Too Many Cameras Trained on Employees Rather Than Robbers


Representatives from the police department in Chattanooga, Tenn., and its Crime Stoppers program have warned community business leaders that they need to increase and widen their video surveillance efforts. Crime Stoppers coordinator Sgt. Harold Neville told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that too many businesses have old or nonfunctioning video equipment while others primarily use their video systems to monitor for internal theft, rather than the culprits who are likely to rob them.

Danny Crowe, sales agent for alarm firm ADS Guardian Alarm and a local Crime Stoppers board member, told the Free Press the cost to equip a small business with digital recording equipment is $2,500 to $3,500. He adds that even though some perpetrators will try to cover up their faces, sometimes store employees and others will recognize them because of the clothes they wear or their mannerisms. And sometimes the police get lucky and a criminal will uncover just enough of their face to document their identity. Digital is especially helpful in retaining detail in this regard, he says.

Digital surveillance equipment installed at the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics in Chattanooga was successful in identifying the perpetrators of two hold-ups, one during which the firm’s CEO was held up at gunpoint. The company had installed digital cameras and a network that allows employees to view surveillance from computer monitors.

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