Founder, Zeecure.com, Sonitrol of South Central Ontario

Author Bio ▼

Colin Bodbyl is the founder of Zeecure.com and Chief Technology Officer at Sonitrol of South Central Ontario. He has over 10 years' experience in the security industry specializing in the design and installation of physical security, IP CCTV, video analytics, and access control systems. In 2012 Colin developed Zeecure.com to connect with other integrators and end users through his unique video blogs.
March 6, 2013

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‘Secure by default’ in the age of converged security

Hidden Benefits of Covert Cameras

Until recently, covert cameras were almost exclusively used by private investigators, TV shows, and perverts.

Covert cameras tended to be low-resolution and low-performance, but Axis Communications is finally changing that. With the release of its P12 series of covert cameras, Axis has brought HD IP technology to the covert surveillance industry.

Besides improving on the poor image quality of previous covert cameras, the introduction of HD covert cameras could solve a few other challenges faced by certain surveillance applications.

Public backlash towards the installation of surveillance cameras in public places has long been a problem for the security industry. Vandals and activists have destroyed countless surveillance cameras in protest against their use.

Camover
Camover, a “game”_started by German activists, is being blamed for the destruction of CCTV cameras across Germany.

Even vandal-resistant cameras are being sprayed with paint, leaving them disabled. These activists are trying to prove a point: They don’t appreciate being watched. They see these obvious, obtrusive cameras more as a threat than an offer of protection.

The presence of these cameras has also been proven to be ineffective as a crime deterrent, which is unfortunate since surveillance cameras are still promoted today as (at least partially) a deterrent to criminals.

Studies indicate that members of the general public do not always feel safer when in the presence of surveillance cameras. People feel less safe because the cameras suggest that the given area is dangerous. Whether these feelings are justified or not could be argued either way. However, surveillance cameras are obviously not having the psychological effect one would expect and, in turn, are not getting the support they deserve.

With all the negative statistics and perceptions towards the mere presence of surveillance cameras, are covert cameras the simple solution?

It would be difficult for vandals to destroy cameras they cannot easily see. It would also spare the general public much of the anxiety brought on by the presence of typical surveillance cameras.

Covert cameras are already in use across the world, including at your local bank or ATM, but it is time they become a larger part of public surveillance systems. Hidden cameras would prevent vandalism and help the public feel more relaxed, while providing law enforcement with the important tools and evidence they need.

With Axis taking the lead, I hope other manufacturers will follow in helping develop more advanced covert cameras for the market.

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JenniferStevensCaseyJones1batyeRob RatcliffsafeNsane Recent comment authors
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batye
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batye

interesting reading, thank you, I live in small city in Canada…we do have a lot of the crime in this city… I would prefer to have city wide installed Covert Security Cameras… I trust it would help get rid of the crime or at least prevent criminals from committing crime… “Vandals and activists have destroyed countless surveillance cameras in protest against their use.” – they do not understand one little things Privacy things of the past… in 21st century I do not expect any privacy… but I do want security… in my books as an ex-security officer if you want… Read more »

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

Privacy a thing of the past? Maybe it’s harder to achieve, but surely we still all have a reasonable right to privacy. There has to be a balance. It can never be ‘surveillance over everything else.’

batye
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batye

yes, Rob in UK, but in Canada we follow USA… and with new North American way of the War on Terror and e.t…. we lost almost all of our privacy.. to the new secret laws… – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/02/22/g20-secret-law.html

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

The ironry of calling this law a ‘secret law’ is interesting. Strange why they scaled it back to apply to just courthouses and hydro electric power stations? As in, really weird. Why not just ‘power stations’? By the by I’m sure…

