The Problem with Surveillance Cameras That No One Is Talking About

by | Dec 7, 2019 | Public Security Solutions

Quick, when you think about school safety technology, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If your first thought was security cameras, you’re in good company – they’re one of the most ubiquitous safety security tools, prevalent everywhere from cities and school districts to personal homes and businesses. And while they are an important part of any comprehensive security strategy, the truth is that there are also some pretty common issues with your typical security cameras that most technology companies won’t talk about.


The issue with traditional security footage.


From a practical and budgetary perspective, there is a limit to how many cameras most school districts can afford, meaning camera placement may not be close enough for personal identification and provide enough coverage to make them worth the investment. Additionally, most criminals hide identifying features, such as their face, tattoos, and scars. So even if you got a perfect shot of someone that is close enough to identify, it’s much more likely that you’re going to wind up with a great shot of someone’s black outfit, gloves, and ski mask. Ultimately, with traditional security cameras, the footage you wind up with is a random shape. You can watch that shape commit all the crimes in the world without any way to prevent or prosecute those crimes.

Reactive mode is problematic.


The heart of the issue with traditional security cameras is that they are reactive. You and your staff probably won’t even know about an issue until you show up to work and see or hear that an area of the school district has been vandalized, burglarized, or worse. The next step is to have someone spend hours scrubbing the footage to try to find those few seconds of incriminating evidence. You can then contact law enforcement, but aside from taking a report, there’s not a lot they can do about the situation. Ultimately, you’ve just spent thousands of dollars on a camera system, hours of staff time watching video to find the clips you need and making reports, and you’ve solved or prevented exactly zero crimes.

Let’s get proactive.


If it’s true that traditional cameras are not a holistic solution, and it’s also true that security footage is an important part a complete security strategy, then what’s a school district to do? Luckily, security cameras have evolved into powerful tools with artificial intelligence and built-in analytic capabilities. The newest security cameras aren’t just for taking passive footage—they feature effective AI functions that provide a lot of proactive benefits, such as:

Activity Alerts


This feature triggers for unusual activity to get immediate notifications if there is a suspicious person or event on the property.



Let’s face it: most of these crimes happen overnight. Monitoring services provide the 24-7 coverage you need to watch for these alerts and take the next appropriate steps.

Talk-Down Features


The monitoring service can use a two-way speaker system to initiate direct contact with the person(s) that triggered the alert to confirm their identification or deter the criminal activity from moving forward.

Law Enforcement Alerts


Instead of filing a report with your local law enforcement after the fact, your monitoring service can make contact with them as the crime is being committed, greatly increasing the chances of an arrest during the crime.

But there’s still one big problem…


Despite the advances in security camera technology and monitoring, most security “partners” are still relying on traditional, reactive camera set-ups for your security system.  They’re satisfied with the status quo – and they’re not interested in digging deeper into the real issues your organization is experiencing or what your objectives and goals are.   If you ask for cameras, they find the cheapest option to sell you, install it, and move on without considering how intelligent cameras can contribute to a better solution for your organizational goals.

If you want a public safety security partner—a team that has a vested interest in helping you achieve your measurable business outcomes—it’s time to have a conversation with ICU.


About the Author

Team ICU

ICU Technologies is a GSA Schedule 84, and CMAS Contract Vendor for Local, State, and Federal Governments Public Safety and Security Solutions.

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