7 Tips for Obtaining Court Admissible Surveillance Footage

Businesses invest in CCTV surveillance systems for many reasons. The most common reasons are the desire to deter, spot, and stop crime. But if a crime does occur your surveillance system can serve an addition purpose of providing irrefutable digital evidence. Irrefutable, that is, if you obtain and protect that evidence in a way that prevents it from being dismissed in court.

Surveillance footage greatly improves the chances of law enforcement catching a perpetrator of a crime, and it also enhances the court’s ability to serve justice. However, the value of that footage can be jeopardized if not obtained, handled, and presented correctly. Here are seven vital points to help you.

Choose the Highest Possible Camera Resolution

The FBI recommends using cameras with a minimum resolution of 480 x 640. Anything lower produces grainy images that make facial recognition difficult and can lead to problems leading to appeals.

Have Your System Professionally Designed and Installed

Another problem with video footage faced in court has to do with camera placement. Even a high-resolution camera can produce useless footage if not placed in a way to optimize field of vision. Cameras placed too low encounter too many obstructions; too high it is difficult to capture faces. The best option is to have the system installed by a professional who understands the cameras, their capabilities and the technicalities involved in camera placement.

Consider Lighting

Choose cameras that work well in various types of lighting, including very low light. Also, consider lighting throughout the day, such as sunlight through a window which can cause camera glare.

Avoid Irrecoverable Footage

Many cameras record over old footage once the storage becomes full. This makes the footage irretrievable in most cases. To avoid this, pull or retrieve important footage as soon as possible after a crime.

Save Footage in Original File Formatting

It is critical to save your footage in “native files” that are proprietary to the camera system. Files in original format are uncompressed and contain the most detail.

Keep it Authentic

It may seem okay to adjust the contrast a little so you can see more detail on your video footage but any alterations can potentially cause your evidence to become inadmissible. Never alter images in any way through enhancements, edits, or after effects. Any changes can be viewed as misrepresentation of truth. Instead, be sure your camera system can obtain clear images.

Submit Only Relevant Images

This one is pretty straightforward. The images you submit must pertain to the crime and arguments of the case. Anything else will be dismissed.

S-TRON specializes in advanced video surveillance solutions for the hospitality, retail, c-store, restaurant, and grocery industries. If you have any questions about advanced security solutions, please call us today.

Tina Dunn
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