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Surveillance Cameras - You Are Being Watched
Reported by NBC 7/39 in San Diego

According to a recent documentary, the average American is caught on camera 200 times every day. NBC 7/39 reporter Artie Ojeda began tracking how many times he was watched in a single day.

It began with five cameras at the gas station and mini-mart. On the freeway, Ojeda discovered he passes by no fewer than six CalTrans camera each day. Then, there were cameras on stoplights, which most people don't realize are capturing their every move.

In downtown San Diego, there were cameras on almost every building, including no fewer than 11 on the Federal Building. There are cameras on elevators and during the walk through Horton Plaza to the NBC 7/39 building, Ojeda found countless cameras on stores, including one at Macy's.

On the NBC building and adjoining visitor's center, Ojeda counted no fewer than 10 cameras. When all was said and done, Ojeda had spotted 62 cameras before 9 a.m. While these surveillance cameras have become part of our landscape, their effectiveness is cause for debate.

"We're steadily marching to a society where every moment that you leave your home will be monitored and videotaped. And that's creepy. That's not American," said Kevin Keenan of the ACLU.

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Last August, the ACLU put out a comprehensive report on surveillance cameras. "The studies show that these cameras don't deter crime. At best, they move it outside the view of the camera itself," Keenan said.

Law enforcement disagrees. At the Metropolitan Transportation System security center, cameras monitor trolley stations around the clock. The cameras are remotely controlled. "They're a very effective tool," said Bill Burke of the MTS. "In safety, in Homeland Security, crime, in all those things, it's worked out very well for us."

San Diego police said reported crime in a half-mile radius around Belmont Park has dropped 30 percent since they put up cameras. In El Cajon, police said their red light camera system is the reason behind an 80-percent reduction in collisions at certain intersections.

"It keeps people on their best behavior and it keeps people acting as they probably should be," said Victor Vidales, who was visiting San Diego.

Not all cameras, such as traffic cameras, are set up to record. But they have the potential. The San Diego Police Department's Northern Division said they hope to expand camera surveillance in the beach area. It would include a nine-block span of Garnet Avenue.



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CCTV Product Range

CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Image Acquisition

A variety of cameras, lenses, housings, mounts and lamps are available to accommodate specialist needs or general-purpose use.

Monochrome Cameras

Provide good images in low light conditions with Infra-red lighting.

Colour Cameras

Generally the accepted standard for most installations where good lighting is available.

Colour/Mono Cameras

These cameras have all the benefits of colour, combined with the superior night time performance of monochrome cameras and Infra-red lighting.

Lenses

Lens selection is especially critical since the choice directly affects the size, and quality of the image. Various options are available to meet the most demanding of requirements.


CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

PTZ & Dome Cameras

Allow an operator to direct the camera to the area of interest. Powerful zoom capabilities and fast movement allow targets & patterns of operation to be programmed. Various mounting options are available for internal or external use.


CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Time lapse VCR

These record directly to standard videotape. Various models are available to record over time periods varying from 24 to 960 hours. A standard VCR can only record one video channel; but multiple channels can be recorded by the addition of switchers or multiplexers.


CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Image Recording

The analogue VCR has been the standard method of recording for many years, and is now joined by Digital recorders.

Digital recorders

These utilise PC technology and record the footage to a Hard Disk or DVD. Some systems also use CD/RW and /or Digital Audio Tape (DAT) for archive purposes. Digital recorders are available as single channel or multi channel products, thus eliminating the need for a separate multiplexer.


Video display

CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Systems employing many cameras require a means of selecting and displaying the footage from the required camera on a particular display monitor.


CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Switchers

These generally used in small, low cost applications. A manual switcher allows users to select the required camera by pressing an appropriate button. These devices can also switch from one camera to another automatically, or on receipt of an alarm.


CCTV Security Systems, Equipment & Installation

Matrix Switchers

Large CCTV systems, employing many cameras and monitors, will require a means of distributing the footage to the selected monitors and recording devices.  This can be achieved with a Matrix Switcher.  With multiple keyboards, several operators are able to control the system at the same time.




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