Video Surveillance

Video Surveillance - Covert Cameras

by: Ralph Winn

The dependability and prevalence of video surveillance cameras has increased dramatically in the past decade. Numerous home and business owners have integrated video surveillance cameras into their security systems to ensure safety, crack down on regulations, and catch criminals in the act. Video surveillance is considered covert when the cameras are hidden or aren't identifiable. Video surveillance is largely legal in the United States, as long as it doesn't directly infringe on a person's fourth amendment right to privacy.

Uses of Covert Video Surveillance

"A picture is worth a thousand words". This saying rings true in court. According to a recent study, when a jury is presented with video surveillance footage, it is twice as likely to convict as when not shown video surveillance evidence. The strategic placement of covert video surveillance cameras aid in the detection and prosecution of vandalism, theft, child abuse, elder neglect, stalking, and harassment.

Some of the more common places to use covert video surveillance are homes, casinos, police stations, nursing homes, construction sites, prisons, hospitals and retail stores.

Monitoring the activities of nannies and household help with covert video surveillance cameras is a growing trend. Due to recent advances in technology, cameras are now small enough to be hidden in many home items such as teddy bears, house plants, clocks, and wall paintings.

Video Surveillance Laws

Most video surveillance is legal in the United States. The majority of video surveillance laws concern the invasion of privacy with the use of covert video surveillance. The use of covert video surveillance is particularly controversial in areas in which a high level of personal privacy is expected, such as locker rooms, dressing rooms, bedrooms, and bathroom stalls. There are some general guidelines to follow to ensure the legality of your video surveillance system.

Covert video surveillance is illegal when audio surveillance is also taking place, and if the it is done without the consent of those being monitored and the person being monitored by the video surveillance has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Legalities of Video Surveillance

Covert video surveillance may be illegal when the video surveillance encourages an illegal activity and the subject under video surveillance has a right to counsel, as when being questioned by law authorities and the person in charge of the premises have not given permission for video surveillance.

If you opt to incorporate a covert video surveillance system into your home or business, consult with a lawyer or your local law enforcement agency to ensure your compliance with local, state, and federal video surveillance laws.

Many independent studies in the United States and United Kingdom have suggested that video surveillance acts as a powerful deterrent, stopping crimes before they happen. Studies also show strong evidence that video surveillance systems can be an extremely effective tool in detection and prosecution.

About The Author

Ralph Winn has over 32 years of experience in the security industry. Throughout his career, he has developed cost effective security programs for numerous small, medium, large commercial and government properties and for many nationally known corporations.

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