Reviewing security footage can be done whenever you have time, from anywhere.
A strategically placed security camera helps protect your home and property by alerting you to suspicious activity. Seeing footage of something suspicious allows you to be proactive by acting before a crime is committed.
Knowing how to review security footage, and reviewing it periodically, is a step to keeping your family safe before anything happens. Here is how to review:
Look for telltale signs
Generally, people with good intentions want to be seen. Neighbors, delivery people, friends and family have real reasons to visit, and their objective is to get your attention. Criminals, on the other hand, have different behavior. Be on the lookout for these signs, especially if you see someone you don’t know:
- Loitering –Anyone staying in the vicinity with no apparent business being there should be regarded with suspicion. This includes people taking photos of your home.
- Multiple people – Criminals do not always work alone. They can bring companions to their heists and work as a team. One can act as a lookout for policemen, another can drive a getaway vehicle, and the rest may enter your home and split up to cover as much ground as possible. If an unknown group of people shows up at your door, this should be immediate cause for alarm.
- Attempts to conceal identity– Excessive headwear, sunglasses at night, sticking to shadows, baggy clothes and secretive behavior may indicate that a person does not want to be seen.
- A parked vehicle with people inside – An unknown vehicle parked outside your house with people inside for an extended period of time could mean your neighborhood is being monitored.
- Repeat visits– If you see the same person repeatedly observing your home, this is a red flag. This person may have suspicious intentions.
- Person surveying the locks – If a person on your security feed is surveying your door’s locking mechanism, they’re up to no good. Don’t hesitate to call the police or security personnel.
Best practices in case of suspicious footage
- Set the camera or video to have a time stamp. In some countries, video footage is only considered admissible evidence in court if the time and date are imprinted on the video. If the case goes to court, the judge can ask for the video to be played, and the time stamp comes as hard evidence that a crime was committed at the said date and time.
- Inform your neighbors and the authorities. Once you see suspicious activity on your security camera, report it to the appropriate people. Neighbors can also serve as witnesses.
- Submit the footage to the police. Law enforcement will review the footage to confirm the act and identify the suspects. Once the authorities recognize its validity, a warrant will be sent for the arrest of the perpetrators. The state can, then, file charges against them. Until summoned by the court or your legal team, the security footage is marked as evidence and kept in the safe hands of the police.
- Be thorough when reporting. The San Diego Police Department recommends using The Five ‘W’s when reporting suspicious activities:
- What is happening?
- Who is doing it?
- Where is it taking place?
- When did you observe it?
- Why is it suspicious?
Reviewing security camera footage helps you know what happened even when you aren’t actively monitoring your camera. Watching out for warning signs will enable you to identify potential intruders and threats, so you can be proactive about home safety.
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