Security is important for every business, and the easiest way to accomplish this (apart from trying to look at everything at once) is with security cameras. Protect your workplace with a minimum of effort through surveillance video. These techniques, especially the installation process, can be applied to any business. There's no lock like a good pair of eyes, and security cameras give you just that, multiplied.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Mounting equipment (if not included with cameras)
- Television or security monitor
- RCA cable/wiring
- Digital video receiver
- Digital video recorder
- Quadrille paper
- Tape measure
- Scale measurement wheel
Walk through your store like a thief might walk through it, "casing" the location, taking note of blind spots and hidden areas that cannot be seen from the register. Point the camera at these the areas first. In a location with no customers, like an office, you may not need to do this.
Look for areas where employees should be observed, such as the cash register, break room, storage area, work areas or walk-in freezer. Place cameras to monitor these locations to ensure security.
Determine you cameras angle of view. The angle of view is the area that the camera can "see" with its given lens. Imagine it as an angle with its centre at the camera lens, spreading wider as it gets further away from the camera. If you don't know this information, most cameras have an angle of view of 70 degrees, which gives you 35ft of facial detail. Use an online tool to determine the camera's angle of view (see Resources).
Draw an overhead map of the area you plan to survey. Draw the location of each camera, and use a protractor to estimate the angle of view of each camera and the area that it will cover. Look over the drawing and make sure the coverage is satisfactory, noting the areas that are not covered, or areas where the two cameras overlap significantly, and correct their placement to avoid this. Ensure that the drawing is to scale, and accounts for all areas.
Make sure that the cameras can be physically mounted where you want them. Ensure that there is a stud or rafter to hang them from, or another sturdy surface that can be drilled into to hang the cameras.
Inspect Your Property
Choose the variety of camera that you want. There are two basic types of cameras: dome style and traditional style. The domes are the sort you see in large department stores, with a semi-opaque or two-way-mirror dome enclosing the camera so that it cannot be seen which way the camera is facing. Traditional style cameras are bare cameras that can be easily seen, and their direction is obvious. Dome style are more expensive, but have the added element of surprise, while traditional cameras are less expensive and just as functional. Dummy cameras, which are simply models, should not be used, as they are useless in the event of a break-in.
Get cameras with an appropriate angle of view and detail for the distance and area you need to cover. Standard cameras should work fine for a small store or office. If you need to cover a large space, either use many cameras or get a lens that gives you the angle of view necessary. Consult a store representative to make sure that your cameras is sufficient for your store.
Purchase a camera with the least features that meet your needs. Options on cameras range far and wide. The cheapest are fixed-iris, fixed-focus lenses focus to on one spot and cannot be adjusted based on the amount of light. More expensive ones can be panned, tilted and zoomed (PTZ cameras) to follow action, and have varifocal lenses that can focuses on different spots, as well as adjustable irises to accommodate varying levels of light.
Mount the cameras using a screwdriver and screws, as well as the mounting hardware. The direction they are pointed can be adjusted after they are mounted, so do not feel the need to point them in the correct direction before they are secured.
Run RCA cable from the camera's output to the digital video receiver. This can be run through a wall, if you have the skill and experience, or attached to the wall with fasteners, or simple run along the floor, as long as they are sufficiently protected.
Connect the monitor output of the receiver to your monitor using the VGA cable or RCA cable included with the receiver.
Connect the auxiliary output of the receiver to the digital video recorder to record the footage your cameras capture, if desired. This is exceptionally useful of you need to review the footage later with the police, but not if you wish to use the cameras for momentary surveillance.
Check that the camera system works by turning all the cameras and monitor on and having a friend walk through the surveyed area, so you can see how the cameras see.
Tips and warnings
- Plan the camera placement ahead of time and that it is acceptable. It is very difficult to move the cameras once they are installed.
- Many stores exist online that sell cameras. Advice is easier to come by at brick-and-mortar stores, while selection and price may be better at an online store.
- Installation of the cameras is a complex task if you have never run wire through a building or worked with a video receiver and will be covered in the next section. However, there are many contractors that will be happy to install your equipment for a nominal fee.
- Employees may not be happy about being watched on camera, and should sign a release stating that they are aware they are being monitored.
- Make sure you get a digital video receiver with the right amount of inputs for all your cameras.
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