems where equipment has fallen into disrepair and not been fixed or has become out-dated thus providing virtually useless information.

Back to one of the core problems we set out to resolve when founding SMART.  We want to ensure the upkeep and affordable long-term use of an up to date video surveillance system. The right security provider will install a system that includes maintenance and an upgrade path over and above the monitoring and other services offered.

Letting equipment fall into a state of disrepair or failing to keep up with advances in video surveillance technology are two common video surveillance mistakes. Both can be avoided and it boils down to choosing the right company to work with.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_cta h2=”” shape=”square”]SMART Security Pros is a provider of armed security services utilizing only active/retired/prior law enforcement officers as well as Remote Guard Video Surveillance services.  Shawn Scarlata is the Founder/CEO and the author of this post.

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