The City council of a major city in the Philippines has recommended to a local shopping mall that they put CCTV in their garages to aid in security. OK, good idea. Well, or is it.
First, if the garage is not of the proper design, it will take hundreds of cameras to cover all the nooks and crannies where crimes could take place. Then it will take a lot of people in the security command center to monitor all those cameras. I don’t know what the actual number is, but my guess would be that to be effective, a security guard can’t really track more than a dozen at a time. Now in after hours situations, the on screen alarm feature would allow the guard to monitor a lot more as in office buildings.
The feature works like this. You select an area on the screen (preset) and then when anyone moves across that area, the picture goes on the guard’s main screen and lights flash and buzzers buzz. This is great if you are monitoring areas that are primarily vacant, like halls and offices that are empty after hours.
However in a shopping center, the time when crime occurs is when the mall is bustling and these types of technological assistants don’t really work, as the can’t select between a bad guy and mom and the kids going shopping.
If the garage has been designed with large open bays, then a few cameras may be reasonable..
The council brought up another interesting point. The mall should install ticket spitters and entrance and exit gates to help prevent car theft car jacking. The theory seems to be that if a baddie wants to steal a car they would not have an exit ticket so they would be slowed at the exit gate.
There are two sides to this story, too. In one case, of course if the car theft knew they had to run the gate, break the barrier to get out, they would perhaps go elsewhere to steal the car. However if it was a car jacking, one assumes the driver, who is kidnapped with the car, would have an exit pass.
This is a case where having an attendant on duty at the exit lane is a benefit. You could still have the revenue control system in place, have a central cashiering system, but have a guard monitoring every two or three lanes. If they saw a problem with a car, such as one trying to run a gate or someone holding a gun on the driver, they could alert the police. That would be a deterrent to the criminal activity.
There is another issue to CCTV. If you install it, you MUST monitor it. According to the courts the presence of the cameras give the impression of a certain level of security. And if the cameras are fake or not monitored, then the garage owner may be potential liable.
However, the council pointed out that this was the only shopping center in the area with no CCTV and no revenue control system and it has the highest incidence of crime.
It’s a complex world. Things aren’t always as they seem.