Covert video is a true crime stopper and it increasingly is meeting the needs of countless applications in public service, business operations and in the home uses. Its many uses range from “nanny cams” to hidden cameras used in retail businesses to nabbing shoplifters; for corporate businesses which need to keep a covert “eye” on employees, to working with police officers going undercover. Here are some possible applications and talking points for covert video technology, which continues to find interest from the end user and others as they find new ways to deploy the technology.
Law enforcement was the earliest adopter of covert video decades ago. Covert video can provide evidence for rock solid cases that rarely go to court and has also been the most useful tool for keeping undercover officers out of harm’s way. It is used in almost every facet of law enforcement operations from drug enforcement to white-collar crime investigations and interrogations. Now covert video is being adapted to patrol activities as a way to capture events in their undisturbed state, and to provide irrefutable proof of probable cause for search, arrest or use of force.
• Employee Theft – In the current economic state, retailers have been experiencing a perfect storm of low sales, increased shoplifting and a major spike in employee theft which already accounted for more than half of all retail losses.
Stores tackling the bigger problem of employee theft, and relying solely upon traditional CCTV, often don’t see positive results due to the ease for employees to find unsurveilled locations. However, stores using both traditional CCTV and strategically placed covert video cameras find they only need a few cameras to find the culprits quickly.
• Customer Service – No other area has greater potential of business loss than customer service. Businesses concerned with how employees are treating customers are using covert video to see exactly what customers experience. While video can be used to dismiss employees, in most cases it is better used as a very effective training tool to help typical employees learn to deal more effectively with customers.
• Fraudulent Claims – In tough economic times, businesses are on high alert against fraud. Covert cameras have been a tremendous asset in these situations, as they can prove definitively that an accident did not happen the way in which the claimant said it happened.
• Robbery – We’ve all seen videos on the evening news that show how traditional CCTV does little to deter criminals robbing a business. Unfortunately, criminals have learned to hide their faces from cameras or to wear a shirt with a hood. The solution in at-risk businesses is a well-placed pinhole camera which looks directly up at the criminal’s face. Because it’s covert, the criminal doesn’t know to look away.
In the Home
• Burglary – According to FBI statistics, 87 percent of all burglaries go unsolved. Covert video can change these numbers. Burglars will do their best to destroy traditional cameras, cut cables, spray paint lenses, simply avoid them or wear a hooded shirt. However, they’ll never see a well hidden covert camera as it captures their image for identification purposes.
• Domestic Concerns – Many individuals have people in their life they need to trust completely, such as nannies, teenagers and spouses; yet at times doubt comes into play. Covert video can provide peace of mind or provide the information needed by those concerned to make decisions. In many cases, the results found using covert video are completely opposite what was originally believed.
• Not So Friendly Neighbors - Disputes between neighbors are common. These can progress quickly with the possibility of vandalism and violence, and it is difficult for law enforcement to act when all they have are accusations. Covert video hidden in trees, utility boxes, birdhouses or other strategic locations can gather the facts and give police actionable evidence.
With all the many benefits and applications for covert video, it is no wonder this category is growing rapidly. As news continues to roll in of criminals identified and crimes solved with this technology, you can expect to hear much more about covert video in the future.
Jake Lahmann is the vice president of Technology, Supercircuits.