Violent crimes are increasing across the country, growing 4.1% in 2016 to 1.2 million incidents.[1] The number of property crimes exceeded 7.9 million in 2016 and victims of property crimes (excluding arson) experienced losses of $15.6 billion.[2]

Police departments across the country are increasingly turning to homeowners and businesses to assist in crime investigations. They are asking for private security cameras to be registered with local authorities so video footage can be used to fight crime.

As technology has advanced, prices for private surveillance cameras have decreased and the quality of images has improved substantially. More businesses and property owners have installed cameras as a crime deterrent and for peace of mind. These private security cameras supplement the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras already in place on streets and in public buildings. In 2016, the North American installed base of security cameras reached 62 million.[3]

Many municipal police departments are asking businesses and residents to participate in surveillance registration programs. The addition of private surveillance cameras to municipal surveillance footage is a helpful crime-fighting tool for faster identification of suspects and investigation.[4]

With registration, the business or homeowner retains the ability to privately view security camera video footage. If a crime has occurred in the area, the police department may request a copy of video footage be downloaded and sent to them for review. The police cannot freely access the cameras or footage, or control use of the cameras.[5]

Surveillance cameras can potentially assist in investigations if someone claims they were hurt on your premises, if an employee is injured in the course of their job duties, or if someone claims injury while using one of your products.

Although surveillance cameras can help catch criminals, and improve public safety, many businesses and individuals still have concerns. While proponents view surveillance registration programs as the 21st century version of neighborhood watch programs, others fear the potential loss of privacy and the creation of a “Big Brother” system watching all activities all the time.[6]

Others fear the use of surveillance cameras can instill a false sense of security and push criminal activity to other areas of a city. However, registering private surveillance cameras enables police departments to extend their presence for crime deterrence without increasing municipal budgets or resources. These benefits are appealing for cities, businesses and private citizens.

[1] “FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics,” press release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sept. 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2016-crime-statistics

[2] “FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics,” press release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sept. 25, 2017. Available at: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-releases-2016-crime-statistics

[3] “North American Security Camera Installed Base to Reach 62M in 2016, Report Says,” Security Sales blog, Aug. 31, 2016. Available at: https://www.securitysales.com/news/north_american_security_camera_installed_base_to_reach_62m_in_2016_report_s/

[4] “Security Camera Community Registration Program Overview,” CCTV CameraWorld blog, undated. Available at: https://www.cctvcameraworld.com/security-camera-registration-programs.html

[5] “Security Camera Community Registration Program Overview,” CCTV CameraWorld blog, undated. Available at: https://www.cctvcameraworld.com/security-camera-registration-programs.html

[6] “Security Camera Community Registration Program Overview,” CCTV CameraWorld blog, undated. Available at: https://www.cctvcameraworld.com/security-camera-registration-programs.html

This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.