Sheh
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Sheh

@Rob…I agree…Privacy can’t be contested in public places. Of course discreation has got to be exercised when hidden cameras are used in enclosed or exclusive places. The risks associated in an insecure environment are far greater than privacy issues. Initially …people even made lots of hue and cry on complete body scanners at the airports but the strong need and risk of letting a terrorist in a place were far more risky then to scan oneself. I think hi-resolution hidden cameras are desirable in today’s precarious environment. These camera would be safe from being compromised and could not be subjected… Read more »

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

Makes sense I think. I’m not sure cameras are effective as a deterrant, but more so for investigation. With that being the case, then yeah, hide the cameras, why worry about deterring people? (The other side of course is you want to make people safer, so show them. Maybe just use covert cams and a bunch of fake ones…)

DShepherd
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DShepherd

So what would happen if one or more of these “activists” got beaten or even murdered. Would they or their family been grateful of CCTV if it could help catch and bring to justice the criminal that did the crime?
I am from Birmingham in the UK and there is quite a lot of crime. I have nothing to hide so I don’t mind the CCTV presence around the city and i feel safer knowing it is there and available to the police if anything was to happen.

ColinBodbyl
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ColinBodbyl

Well isn’t that the irony of it all. Protestors filming themselves protesting about being filmed. Certainly if one of them were assaulted during one of their outings, they would want to submit their footage as evidence in court.

ITs_Hazel
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ITs_Hazel

That would be an irony indeed. I’m sure they didn’t consider this scenario at all. Sometimes people get so caught up in their beliefs that they close their minds, and that’s when the problems begin to crop up. Frankly, I’m with you DShepherd, as long as you have nothing to hide, the CCTVs are no problem.

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

Quite an expensive way to make people feel safer though, perhaps?

safeNsane
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safeNsane

Even though we have a fairly large camera system in place there are still requests every now and then for a covert camera.  People learn where the cameras are, try to find blind spots or make their actions look legitimate from the bird’s eye view.  Sometimes you need to get down closer and not make them aware of how close the camera is to catch the fine detail of some issues.

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

If you believe the movies, there’s always some Tom Cruise figure working out the trajectory of the surveillance cameras and sneaking in to a high-security facility. But are there that many examples of people working out blind spots? What’s the best way around this – 360 degree dome cameras? I suppose people could still walk around with their back to the camera is what you’re saying.

safeNsane
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safeNsane

It’s not that difficult to find blind spots in a camera system if you are working around it all day every day.  People quickly pick up on places that are obstructed by equipment for example.   Not everyone is going to go searching for blind spots but someone who is determined to goof off or steal something doesn’t normally have to do much looking around to figure out where they can hide if they can see the cameras.

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

True. I suppose then this is where other staff need to step up and notice suspicious activity to preempt such behaviour.

safeNsane
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safeNsane

That’s a good point, a camera system isn’t the answer to every problem when it comes to monitoring an area for any reason.  A human touch every now and then goes a long way to resolve a lot of issues.  We do have people who go walk through some of the less easy to monitor areas to keep anyone from thinking it’s a safe place to hide, but if you’ve got really sensitive areas chances are you have someone there anyway.

Rob Ratcliff
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Rob Ratcliff

Nothing works quite like the human touch, sometimes!

batye
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batye

I think this days rule of the thumb if you see something or some one out of place you must take notice and investigate it… no way around…

CaseyJones1
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CaseyJones1

I’m thrilled to hear that technology has advanced security cameras.  About ten years ago, one of my friends was thrilled with his new security cameras.  He set them up all around his home and then showed me the recordings.  I tried to be supportive of him but I honestly didn’t even recognize myself on it!  He upgraded recently though and can now zoom in and pan the cameras.  I was impressed this time.
http://www.securedbytriton.com/products.html

JenniferStevens
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JenniferStevens

It caught my attention to read about the technology that goes into the security cameras.  However, I can imagine that people would probably want the best available for their home because the last thing someone might want is to have a camera that doesn’t work properly.   With all of the options out there, I would think it might be wise to do some research to find out what would work for you. http://scharigalarmsystems.com/kansas-city-security-cameras/

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