Surveillance systems are growing in popularity and it's easy to see why. With all the news of security breaches, civil unrest and improving technology, companies of all sizes are opting to beef up their security. While surveillance is only one component of a total security plan, it is an essential step, as there will always be thieves and burglars who will attempt break-ins by whatever means necessary. The ability to monitor a building in real time, notify authorities automatically and potentially dissuade criminals from committing the robbery in the first place is an invaluable tool.

As a result, a number of businesses and organizations across the country have made significant investments in new security cameras. For small businesses, the benefit is clear – there won't always be adequate staff to run the office during off hour or holidays. Surveillance systems can be managers' eyes and ears when no one is home.

Erie program pairs businesses with high-tech surveillance
In Pennsylvania, the Erie Downtown Partnership will roll out a plan to give small businesses in Erie's downtown area the ability to install high-quality security cameras and other equipment, according to The organization has $10,000 set aside for an initial fund but hopes it can generate an additional amount of up to $30,000 from private donations.

The cameras would allow these businesses to better monitor their own store fronts, but also help one another. Together, the system of digital cameras could provide authorities with the means to track burglars' movements before and after crimes.

"With the cameras, we can create a broader coverage area in terms of surveillance," John Buchna, the Downtown Partnership's chief executive, told "Which tells people that criminal behavior is not wanted in this area. We hope that when the word is out that there are more security cameras downtown, people will think twice about engaging in certain types of activity."

The only requirement is that companies using cameras provided by the grant allow the police to access footage in the event of criminal activity. But other than those instances, the cameras are exclusively accessible by the business in charge. For the first three years, maintenance of the camera and ownership of the data are the dominion of the company that uses it.

DIY surveillance market set to expand
For those who don't own businesses in downtown Erie, there is still much to look forward to. Research firm IHS found that the global DIY video surveillance market surpassed $1 billion at the end of December for the first time in 2014. Over 11 million consumer and network surveillance cameras will be shipped globally in 2015. The U.S. market accounted for 65 percent of the total.

Companies can take advantage of the do-it-yourself trend by investing in surveillance equipment and devising their own plan for business security. Lately, smart technology has also given organizations more options in how they implement security systems. By connecting cameras to mobile phones, tablets and computers, business owners can keep tabs on the office anytime, anywhere.

With DIY on the rise and a growing presence of affordable professional installation, there is no reason for a small business to bypass surveillance. The cost is low and the benefits – security and peace of mind – are immeasurable.

Security equipment and surveillance industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in security equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.