Clean your security camera lens to get a clear picture of crime
Fight crime by wiping away grime
During Fraud Prevention Month, the Edmonton Police Service would like to remind businesses and homeowners to clean their security camera lenses regularly to get a clear picture of crime.
Clean lenses produce clear images and help to identify suspects
“Often when video surveillance systems have been running for any length of time, people stop looking at the images, and don’t realize the lenses have become dirty,” says Const. Elvin Toy with the EPS Economic Crimes Section. “We were recently investigating a report of card skimming at a mall food court. The security camera lens was so dirty and greasy, we couldn’t make out the suspect’s features, and the video footage was useless. Dirty lenses produce fuzzy images, however, clear images help us catch criminals.”
Video surveillance is everywhere and has become vital for public safety, documenting activities, reducing risk, identifying suspects in criminal investigations, and for providing evidence in court proceedings. Approximately 80 per cent of police investigations have video evidence, and the EPS Technological Crimes Unit processes as many as 1,600 video requests annually for specialized files separate from day-to-day divisional investigations.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but if the camera is dirty or not functioning, it has no value. Many organizations have suffered financial losses, legal issues, and even embarrassment when they found out their surveillance systems were not working properly.
“Customer and employee safety is very important for any retail or public-facing business, so the use of a robust surveillance system is key,” says Paul LaBelle, Director of Corporate Security with Canadian Western Bank. “Properly functioning cameras are certainly an integral part of our security program at Canadian Western Bank, and help us to ensure that our employees, clients and business are protected from a variety of crimes, including fraud.”
EPS video for surveillance camera owners
Security cameras are an investment and should be maintained so they continue to operate effectively.
Tips for maintaining your system:
- Perform semi-annual inspections on your security cameras.
- Clean all camera lenses and domes, and blow out dust from hardware at least twice a year for optimal performance.
- Check your camera focus and direction. Remove barriers and trim landscaping that impede the field of view, and avoid pointing the camera in the direction of the sun.
- Ensure your camera is securely in position and free of vibration.
- Inspect your camera housing and weatherproof.
- Make sure your cables are securely connected and not corroded. Check your power supplies.
- Replace cameras with poor image quality or frequent breakdowns. Opt for digital cameras and recording systems with higher resolution appropriate for your lighting conditions.
- Keep your system manuals and passwords handy. Know how to download recorded video.
- Consult with a security professional when installing a new system or setting up regular maintenance.
As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the EPS Economic Crimes Section will be distributing 2,000 free lens cleaning cloths to local businesses to encourage owners to clean their security cameras regularly.
The EPS is also highlighting common frauds and providing crime prevention tips in partnership with: Service Alberta, RCMP K Division, Better Business Bureau, Competition Bureau,Alberta Motor Association, Canadian Western Bank, and Price-Langevin and Associates Inc.
If you are a victim of a fraud, or have knowledge of an economic crime, please contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online atwww.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.