Don’t use covert cameras unless——

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Don’t use covert cameras unless——

We all know that covert cameras and systems can help catch criminals, but with what results? If you plan to use covert technology, are you prepared for the consequences of your success? That’s right, “success” not failure.

What if you record a crime taking place and recognize the perpetrator? What next? What policy does your organization have for dealing with such evidence?

A large multi branch bank’s Security Director once told me of his frustration that anytime his team caught a Vice President committing a crime, the bank would refuse to prosecute. Sometimes, they would do nothing at all.

Lets say that you hope to get restitution from employee thieves, which is common for some businesses and institutions. They accept the return of stolen merchandise and the resignation, or firing, of the employee who signs a confession and agrees to the arrangement. So far so good. But if your facility has a record of not prosecuting criminal employees or others, why would they agree to confess and return merchandise and lose their job?

It is obviously worth having a policy in place and following it, or setting up covert surveillance may not be worth the time and expense. Covert video is often the most cost effective and quickest way to aid in catching persistent criminal activity and a way to prove more value for your department. When accomplished with a specific purpose and follow up goal, it becomes a great winner.


Barry Levine is CEO of San Diego-based Sperry West, maker of
Spyder® video cameras and Video Commander® surveillance
kits. Levine has been leading video security companies for 40
years. He can be contacted at (858) 551-2000 or
barry@sperrywest.com.