The use of security cameras is becoming more and more common throughout the world. In the United States, estimates place the sale of these cameras at more than 11 million in the last decade. The Canadian Security Industry Authority estimates that there is one camera for every 11 people in Canada. Increasingly, these systems are available in varying degrees of sophistication and cost, ensuring that there is a camera that will suit every need and budget.
What is a Security Camera?
Simply stated, a security camera is a video or still camera that captures images of activities and people in a designated area. These recorded images may be monitored continuously for real time security breaches, or reviewed after a breach has occurred to try to determine what happened. Some cameras are mounted in a fixed position, while others are capable of panning an area. Some cameras are placed in plain sight, sometimes even with warning signs that the area is under surveillance, while in other situations, the cameras are hidden. The installation depends on the physical characteristics of the area under watch and the activity that takes place.
Security cameras are appropriate for any situation where the safety and security of property or people is a concern. Here are some more common applications:
- Retail stores use surveillance cameras to help reduce theft by their presence, to identify suspicious behavior, to provide a record that can help identify perpetrators, and also to reduce staff requirements to monitor the retail floor
- Facilities requiring heightened security, like military installations, banks and government buildings, use cameras to monitor people and activity
- Cities install surveillance systems in high crime areas to help reduce criminal activity
- Countries and larger cities install surveillance equipment in sensitive areas to provide protection against terrorist and criminal attacks
- Homeowners are increasingly installing home alarm systems and cameras to protect family members and property when they are at home or away from home
Types of Cameras
There is a wide variety of security cameras available, each designed for specific purposes and scenarios. Some systems offer multiple features, so careful matching of capabilities to need and well as budget is important when choosing a camera system. Here are the more common types of cameras available:
- The most basic system is fixed in position and does not move, zoom or change direction
- Cameras that pan, tilt and even zoom using an interior motorized mount that allows the camera to rotate and change angle of view
- Popular wireless cameras that are easy to set up and even to monitor and control from a computer or smart phone
- Motion detector cameras that begin recording when it senses motion
- Dome cameras that are positioned inside buildings and use a tinted dome to hide the direction being recorded
- Night vision cameras that allow image recording in both low and high light conditions
- Exterior cameras that are weather resistant for outdoor use
- Cameras concealed in an object such as a book, toy or clock, allowing monitoring of behavior that would otherwise be difficult to record
Security cameras have become a part of everyday life. They provide a deterrent to unruly or criminal activity, and provide a record of security breaches that have occurred. Anyone who is out and about in urban centers is sure to be captured on security cameras.