We have all seen the TV shows.   A crime of some kind occurs and from some office some law enforcement agency logs on to every surveillance system in the area, and they all have high quality video, and in a matter or minutes identifies the criminal that committed the act.

Well, reality is quite different. Here is what usually happens. The police look around and see if any of the buildings in the vicinity have surveillance systems.  They then contact the building owner and ask them for the footage from a specific time. They then look at the footage and determine whether the cameras saw the event. If so they have to determine if the quality is high enough to ensure an identification. Often times, it isn’t.

If the footage is decent, there are some techniques and software available to improve the quality, but no where near the scope that TV shows make you believe.  You can’t take a fuzzy image of a car and end up with a sharp picture of the license plate.

The quality of the surveillance system has a lot to do with this. Many analog systems just don’t have the lines of resolution to produce a sharp, clear picture. Over time, the camera loses focus and the overall picture quality can deteriorate.

The new IP systems, with megapixel cameras, can greatly improve this but focus is can still be an issue. It is also very important that all settings are correct, like motion detection and white balance, so you get the image you need.

Below the image on the left is analog and the image on the right is a 1.2 megapixel camera.





The difference is striking.

So the answer is yes, surveillance cameras do help catch criminals.  But, it requires a lot of legwork to get the job done. Megapixel cameras are helping to up the odds of capture.

If you live in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, or if you would like us to perform a Home Safety and Security Audit, absolutely free, please call 800-369-3962 or simply click the link below.

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