CCTV Surveillance Camera Placement from a Forensic Perspective

CCTV SystemIn many of the cases I investigate as a video forensic expert, there could have better outcomes. If more thought was put into CCTV surveillance camera placement locations, more CCTV video would be useful in litigation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding where to place cameras in your business or home.

First, remember that it’s better to install too many cameras than too few. If you are not sure if you have an area adequately covered, then you probably do not. You will save money in the long run by installing plenty of cameras to cover an area rather than trying to salvage CCTV footage that is either poor quality or the crime is not close enough to cameras.

Point tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras are worth the extra investment. Surface-mounted cameras work well for areas that are small and pedestrian traffic is close to the camera. However, for larger areas, PTZ cameras will provide much better coverage.

Do not mount CCTV cameras pointing toward the light-mount cameras with the light source (daylight or interior lighting) behind the camera. Light in front of the camera will cause the subjects that you want to see to be dark.

Set your frame rate to at least 12 or 15 images per second (also known and frames per second). It is better to have higher quality surveillance footage with more frames per second that is useable when a crime is committed than low-quality footage with fewer frames per second missing part of the crime committed. The video below will help you better understand this point:

If a crime is ever committed and caught on your CCTV system, do not delete the original video recording from your DVR. Rather, export the portion of your recording that shows the crime in as high a digital video resolution as possible. 720 X 480 is very good. Anything lower will be hard to work with forensically.

If you follow these guidelines and a crime is committed at your business or residence, your forensic investigation and ability to identify perpetrators and criminals will be greater than if you simply install and operate with little or no knowledge. Take my advice and install your CCTV system right. Hopefully, you will never need the recordings but if you do you will be glad you installed it right.

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