When you find out there is a problem in your home or business and you decide that electronic surveillance equipment like CCTV or hidden cameras may be the answer, you are then faced with the choice, to catch or deter, or both.
In this blog we will discuss the pros and cons of each and some simple methods to improve the effectiveness of either.
The first thing to consider is that a covert camera will catch someone and a visible camera will deter someone or move the crime to a new location. Moving the crime is an important consideration as a poorly placed CCTV camera will be ineffective if the actual criminal act is not happening exactly where it is pointed.
So how can you make sure that you do both, well the best method is to funnel the criminal into a controlled location where you can catch them, this is done by placing your overt or visible security cameras in locations where you effectively push the crim into an area where they feel safe knowing there are no cameras watching them, and then nab them with a covert camera.
This can even be achieved with a dummy camera or two as well as your existing security cameras as we did in the following installation.
The bottle shop man
Some time ago we had a client who owned a bottle shop and the staff were scamming him by buying hot slabs of beer from him behind his back and selling cold six packs and pocketing the cash, this went on for years and no matter how hard the client tried, he could never catch them, and worse than that, he had no evidence as the books always balanced, however he knew there was an issue as warm slabs of beer were becoming the best seller and cold six packs never got sold anymore. He also noticed a big hit to the businesses bottom line and profits became tight.
This client already had a functioning CCTV system that was clearly installed without the thought of catching, or even reducing the crime with camera placements in very generic positions.
The client came to see us and we arranged a meeting after hours and had a look at the site, where we quickly were able to ascertain that the staff would had plenty of hidey holes where they could pocket some cash without being seen, so we recommended that we relocate his cameras to useful positions, add some new cameras with better resolution and a covert camera at chest height beside the till.
The client agreed, so we went to work and added the covert camera and new cameras after hours, and we also added a dummy camera on the other side of the till to force the staff to face the covert camera by turning their back to the dummy camera if they were to steal money.
The next day we went on site and the client announced we were upgrading the system so there was no suspicion about the new dummy camera and we completed the upgrades and left.
It was just the following day that the client called thanking us that they had the perfect shot of one of the staff members turning her back on the dummy camera and unknowingly facing the covert camera and stuffing money into her underwear. We insisted he do nothing yet and wait a week to see who else is involved.
A week later we called to check in and he told us it was perfect, he caught several staff members pocketing cash and they all fell straight into the trap we set by forcing them to face the covert camera.
The lesson of this story is that by thinking about how people will act when they see a visible camera, you can move the crime into a specific controlled environment where you have a cleverly concealed covert camera and put an end to a problem that may have been plaguing you for years.