If you own a business, you know that theft occurs by your customers and employees. Employee theft exceeds $8.5 billion annually! 75% of inventory shortages are attributed to employee theft. (National Restaurant Association). It’s been reported that over 75% of internal theft is undetected, and growing at a 15% annual rate (Justice Department). All this dishonesty costs American businesses between ½% and 3% of their gross sales! Even 1% costs over one billion dollars a week in employee theft.
If you own a business, you know that theft occurs by your customers
and employees. Employee theft exceeds $8.5 billion annually! 75% of
inventory shortages are attributed to employee theft. (National
Restaurant Association). It’s been reported that over 75% of internal
theft is undetected, and growing at a 15% annual rate (Justice
Department). All this dishonesty costs American businesses between ½%
and 3% of their gross sales! Even 1% costs over one billion dollars a
week in employee theft.
The results of all this? 30% of business failures are due to poor
hiring practices by hiring thieves. Annual losses generated by poor
hires, absenteeism, drug abuse, and theft amount to $75 billion per
year. (U.S. Department of Commerce-Atlanta Business Chronicle.). While
we can’t screen your employees, you can keep an eye on them, and a
video surveillance system is one of the best ways to do it.
When choosing a video surveillance camera system, there are several things to consider:
- Hidden Cameras vs. Visible Cameras
- Wireless Cameras vs. Wired Cameras
- Indoor Systems vs. Outdoor Systems
- Video Recording vs. DVR Recording
Hidden Cameras vs. Visible Cameras
Hidden Cameras The first thing you want to consider is
whether you want your cameras to be visible or not. Modern technology
has reduced a video camera down to miniature levels. Hidden cameras can
be hidden behind a pinhole, and can be put in practically any everyday
item in your house or office, in a briefcase or backpack, or even
hidden in a hat or behind a button. The advantage is that the criminal
won’t know they are being recorded, and you should catch more theft.
Hidden cameras could be more expensive then visible cameras.
Visible Cameras A visible camera system consists of any
number of visible cameras from the black dome cameras you see in most
stores, to the old fashioned kinds on brackets pointing at you at the
bank. There are also high resolution cameras that can zoom in to tight
detail. The advantages of these types of systems is that your criminal
will know they are being watched, and that should deter a lot of crime
that normally would occur without the cameras.
Even a series of dummy camera’s, camera bodies with no working parts
except a flashing red light, are proven to deter crime. If you don’t
have the funds for a working video surveillance system, just installing
four to twelve dummy cameras fools the criminal into thinking you have
a real system in place.
Wireless Cameras vs. Wired Cameras
You have two choices for the type of surveillance system, wireless and wired. Both have advantages and disadvantages;
Wireless Camera System
Wireless camera systems are the
fastest systems to install, as you just need to mount the cameras, hook
up the wireless receiver in the back room, and wire it all together to
a power box and some type of system to record the video.
The advantages of wireless cameras are that they can be installed in
locations that are difficult, if not impossible to wire. They can be
moved to different locations easily, as often as you like, and if the
need arises, they can be hidden inside a moving object like inside your
cloth, cap, briefcase or carrying bag etc.
To overcome the disadvantages of a wireless camera, you should buy
one with a higher frequency transmission band of at least 1.2GHz or
above. If you need to take video from the wireless camera a long
distance from the receiver, or there are walls, metallic or steel
obstacles between the wireless camera and the receiver, you should buy
a wireless model with a higher transmission power, that is, a
transmitter with longer transmission distance. Another good idea is to
use a high gain antenna for the transmitter or receiver, which will
improve the signal transmission/reception.
The disadvantages of wireless cameras are that the video stream
might be disturbed or influenced by moving objects or strong radio or
even telephone frequencies. Video/audio transmission is limited within
the prescribed transmission range. These disadvantages will not occur
with a wired camera.
Wireless camera systems are also more expensive than wired systems,
as they require a lot of receivers and transmitters to received the
video that normally would run in the inexpensive wires. However, the
costs are usually worth it, as it could cost less to install, and less
to relocated. Overall, the video/audio signals from a wireless camera
are less stable than a wireless camera.
Wired Camera SystemsWired camera systems are more stable due
to the cable, which doesn’t have the interference problems associated
with wireless systems. You need to run a video cable to each camera in
order to get a video feed. You will have to run the wire either through
the walls and ceiling, or have it exposed on the wall. While the cost
of the system is less than a wireless system, it will require more work
to install, and if you are paying someone, it might cost more than
buying a wireless system.
You should look at the total costs to purchase and install both
systems and go with what is best for you. Overall, the video/audio
signals from a wired camera are more stable than a wireless camera.
Indoor Systems vs. Outdoor SystemsDepending on your needs,
you will need a camera for indoor or outdoor needs. If you need to
monitor your loading dock, you will need a camera that can withstand
the elements. Unless it’s specifically sold as an outdoor camera, a
regular camera can’t withstand the beating from Mother Nature that a
weatherproof camera can endure.
You can find many types of outdoor camera, dome, bullet, and
standard. All are enclosed in waterproof cases and some even have
heaters for cold areas. You can also buy hardened cameras that will
withstand direct hits from bats and hammers. These are recommended in
high crime areas.
Video vs. DVR RecordingYou need to determine if you want to
record the activity, or just hire someone to monitor it. It’s a good
idea to record the video so you can give a copy to law enforcement for
future needs. You have two choices, VCR or DVD.
VCR allows you to record the video with a Video Cassette Recorder
(VCR) directly to a VHS tape. You can use a bank of standard VCR’s, or
there are high density VCR’s that allow you to record days of video.
Some come with motion detectors and won’t record unless the video
changes. The disadvantages are that you have to know about what time
the event occurred, or you will have to review all the tape
sequentially, or on fast forward.
The latest technology is using a DVR or PC based DVR system to
record the video to disc. The advantages are a DVD can be burned from
the digital recording. This is the easiest system to review your
recordings, as you can jump ahead to any point in the recording, unlike
the VHS tape. The initial cost will be larger than a VCR system, though
you won’t need to buy tapes, and the ease of use will be worth the
extra money for a DVR based system.
You have two types of DVR systems, DVR recorder and PC based. DVR
recorders feed the video directly into the hard drive or disc on the
recorder and you either burn the disc, or back up the hard drive. These
come in a variety of sizes, from standard sizes for indoor uses, down
to field use DVRs the size of a pack of cigarettes that can record up
to 60 hours of video from a hidden surveillance camera.
Your other option is the PC based surveillance system that uses a
Personal Computer, a video capture card, and software as a control
center that can not only record the video and burn it to disc, a quad
can be installed to monitor the feeds on real time over a computer
screen, and break it up into quadrants to monitor multiple cameras at
the same time, in real time.
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