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Video Surveillance In The Land Of The Free?

Mar 20, 2008
Video surveillance has been used in the United States for a long time. Banks began using video surveillance way back in the 1960s. This was then extended to hospitals, convenience stores, museums, galleries and other public places in the 1970s. At that time, video surveillance merely recorded events. It was not used for active monitoring.

The Better Technology

As technology began to improve, the application of video surveillance began to expand as well. Lenses could now pan and tilt to offer 360 degree coverage. Cameras could also capture clear images even in low light conditions. Digital recording technology also offered automated monitoring functions. In these systems, a video database is maintained and users can search through it easily. All of this proved invaluable to law enforcement personnel.

Companies in the United States have put a lot of money into video surveillance for their own security. Private sector video surveillance operates across a wide variety of firms. These include manufacturing, financial, transportation, utilizes, and communications among many others.

The Video Boom

This growth in video surveillance has been noticed by developers of video systems and video technology. Sales of such products have reached all-time highs. The net earnings of leading video surveillance manufacturers have skyrocketed. Ten years ago, American businesses were already spending almost $100 billion annually on video surveillance products. Potential losses due to crime could amount to twice that much. About half of all such purchases go to industrial and commercial applications.

Video surveillance is extremely common in the American working environment. A company officer can legally videotape an employee whom they suspect of wrongdoing. Video surveillance is an approved method of observing these suspected persons. Such surveillance is also very useful in catching sexual harassment or medical malpractice. Some studies report that the American worker feels much safer in the presence of video surveillance.

These Dangerous Times

The events of 9/11 changed the world. One of those changes is a greater acceptance of video surveillance technology for the purpose of preventing crime and terrorism. Before, shoppers would object to cameras recording their activities. Now, they feel safer if such technology is in place.

A survey shows that video surveillance technology is a deterrent for criminals planning to rob stores. However, it does not stop there. Even if the criminal is brazen enough to go through with his plan, the video footage usually helps a lot in apprehending him later on. Heinous crimes like rape are also deterred by video surveillance.

In the United States, society seems to have adapted well to the ever-present electronic eyes of video surveillance technology. With the tragedy in New York, who can blame them? The challenge today is to balance civil liberties with the necessity for security. That is a fine line that is always being re-drawn time and time again. But there is no doubt that the usage of video surveillance will continue to expand over time. In this new and very dangerous world, a country must be very careful and ensure the security of its citizens at all costs.
About the Author
Going for video surveillance? Read up on home surveillance cameras and CCTV cameras before you go for it. Check out Video-Surveillance-Guide.com today.
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