As cities and towns expand, security in common areas like parks and downtowns becomes more and more important. A constant stream of consumers and visitors are vital for the success of restaurants and local businesses, and video surveillance is a great security tool to keep consumers safe and towns thriving. Already in widespread use in Cape Town, more and more cities and local governments in South Africa and the US are beginning to install surveillance cameras in public areas.
Benefits of Municipal Surveillance
Increased business – Cameras posted in high-traffic and risky areas can help reduce street crime and encourage more consumer traffic to stores and restaurants, increasing business and local revenue.
Reduction in crime – Security cameras in public places can help reduce crime and vandalism, and assist law enforcement in apprehending criminals whose malfeasance is caught on camera.
Improvement of public areas – By bringing in additional business and encouraging use of public spaces, public surveillance cameras can help make parks, public squares and city sidewalks better and more hospitable for everyone.
Increased cooperation between businesses and government – One unexpected benefit of surveillance cameras in public places is improved relationships between businesses and local governments. An example of this is Cape Town. There, the city government has begun to offer incentives to businesses who install surveillance cameras. Agreements like this one may foster better relationships between businesses and governments while boosting security.
Risks of Downtown Security Cameras
Privacy – Make sure that your public surveillance cameras do not point into any private areas – like apartments, businesses or offices, or other areas where the owners wish not to be recorded.
Damage – Outdoor cameras can be damaged by a number of factors – including weather, car accidents and vandalism. Store your cameras in environment-controlled housings that can protect them from rain and extremes of heat and cold.
Questions to Consider When Choosing a Civic Surveillance System
Every town is different, and no two areas will have the exact same security needs. Consider the following when choosing and installing your security system to ensure the right fit:
- Are there areas of your town or city that you think would benefit from public surveillance cameras?
- Have you had any issues with public gatherings in the past year? If so, where?
- Where do you think surveillance cameras would be most beneficial?
Best Practices for Surveillance Cameras in Urban Areas
- Place cameras in areas advantageous to recording, but also be aware of the camera’s safety.
- Consider an incentive plan for businesses to install complimentary security cameras.