As a business owner, one of your main priorities is making sure your business is safe. A popular solution is to install a surveillance system that allows you to deter criminal activity and monitor daily operations without always having to maintain a physical presence in your establishment.
Why should you install surveillance equipment?
There are three main reasons why it's important for you to install surveillance equipment in your commercial property.
- Deter theft - Businesses are often targeted by criminal elements, and these can be outsides and even employees. Strategically placed surveillance cameras will help put your mind at ease as it can act as a deterrent to any threat of theft.
- Monitor your workforce - Increase productivity among your employees by taking notes of their work habits, so you can identify potential areas of improvement. Surveillance equipment can also make your employees feel safe, especially if they're stationed in workplace areas that are isolated.
- Fight unlawful claims - Worst-case scenario: an accident or unlawful incident took place in your establishment. Speed up the investigation process and manage insurance claims by checking your surveillance equipment's business recordings. Aside from settling disputes, this will also help you review safety issues and resolve the problem.
Types of surveillance cameras
There are several types of surveillance cameras that will prove to be beneficial to your business.
- Dome - Discreet and covers a wide area, dome cameras are mounted on the ceiling.
- Bullet - Bullet cameras come in indoor and outdoor varieties. Unlike dome cameras, bullet cameras are highly visible and usually mounted under roofs and in corners. They are also usually inexpensive and easy to install.
- Spy - Very discreet, spy cameras are effective in monitoring activity without arousing any suspicion. The downside, however, is that the recording length and quality suffers due to the camera's small size.
- Dummy - As the name implies, a dummy camera only consists of the outer shell and does not function at all. You can still use this to deter theft because well, it still looks like a real camera.
Surveillance cameras also come in a wide range of varieties. We highly suggest color cameras for your business.
Laws on video surveillance
Laws regarding video surveillance vary in every state in the United States. As a responsible business owner, take time to sit down with a legal expert to understand the specific laws in your state. The following are some of the laws that are more or less common across the country.
- Laws on cameras and mirrors - Businesses in the U.S. are allowed to install surveillance and security cameras in areas that are deemed open and publicly accessible. Areas where privacy is to be expected such as locker rooms, restrooms, and changing rooms, however, are off limits.
- Laws on voice recording - Although U.S. laws allow the recording of video footage in businesses, voice recording without consent is still widely regarded as against the law. Videos with sound are allowed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 as long as it meets two conditions: it occurs with the employee's consent, and it is part of the daily business operations.
- Permissible evidence - Business security videos can be used as permissible evidence in the court of law in most states. A lot of states also allow employers to terminate their employees based on information gathered from video surveillance.
Since video surveillance laws differ in every state, we highly recommend consulting with a lawyer to make sure you understand the legal ramifications of installing surveillance equipment.
Before you buy...
It's important to remember the following:
- Understand the video surveillance laws in your state;
- Take note of the specific needs of your business. This way, you'll be able to shop for the right kind of surveillance system for your business.