5 of the Worst Business Security Camera Placement Mistakes
By Pekin Insurance · Dec 21, 2020 ·2 min read
There's more to security camera placement than covering the front door and cash register.
$114 million. That’s how much money retailers could’ve lost to 279,000 thieves, according to a 2019 study. Thanks to smart security measures, these shoplifters and dishonest employees were caught!
What’s the best way to bust those who want to take from your business? Start by avoiding the 5 main security camera placement mistakes.
1. Using the Wrong Grade of Camera
Think about your security investment in terms of “shrink,” which describes inventory hits caused by theft, shoplifting, and employee errors. The National Retail Federation says shrink cost businesses $50.6 billion in 2018.
Skimping on your security system could create a bad return on investment. Cheaply made cameras have poor image quality, buggy software, and low reliability.
You'll notice a price difference between consumer-grade cameras and commercial-grade cameras. What’s designed for your home may not be a good fit for your business.
Commercial-grade cameras usually cost more but give you options like:
- Infrared lighting
- Higher resolution
- Automatic adjustment to sudden lighting changes
You should also look for features such as:
- Weatherproof casing for outdoor placement
- Motion detection
- Automatic saving to the Cloud
2. Poor Lighting
We’re piggybacking off mistake 1, but hear us out for a second.
Let’s say you’re at the beach with some friends. They want a quick picture, so you grab your cell phone.
You get the white sand, clear water, and city skyline in the frame before you capture the image.
When you look at the picture later, you can’t tell who’s in it. It’s saturated with sunlight. Whoops!
That’s what happens when you point a low-quality security camera toward a strong light source. It'll give you a thief’s silhouette but not their facial features.
You’ll have similar problems using a low-grade security camera at night,. It won’t capture a criminal’s features if it can’t adjust to the light. This is bad news when you want to stop theft at your business.
3. Improper Camera Angles
Does your budget only allow one camera? If that’s the case, place it at or near head level to make identification easier. A single-camera at a severe angle could make it difficult to identify a shoplifter or burglar.
If you have the funds for more than one camera, a high angle covers more square footage. Combining multiple placements can work really well.
The proper angle takes distance into consideration, too. Don’t expect an outside camera to capture license plate numbers if it’s installed too far away from the parking lot.
Don't believe those crime show scenes where investigators enlarge images with stunning clarity. In real life, the resolution you record with is the resolution you get.
4. Do-It-Yourself Installation
Here’s a downside of a DIY installation gone wrong: the camera not working! Plus, you could mess up other security equipment and your property if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Consider contacting a security company and having them do the work. They should provide you with a warranty and customer support if you have questions or problems.
Even if you have the technical know-how to install cameras, your responsibilities could keep you away from that task. You have a business to run!
5. Keep It Real and Know the Laws
Some states have no laws for video surveillance, but others do. Before you have security cameras installed, plan ahead to stay in compliance with laws.
This brings us to fake “dummy” cameras. You can find them for prices as low as $10, but saving money now could open you up to lawsuits later.
In some states, you’re required to post signage to let customers know they’re under surveillance. So fake cameras would require signs making false claims.
They also create a false sense of security. If one of your employees is robbed within view of the fake camera, you could face serious legal consequences.