Biggest Misconception Security Managers Have About CCTV

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Apr 09, 2014

Cameras for surveillance are a waste most of the time, according to security consultant John Strauchs. For this post, we interviewed him on misconceptions of CCTV and dealing with security managers.

The Biggest Misconception Security Managers Have About CCTV

There are three functions Strauchs says a video system can provide: Surveillance, forensics and automation. Forensics would be footage to review after something has occurred and automation he describes as using cameras to automate tasks, like facial recognition for access control (the least common use of surveillance which we will discuss more later in this post). Surveillance involves someone actually monitoring the cameras looking for things of interest.

Strauchs says the biggest misconception security managers have about CCTV is that is that adding cameras will provide surveillance.

“It can, but organizations never have the manpower required to do an effective surveillance program ... If you think about having an operator work an 8-hour shift, after about three or four hours, because of fatigue, they’re not seeing anything,” he said.

He says he’s hardly seen anywhere other than military facilities and prisons with effective surveillance programs. In those cases they were rotating operators every three to four hours.

“Office buildings and schools and businesses buy these with the notion they’re going to have surveillance, but it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Security Managers Should Know the Limitations of a System Before They Buy It

Too often managers get caught up in marketing hype and think they need a system based on demos or because a product is new. If they don’t have the technical background to really evaluate these products, they should bring someone in that can, he says. Strauchs says 80 percent of the time, sites are buying cameras with surveillance in mind -- they think they are going to be able to keep an eye on a site and watch for incidents.

“They think they’re going to catch crimes in progress or stop something before it occurs, but 50% of cameras at corporate sites don’t serve any purpose,” he says.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

He cites parking garages as an example. It’s almost impossible to get 100 percent coverage unless they’re willing to spend a large amount of money for cameras and monitoring staff. He recommends focusing on putting cameras where they will provide the most forensic value instead.

The Rule of Three

In some cases, security managers are already sold on a product (due to marketing) regardless of what a consultant tells them. In these cases Strauchs says he uses what he calls the rule of three.

“I say three things: Don’t do it. Please don’t do it. Then I ask ‘How do you want me to do it.’”

Ultimately if the customer wants it and it is just going to cause them to waste money, then he tries to help them find the best version of what they want, but says he has walked away from jobs where what a client was requesting could possibly cause harm or liability.

His rule of three actually has a fourth part too.

“Then I’ll put it in writing. I’ll write a letter saying I gave you this advice and this argument, but you want to do it anyway so I will do it,” he said.

Home Surveillance Recommendations

He had a somewhat puzzling recommendation for people looking for home surveillance. It wasn’t Dropcam, Comcast Xfinity, or any other popular system. Strauchs swears by trailcams.

“If someone was looking for a home system, I would tell them not to do video. I’d tell them to go buy some trap cameras and set them up in your house. It’s easy to set up and you’ll get good photos to give to police,” he said.

He said cheap home systems are “junk” and unless someone is willing to spend a lot of money they’re not getting much better quality than trailcams.

Comments (43) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...
Don't Deceive. Lessons From Scott Schafer on Mar 20, 2020
Deception is bad. We can learn some important lessons from Scott Schafer, a...
Dynamic vs Static IP Addresses Tutorial on Apr 16, 2020
While many cameras default to DHCP out of the box, that does not mean you...
Facial Recognition 101 on Mar 18, 2020
Facial recognition interest, use and fear is increasing. This guide aims to...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Surveillance Storage 101 on Mar 23, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
Fever Camera Sales From Integrators Surveyed on Jun 01, 2020
Fever cameras are the hottest trend in video surveillance currently but how...
Hazardous & Explosion Proof Access Control Tutorial on Feb 27, 2020
Controlling access to hazardous environments requires equipment meeting...
Access Visitor Management Systems Guide on Jul 22, 2020
"Who are you, and why are you here?" Facilities that implement Visitor...
Faked Coronavirus Fever Detection, Athena Used Hikvision; Responds - Selling NDAA Compliant Cameras, Pledging 50% Of Profits to Victims on Mar 24, 2020
US company, Athena Security, faked its coronavirus fever detection marketing,...
30 Million Criminal Face Database Tested (Captis Intelligence) on Apr 27, 2020
30 million criminal mugshots are now available for facial recognition...
Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of...
YOLOv5 Released Amidst Controversy on Jul 27, 2020
YOLO has gained significant attention within video surveillance for its...

Recent Reports

VSaaS Will Hurt Integrators on Aug 06, 2020
VSaaS will hurt integrators, there is no question about that. How much...
Dogs For Coronavirus Screening Examined on Aug 06, 2020
While thermal temperature screening is the surveillance industry's most...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all of the...
SIA Coaches Sellers on NDAA 889B Blacklist Workarounds on Aug 05, 2020
Last month SIA demanded that NDAA 899B "must be delayed". Now that they have...
ADI Returns To Growth, Back To 'Pre-COVID Levels' on Aug 05, 2020
While ADI was hit hard in April, with revenue declining 21%, the company's...
Exposing Fever Tablet Suppliers and 40+ Relabelers on Aug 05, 2020
IPVM has found 40+ USA and EU companies relabeling fever tablets designed,...
Indian Government Restricts PRC Manufacturers From Public Projects on Aug 04, 2020
In a move that mirrors the U.S. government’s ban on Dahua and Hikvision...
Directory of 201 "Fever" Camera Suppliers on Aug 04, 2020
This directory provides a list of "Fever" scanning thermal camera providers...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Dahua Loses Australian Medical Device Approval on Aug 04, 2020
Dahua has cancelled its medical device registration after "discussions" with...
Google Invests in ADT, ADT Stock Soars on Aug 03, 2020
Google has announced a $450 million investment in the Florida-based security...
US Startup Fever Inspect Examined on Aug 03, 2020
Undoubtedly late to fever cameras, this US company, Fever Inspect, led by a...
Motorola Solutions Acquires Pelco on Aug 03, 2020
Motorola Solutions has acquired Pelco, pledging to bring blue back and make...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...