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Getting the goods on the bad guys.

A SECURITY OFFICER ON DUTY AT the central control center became instantly aware of a prowler on the building's rooftop at midnight. Meanwhile, the rooftop prowler's activities were being recorded. An hour later, police responded to a restaurant in the same vicinity in search of a man who had attempted to rob it.

Within minutes, the rooftop prowler seen earlier was found by building security officers at yet another building. They held the man until police arrived. The man not only fit the description of the robber but also fit the description of the earlier rooftop prowler, thanks to the hard-copy printout from the recorder.

At his trial, the man pleaded not guilty and supported his statement by saying he was nowhere near the location at the time of the attempted robbery. The video hard-copy printout, complete with date and time, was evidence enough to prove he was lying.

A 10-story parking facility was well known as the scene of many auto break-ins, several assaults, and an attempted rape. After video equipment was installed not one single break-in or assault occurred. The cameras and recorders also led to the apprehension and conviction of two drug abusers satisfying their habits in the parking garage. Cameras, zoom lenses, pan/tilt units, and recorders have led to successful drug busts in several other parking facilities, too. ARE THESE INCIDENTS EXAMPLES OF local law enforcement working with private security? Certainly, but more than that-they represent how modem security technology can bring positive and timely results.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) has long been seen as an advantageous means of being in more than one place at a time. But while a television camera is used to improve security by providing security officers with an extra eye, a new need developed-video documentation. With this capability CCTV security has gone beyond camera surveillance.

Specialized videocassette recorders, video printers, and, more recently, digitally stored images now give security directors the opportunity to present hard evidence against criminals. That ability is of primary importance in the indus - These devices have been designed with one thought in mind-to get the goods on the suspect.

In the relatively short history of CCTV security, video documentation has come a long way, and recent developments are taking it a lot further. As success stories such as the ones mentioned earlier become more common, the swing to video documentation devices will become stronger and stronger. If a facility using CCTV surveillance doesn't have video documentation now, it certainly will very soon.

Security professionals realize the move to video documentation requires considering several types of equipment. They also realize special capabilities apply to specific jobs.

Videocassette recorders (VCRs), as used for security purposes, come in three basic types: conventional VCRS, time-lapse VCRS, and event recorders.

Conventional VCR. Like a home machine, once it is turned on, the VCR records until it's out of tape. Its limitation is obvious-most machines do not exceed six to 10 hours of recording time, much less the 24 hours needed for a day or 168 hours needed to cover a week. Further, the absence of dry contact alarm trigger and programmability limits the VCR's ability to address alarm conditions.

Time-lapse VCR. Specially designed, this device can record 350 or more hours on a sin le two-hour tape by recording at less than the real-time rate of 30 frames per second. Yet, this VCR can also, at the occurrence of an alarm, switch to real time so as not to miss action. It also inserts time and date onto the video and stores alarm occurrence times in memory for recall later. The newest models include a host of innovative capabilities, including data insertion, RS-232 control interface, and self-diagnostics.

Event recorder. Rather than long-term recording, this unit is designed to sit dormant yet be at the ready so that at the occurrence of an alarm it instantly activates to catch the action, also inserting time and date.

Recent developments and refinements to VCR capabilities have brought several other issues to the forefront. These should also be considered when planning to implement a video security system.

Color vs. monochrome. The recent swing toward the use of color means that a user shouldn't buy a recorder unless it's color capable. Recording and printing in color leads to a better chance for positively identifying suspects and vehicles.

RS-232 interface. Serial data communication with a VCR can be used if a user wants to tie into a cash register or ATM and insert ID information, especially if the user needs to control several VCRs remotely or wants to download special programming to other models. If special needs are related to these capabilities, an RS-232 VCR is needed. Multiple recordings. Sequential switching usually allows up to 10 cameras per VCR. Yet, this approach is limited by a long dwell time between the samplings of the same camera, thereby allowing too much activity to have transpired between camera samplings.

Multiplexers. By allowing 4, 8, or 16 cameras to share the same screen, many cameras can record on one VCR. However, each picture can be quite small and, therefore, difficult to recover with sufficient detail or resolution.

Fast switching. By rapidly switching on each frame from camera to camera, 8 to 16 cameras can be recorded on one VCR, allowing playback of each individual camera-thanks to an encoded recording. This multivideorecorder approach is the best option because a user gets good detail without missing the action due to long switching dwell time. It is the fastest-growing solution to the challenge of multiple-camera system documentation.

Video Printers. Though a VCR can record the action, the video printer can provide hard-copy documentation by producing near photo quality prints for use by security personnel or police. The latest models provide high-quality, full-color, glossy prints from 4' x 5' to 8" x 10" that can hardly be distinguished from a 35-mm photograph.

Digitally stored images. A by-product of the computer age, image processing has come to CCTV security. Now the more sophisticated installations are beginning to use digital image storage and retrieval to keep an electronic file of authorized or unauthorized personnel. As prices fall with refined technology, this wave of the future will become commonplace. Security directors should use their CCTV equipment to its maximum capability. Surveillance alone is not enough - facilities must be prepared to prosecute. To do so requires evidence, which can be produced in videotape format, hard-copy prints, or computer-generated reports - all with camera tie-in. The information can be used immediately or stored.

As video storage devices become more sophisticated, the future will continue to look grim for would-be perpetrators.

About the Author . . . John W. Schulte is vice president of marketing and sales for Javelin Electronics in Torrance, CA. Mary E. B. Perry is Javelin's marketing services manager. Both are members of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Lights! Camera! Action! supplement; closed-circuit TV in security systems
Author:Schulte, John W.; Perry, Mary E.B.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Previous Article:Breaking old barriers.
Next Article:Banking on security's future.

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