The security week that was: 05/09/08

A weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Translate that to: We know the technology can be beneficial, but there does need to be more focus on making sure the systems are working and are integrated for maximum effect. Pauline Norstrom, who authored that quote, is one of the movers-and-shakers of European security (she's worldwide head of marketing for AD Group's Dedicated Micros and very actively involved in organizations creating security/surveillance standards. If you're at IFSEC next week, she'll be part of a Tuesday lunchtime debate on CCTV effectiveness).

Pauline is right on here, but I'm going take a much more basic angle with my own conclusion. If security people, business people and other camera users expect their cameras to have an influence on crime, then it's not enough to plug-and-forget. Create a service contract. Pay for a monthly or bi-monthly video system check-up. Most cameras aren't being maintained by a dedicated staff and so we have tended to plug-and-forget. That has to change.

Additionally, when cameras are publicly installed as a means to catch littering smokers or are announced that they will be monitored by volunteers (both these stories are real stories from the UK!), then what level of deterrence can we expect from the real criminal population?

P.S. Despite what Neville said this last week and the surrounding hub-bub, this is not a particularly new story. I had to dig back in my archives to a story from February 2005 when a study from Britain's Home Office found little benefit from camera systems and was then mulling the idea of not funding such systems any more. Personally, I think we all know that video surveillance works. It's not a panacea, but then neither was an alarm system, a fire system or a good strong chain link fence. Done properly and layered together, however, we may just get there.