Member Discussion

Annual Report: Measuring Effectiveness Of An IP Camera System

Our university has made a significant investment in the campus-wide I.P. surveillance camera system. By all indications, the system has been very effective and has provided a considerable return on the investment. However, I am looking for metrics that might be incorporated into an annual report to quantify effectiveness. We have several "war stories" where the cameras were used to solve serious crimes. I am looking for ideas (and ideally a sample report) including important information to insert into in such a report that would be presented to the university administration.

This is a good idea and question. Thanks for sharing.

I have not seen one developed by an end user like this but there are some lessons or takeaways that can be applied from manufacturer case studies.

Aspects to Quantify:

  • Number of arrests and or convictions where campus video surveillance was used as evidence
  • Number of incidents or citations where real time video or recorded clips were used as evidence to support reports
  • Increase in guard, operator or investigator efficiency due to advances in technology speeding up searches or eliminating dispatching personnel to locations.
  • Decreases in annual maintenance costs due to remote troubleshooting, lower camera count of higher resolution cameras, etc.

Then there are the more questionable / aggressive use of statistics, e.g.:

  • Bike thefts have decreased by 62% since the new surveillance system was installed.
  • Rapes are down 75% year over year
  • Etc., etc.

I am not a fan of such tactics as they imply, with typically questionable connection, causation.

Hopefully others have recommendations and examples to share.


These are all good points to get me started. The third bullet - measuring investigators' efficiency - could be the most difficult to quantify, but it is something to take into account.

I agree, statistics would be a good way to show effectiveness. Ironically, our bike thefts are down by almost the exact amount you used in your example. Using statistics is definitely something that should be done with caution, but, perhaps those in a university setting may give me some free advice. I am familiar with the use of statistics used in a typical police setting i.e. Uniform Crime Reports, Victimology studies, etc., but haven't seen a police department use stats to show the impact of technology on crime/fear reduction.

Mark, can you clarify what you mean by quantify effectiveness?

Do you mean in comparison to something?

  • As it could be?
  • No system?
  • The previous system?
  • Last years system?


By quantifying effectiveness, I mean demonstrating some changed state. For example, if I train for a marathon and do so on my own, than I can expect one result. If, on the other hand, I use an Olympic marathoner as my coach, then I can expect a different result. With our camera technology, I want to demonstrate that there has been some changed/improved state i.e. less crime and a higher perception of safety on our campus.

I do believe this involves comparing one state of circumstances to another. For example, how quickly and at what frequency did our officers solve crime before/after the system was installed?

Perhaps I should send a survey monkey instrument out to our students, faculty and staff and ask some questions on their perceptions of safety and the impact they think the surveillance system may have impacted this. After all, it is more important to me what our "customers" think than what cold hard statistics may show.