Property crime violations account for more than 1 million infractions in Canada each year; this does not include the figure for robberies, which account for more than 23,000 crimes per year. These incidents range from breaking and entering to theft, with almost half (471,000) being theft of belongings worth less than $5,000.
With figures like these, many businesses start to consider their surveillance camera needs. These types of cameras can be exceptionally helpful in a variety of ways, including preventing crimes in the first place when potential criminals might avoid areas where they know cameras are present, as well as catching criminals in the act.
Cameras can also deter potential employee dishonesty, as well as shoplifting, which are major areas of loss for many retail businesses. The problem is that many security companies provide businesses with products that do not specifically address their individual security problems. This leads to inadequate services and the installation of inferior products.
Here, we want to provide you with a full checklist of what you should consider when buying a surveillance camera system for your Toronto business.
1) Analog versus digital systems.
In today’s digital age, it is small wonder that most people opt for digital instead of analog systems. It is important to understand the difference, so you can ensure you have the right solution for your needs. An analog system will typically have a camera that would be attached to a recording device via a coaxial cable, such as a VCR. This is also known as closed-circuit television (CCTV).
A digital system will usually be IP-based, and will offer the use of digital cameras capable of transmitting signals to digital recorders or network recorders. This is more flexible and allows for viewing from remote locations. Virtually all businesses will benefit from a digital system versus the outdated analog counterpart.
Do you want your cameras to be hidden, or out in the open? Generally, the answer to this question is that you should have cameras visible in places where you want to deter people from committing crimes in the first place. When people see a camera, they know that their activities are being monitored, and are much less likely to steal or vandalize property. This goes for customers, employees, and people who might attempt to gain access to your business illegally.
Hidden cameras may seem clever, and may be useful for some businesses. However, ultimately your goal is to prevent loss, not to catch criminals in the act and have to go through legal channels to restore what you have lost. Therefore, it is usually best to have visible cameras in secure locations on the premises.
If you need further encouragement, consider that 60% of convicted burglars have stated they will consider the presence of security camera surveillance systems when selecting a potential target. Over 40% indicated that the presence of such cameras would be a deciding factor in selecting a different target.
3) Picture quality.
Good picture quality is often a priority, depending on where the cameras will be located and the area they are intended to cover. Systems can range from resolutions of 420 lines up to HD 1080p. Obviously, the costs for these types of systems will also vary.
If you are monitoring indoor spaces of about 50 feet, and using a fixed system, then typically, lower resolutions are acceptable. You should be able to get enough detail to identify individuals involved in altercations at such a close range. If, on the other hand, you want a crisp, sharp picture or need to cover longer ranges, then resolutions of more than 700 lines tend to be better.
When monitoring outdoor areas, weatherproofing is a must. While some businesses will go without it for cameras that are fully covered by awnings, it is still a consideration to make for your surveillance camera in Toronto. Otherwise, if leakage of the awning occurs, or severe weather conditions cause excessive wind, you could find your expensive outdoor monitoring system damaged beyond repair.
Do you need to monitor indoor spaces, or are you concerned with outdoor recording? What are the most active areas of your business you need to monitor, and why? Share your thoughts with us so we can better understand the needs of our local business community.
5) Storage space.
As you record video footage, you will need more and more space on your system for accumulated video. An experienced professional should be able to help you calculate the storage you need based on the number of cameras you have, the picture quality, and your chosen framerate. You should also consider how long you want to store video, and if you want to keep the footage available for long periods of time after recording, or simply want to have it available on a day-to-day basis, to pull when incidents occur.
6) Desired framerate.
The framerate you select will be part of determining the quality of the video you end up viewing. If you have a low framerate of, for example, 7.5 fps (frames per second), your video will take up much less storage space. However, the video will appear choppy, like a slide show. 15 fps will still appear fairly choppy, while 30 fps is generally accepted as flowing the same way a typical video would flow. It is important to balance out storage considerations with video flow, to ensure you capture what is necessary while avoiding overburdening your system and network.
What other factors are important to your business when it comes to selecting the right security system camera? What features would you want to see? If you are currently in the market for a surveillance system, then use this guide as a comprehensive checklist of factors you can consider, and contact Veridin directly to learn more about the features of the systems we can provide for you.