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Winnipeg Police Service


Video Surveillance & System Maintenance Tips for Businesses

Follow these tips to ensure your video surveillance system can do what it is intended to do: deter criminal behaviour and capture suspect images if a crime occurs in your business

  • Appoint two people to maintain the surveillance system.
  • Keep a record of maintenance and repairs in a separate record book.
  • Record the make/model/serial numbers of all system equipment, including cameras, multiplexer and recorders.  Keep this information readily available for police reporting, if required. This applies to both digital and video recording systems.
  • Review camera position setups to ensure optimum location and camera focus. An additional camera may be needed to capture fill-the-frame images of suspects as they enter premises or stand at counters. This is in addition to cameras that cover the whole scene with one camera only.
  • Camera focus should be adjusted clearly on the area most likely to capture a suspect image, such as a counter area. Hold a card with large numbers or writing at this counter to check the camera focus.
  • Ensure crucial areas have sufficient lighting to illuminate a suspect. Likewise, ensure light sources are not improperly aimed at the camera, or that a ceiling mounted camera is not too close to an adjacent ceiling light that will cause interference or white-out.
  • Back-lighting occurs in locations with sunlight streaming through windows directly into the camera.  This causes the subject to appear as only a dark outline, obscuring any identifying detail.  Follow the old film camera advice of, “Don't shoot into the sun!” and consider repositioning the camera, or installing light reducing window shades.
  • Don’t hang posters, banners, etc., so that they obstruct the camera’s view. Any line-of-sight of the camera should be kept unobstructed, if possible.
  • Monthly, clean camera lenses with approved lens cleaner fluid and paper. Put a few drops of cleaning fluid on the paper and wipe in a circular motion. Do not put fluid on the lens itself.
  • Annually, have the recorder serviced professionally. Purchase one additional recorder for backup in case of breakdowns or servicing.
  • Daily, ensure that the correct time & date is generated by the multiplex unit if installed, and most importantly, that the time & date is set and displayed on the monitor. Brief power outages will require time and date to be reset.  Please ensure the time/date is correctly set and displayed on the monitor. Make sure to correct for any time changes in the spring and fall due to daylight.
  • Purchase a large wall mounted clock and a large single numbered calendar, and position them so at least one camera clearly captures them in the background. The calendar should be the type that shows only one day at a time, similar to what's used in financial institutions.
  • When an incident occurs, don't view the recording.

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"An Internationally Accredited Law Enforcement Agency"
Last update: September 28, 2015

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