Armored Car Robbery Video Examined

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 25, 2012

Continuing our analysis of real-world surveillance video, in this update, we look at video released after a the attempted robbery of an armored truck driver as he serviced an ATM. Very little footage of the robber was shown (presumably because it wasn't captured), and even less was usable. We explain why and how to prevent this in your deployments.

The Video

Here's the video:

The main issue with this surveillance footage is camera positioning, some of which may be remedied.

Camera Positioning Issues

First and foremost is the positioning and aiming of the first camera in the video. This camera is aimed with a severe downtilt, capturing everything but the suspect's face as he passes. We're even curious what the intended purpose of this camera is. It's too low and tightly zoomed to capture general activity of the parking spaces. It's likely too sharp of an angle to capture identification of people walking buy on the brick path seen in the video, seen here. This camera's downtilt is probably between 50-60 degrees, while a maximum of 30 degrees is generally recommended.

Whether this angle is intentional or not is another question. The camera may have been aimed higher and drifted over time. Regular maintenance could have prevented this issue if that were the case.

In the case of the second camera shown in the video, while increased resolution could have provided a better chance of capturing identifying details, it's doubtful that any resolution would have had a 100% chance of capture from this position. 

Based on this image, we estimate that this camera is providing about 48 pixels per foot. The video shows about 28 pixels across the subject's head, with the average human head being 6-8" wide (28 pixels/7" = 4 pixels per inch = 48 PPF). This resolution is on the low side for identification, though as we found in our PPF testing, at ~50 PPF, identification of a known subject is possible, making it possible that a member of the public who knew the suspect could identify him from this video.

This video is a perfect example of the camera location dilemma. Mounting cameras closer to eye level would absolutely provide better details in cases such as this, as the camera's view is less likely to be blocked by the subject's hat or hoodie. However, this places the camera within reach of vandals, and greatly reduces its ability to provide an overview of a scene, as nearer objects obscure farther ones, an issue made worse in busy public spaces.

Understanding Camera Purpose

Identification of this subject aside, we have trouble seeing the value of the first camera in this video even for everyday use by this business. However, we do not believe that camera #2 is necessarily a poor choice. It's likely that this camera was installed for the purpose it serves based on its FOV: not identification, but general monitoring of the outdoor seating area, which it accomplishes. Chances are this camera is used in conjunction with interior cameras with smaller FOVs at this business, to provide a better overall situational awareness of subjects' routes into and out of the building. While it's easy to say the camera is not sufficient, it should be understood that the level of identification sought in this case was likely not what it was designed for.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on PPF

Worst Products Tested In Past Year on Jan 09, 2019
IPVM has done over 100 tests in the past year. But which products performed the worst? Which ones should users be most aware of? In this report,...
8MP / 4K Fixed Lens Camera Shootout - Dahua, Hikvision, TVT, Uniview on Dec 17, 2018
8MP / 4K fixed lens models are now common in lower cost lines, with nearly every Chinese brand and their OEMs now offering multiple options. To...
Hanwha L Series Lowest-Cost Camera Tested on Dec 04, 2018
Hanwha has released their lowest-priced IP camera line ever, the L series, that competes on price with low cost competitors Dahua and...
Alarm.com "AI" Video Analytics Tested on Nov 30, 2018
Alarm.com has announced what it calls an "artificial intelligence (AI) architecture and video analytics service", touting that  Alarm.com's...
Genetec Kiwi Intrusion Detector Analytics Tested on Nov 27, 2018
Genetec has built Kiwi Security's Intrusion Detection analytics into Security Center, aiming to simplify deployment compared to separate camera...
Dahua Dual Imager Dome Camera Tested (HDBW4231FN-E2-M) on Nov 07, 2018
Dahua has introduced a dual-imager dome model, the HDBW4231FN-E2-M, with two independently positionable sensors including integrated IR, not found...
Axxon Face Search Tested on Oct 26, 2018
AxxonSoft has brought facial recognition to their Axxon Next VMS for free with the simply named Face Search, claiming to allow users to find...
Axis 4K vs. 5MP Camera Shootout (Q3518-LVE + Q3517-LVE) on Oct 04, 2018
Axis has released the 4K counterpart to their 5MP Q3517-LVE (see our test). Axis claims of both these cameras: Simply put, AXIS Q3518(17)-LVE...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
Exacq Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 17, 2019
Exacq favorability amongst integrators has declined sharply, in new IPVM statistics, compared to 2017 IPVM statistics for Exacq. Now, over 5 since...
Testing Bandwidth Vs. Low Light on Jan 16, 2019
Nighttime bandwidth spikes are a major concern in video surveillance. Many calculate bandwidth as a single 24/7 number, but bit rates vary...
Access Control Records Maintenance Guide on Jan 16, 2019
Weeding out old entries, turning off unused credentials, and updating who carries which credentials is as important as to maintaining security as...
UK Fines Security Firms For Illegal Direct Marketing on Jan 16, 2019
Two UK security firms have paid over $200,000 in fines for illegally making hundreds of thousands of calls to people registered on a government...
Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Avigilon Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 15, 2019
Since IPVM's 2017 Avigilon favorability results, the company was acquired by Motorola and has shifted from being an aggressive startup to a more...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
2019 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 14, 2019
The new IP Networking Book 2019 is a 285 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact