Closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video
surveillance, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal
to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It differs from
broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted,
though it may employ point to point (P2P), point to multipoint (P2MP),
or mesh wired or wireless links. Though almost all video cameras fit
this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for
surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, stores,
and other areas where security is needed. Though
seldom called "CCTV" one exception is the use of video in distance
education, where it is an important tool.
Surveillance of the public using CCTV is common in many areas around
the world. In recent years, the use of body worn video cameras has
been introduced as a new form of surveillance, often used in law
enforcement, with cameras located on a police officer's chest or
Video surveillance has generated significant debate about
balancing its use with individuals' right to privacy even when in
In industrial plants, CCTV equipment may be used to observe parts of a
process from a central control room, for example when the environment
is not suitable for humans. CCTV systems may operate continuously or
only as required to monitor a particular event. A more advanced form
of CCTV, utilizing digital video recorders (DVRs), provides recording
for possibly many years, with a variety of quality and performance
options and extra features (such as motion detection and email
alerts). More recently, decentralized IP cameras, some equipped with
megapixel sensors, support recording directly to network-attached
storage devices, or internal flash for completely stand-alone
There are about 350 million surveillance cameras worldwide as of 2016.
About 65% of these cameras are installed in Asia. The growth of CCTV
has been slowing in recent years.
2.2 Body worn
2.3 Industrial processes
2.4 Traffic monitoring
2.5 Transport safety
2.6 Sporting events
2.7 Monitor employees
2.8 Use in schools
2.9 Criminal use
2.10 Home security
3.1 United States
3.2 United Kingdom
3.4 South Africa
3.5 Around the world
Video surveillance and terrorism
6 Technological developments
6.1 Computer-controlled analytics and identification
6.2 Retention, storage and preservation
6.3 Closed-circuit digital photography (CCDP)
6.4 IP cameras
6.5 Networking CCTV cameras
6.6 Integrated systems
6.7 Wireless security cameras
6.8 Talking CCTV
8 CCTV camera vandalism
9.1 Factors affecting security camera installation cost
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Closed circuit TV monitoring at the Central
Police Control Station,
Munich Germany in 1973.
A typical CCTV control-room set-up, Alkmaar,
Netherlands in 2007.
Desk in one of the regional control-rooms of the National
Netherlands in 2017.
CCTV control-room monitor wall for 176 open-street cameras in 2017.
The first CCTV system was installed by
Siemens AG at
Test Stand VII
Test Stand VII in
Peenemünde, Nazi Germany in 1942, for observing the launch of V-2
rockets. The noted German engineer
Walter Bruch was responsible for
the technological design and installation of the system.[not in
In the U.S. the first commercial closed-circuit television system
became available in 1949, called Vericon. Very little is known about
Vericon except it was advertised as not requiring a government
The earliest video surveillance systems involved constant monitoring
because there was no way to record and store information. The
development of reel-to-reel media enabled the recording of
surveillance footage. These systems required magnetic tapes to be
changed manually, which was a time consuming, expensive and unreliable
process, with the operator having to manually thread the tape from the
tape reel through the recorder onto an empty take-up reel. Due to
these shortcomings, video surveillance was not widespread. VCR
technology became available in the 1970s, making it easier to record
and erase information, and use of video surveillance became more
During the 1990s, digital multiplexing was developed, allowing several
cameras to record at once, as well as time lapse and motion-only
recording. This increased savings of time and money which then led to
an increase in the use of CCTV.
Recently CCTV technology has been enhanced with a shift toward
Internet-based products and systems, and other technological
In September 1968,
Olean, New York
Olean, New York was the first city in the United
States to install video cameras along its main business street in an
effort to fight crime. Another early appearance was in 1973 in
Times Square in New York City. The NYPD installed it in order to
deter crime that was occurring in the area; however, crime rates did
not appear to drop much due to the cameras. Nevertheless, during
the 1980s video surveillance began to spread across the country
specifically targeting public areas. It was seen as a cheaper way
to deter crime compared to increasing the size of the police
departments. Some businesses as well, especially those that were
prone to theft, began to use video surveillance. From the
mid-1990s on, police departments across the country installed an
increasing number of cameras in various public spaces including
housing projects, schools and public parks departments. CCTV later
became common in banks and stores to discourage theft, by recording
evidence of criminal activity. In 1998, 3,000 CCTV systems were in use
in New York City. A study by Nieto in 2008 found many businesses
United States had invested heavily in video surveillance
technology to protect products and promote safe workplace and consumer
environments. A nationwide survey of a wide variety of companies found
that 75 percent utilize CCTV surveillance. In private sector CCTV
surveillance technology is operated in a wide variety of
establishments such as in industry/manufacturing, retailing,
financial/insurance/banking, transportation and distribution,
utilities/communications, health care, and hotels/motels.
Experiments in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s, including outdoor
Bournemouth in 1985, led to several larger trial programs
later that decade. The first use by local government was in King's
Lynn, Norfolk, in 1987. These were deemed successful in the
government report "CCTV: Looking Out For You", issued by the Home
Office in 1994, and paved the way for an increase in the number of
CCTV systems installed. Today, systems cover most town and city
centres, and many stations, car-parks and estates.
The two-year-old James Bulger being led away by his killers, recorded
on shopping centre CCTV in 1993. This narrow-bandwidth television
system had a low frame rate.
Sign warning that premises are watched by CCTV cameras.
A 2009 systematic review by researchers from Northeastern University
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge used meta-analytic techniques to pool the
average effect of CCTV on crime across 41 different studies. The
results indicated that
CCTV caused a significant reduction of crime by on average 16%.
The largest effects of CCTV were found in car parks, where cameras
reduced crime by on average 51%.
CCTV schemes in other public settings had small and non-statistically
significant effects on crime: 7% reduction in city and town centers
and 23% reduction in public transport settings.
When sorted by country, systems in the
United Kingdom accounted for
the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was
The studies included in the meta-analysis used quasi-experimental
evaluation designs that involve before-and-after measures of crime in
experimental and control areas. However, several researchers have
pointed to methodological problems associated with this research
literature. First, researchers have argued that the British car park
studies included in the meta-analysis cannot accurately control for
the fact that CCTV was introduced simultaneously with a range of other
security-related measures. Second, some have noted that, in many
of the studies, there may be issues with selection bias since the
introduction of CCTV was potentially endogenous to previous crime
trends. In particular, the estimated effects may be biased if CCTV
is introduced in response to crime trends.
It has been argued that problems of selection bias and endogeneity can
be addressed by stronger research designs such as randomized
controlled trials and natural experiments. A 2017 review published in
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and
compiles seven studies that use such research designs. The studies
included in the review found that CCTV reduced crime by 24-28% in
public streets and urban subway stations. It also found that CCTV
could decrease unruly behaviour in football stadiums and theft in
supermarkets/mass merchant stores. However, there was no evidence of
CCTV having desirable effects in parking facilities or suburban subway
stations. Furthermore, the review indicates that CCTV is more
effective in preventing property crimes than in violent crimes.
Another question in the effectiveness of CCTV for policing is around
uptime of the system; in 2013 City of Philadelphia Auditor found that
the $15M system was operational only 32% of the time. There is
still much research to be done to determine the effectiveness of CCTV
cameras on crime prevention before any conclusions can be drawn.
Closed-circuit video cameras in the Navy Yard complex caught gunman
Aaron Alexis during his shooting rampage.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that CCTV aids in detection and
conviction of offenders; indeed UK police forces routinely seek CCTV
recordings after crimes. Moreover, CCTV has played a crucial role
in tracing the movements of suspects or victims and is widely regarded
by antiterrorist officers as a fundamental tool in tracking terrorist
suspects. Large-scale CCTV installations have played a key part of the
defences against terrorism since the 1970s. Cameras have also been
installed on public transport in the hope of deterring crime,
and in mobile police surveillance vehicles, often with automatic
number plate recognition, and a network of APNI-linked cameras is used
to manage London's congestion charging zone. Even so, there is
political hostility to surveillance and several commentators downplay
the evidence of CCTV's effectiveness, especially in the US.
However, most of these assertions are based on poor methodology or
A more open question is whether most CCTV is cost-effective. While
low-quality domestic kits are cheap the professional installation and
maintenance of high definition CCTV is expensive. Gill and Spriggs
Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of CCTV in crime prevention
that showed little monetary saving with the installation of CCTV as
most of the crimes prevented resulted in little monetary loss.
Critics however noted that benefits of non-monetary value cannot be
captured in a traditional Cost Effectiveness Analysis and were omitted
from their study. A 2008 Report by UK
Police Chiefs concluded that
only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. In London, a Metropolitan
Police report showed that in 2008 only one crime was solved per 1000
cameras. In some cases CCTV cameras have become a target of
Cities such as Manchester in the UK are using DVR-based technology to
improve accessibility for crime prevention.
In October 2009, an "Internet Eyes" website was announced which would
pay members of the public to view CCTV camera images from their homes
and report any crimes they witnessed. The site aimed to add "more
eyes" to cameras which might be insufficiently monitored. Civil
liberties campaigners criticized the idea as "a distasteful and a
Oaxaca hired deaf police officers to lip read conversations to
uncover criminal conspiracies.
In Singapore, since 2012, thousands of CCTV cameras have helped deter
loan sharks, nab litterbugs and stop illegal parking, according to
Main article: Body worn video
In recent years, the use of body worn video cameras has been
introduced for a number of uses. For example, as a new form of
surveillance in law enforcement, with cameras located on a police
officer's chest or head.
Industrial processes that take place under conditions dangerous for
humans are today often supervised by CCTV. These are mainly processes
in the chemical industry, the interior of reactors or facilities for
manufacture of nuclear fuel.
Special cameras for some of these
purposes include line-scan cameras and thermographic cameras which
allow operators to measure the temperature of the processes. The usage
of CCTV in such processes is sometimes required by law.[specify]
Main article: Traffic camera
Many cities and motorway networks have extensive traffic-monitoring
systems, using closed-circuit television to detect congestion and
notice accidents. Many of these cameras however, are owned by
private companies and transmit data to drivers'
Highways Agency has a publicly owned CCTV network of over 3000
Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras covering the British motorway and trunk road
network. These cameras are primarily used to monitor traffic
conditions and are not used as speed cameras. With the addition of
fixed cameras for the active traffic management system, the number of
cameras on the Highways Agency's CCTV network is likely to increase
significantly over the next few years.
London congestion charge
London congestion charge is enforced by cameras positioned at the
boundaries of and inside the congestion charge zone, which
automatically read the licence plates of cars. If the driver does not
pay the charge then a fine will be imposed. Similar systems are being
developed as a means of locating cars reported stolen.[citation
Other surveillance cameras serve as traffic enforcement
Video Recorder for Public Transport
A CCTV system may be installed where any example, on a subway train,
CCTV cameras may allow the operator to confirm that people are clear
of doors before closing them and starting the train.
Many sporting events in the
United States use CCTV inside the venue
for fans to see the action while they are away from their seats. The
cameras send the feed to a central control center where a producer
selects feeds to send to the television monitors that fans can view.
CCTV monitors for viewing the event by attendees are often placed in
lounges, hallways, and restrooms. This use of CCTV is not used for
See also: Employee monitoring
Organizations use CCTV to monitor the actions of workers. Every action
is recorded as an information block with subtitles that explain the
performed operation. This helps to track the actions of workers,
especially when they are making critical financial transactions, such
as correcting or cancelling of a sale, withdrawing money or altering
Actions which an employer may wish to monitor could include:
Scanning of goods, selection of goods, introduction of price and
Input and output of operators in the system when entering passwords;
Deleting operations and modifying existing documents;
Implementation of certain operations, such as financial statements or
operations with cash;
Moving goods, revaluation scrapping and counting;
Control in the kitchen of fast food restaurants;
Change of settings, reports and other official functions.
Each of these operations is transmitted with a description, allowing
detailed monitoring of all actions of the operator. Some systems allow
the user to search for a specific event by time of occurrence and text
description, and perform statistical evaluation of operator behaviour.
This allows the software to predict deviations from the standard
workflow and record only anomalous behaviour.
Use in schools
In the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, CCTV
is widely used in schools due to its success in preventing bullying,
vandalism, monitoring visitors and maintaining a record of evidence in
the event of a crime. There are some restrictions on installation,
with cameras not being installed in an area where there is a
"reasonable expectation of privacy", such as bathrooms, gym locker
areas and private offices (unless consent by the office occupant is
given). Сameras are generally acceptable in hallways, parking lots,
front offices where students, employees, and parents come and go,
gymnasiums, cafeterias, supply rooms and classrooms. The installation
of cameras in classrooms may be objected to by some teachers.
Criminals may use surveillance cameras to monitor the public. For
example, a hidden camera at an ATM can capture people's PINs as they
are entered, without their knowledge. The devices are small enough not
to be noticed, and are placed where they can monitor the keypad of the
machine as people enter their PINs. Images may be transmitted
wirelessly to the criminal.
In the early to mid 2000s, companies including ADT, LiveWatch, and
SimpliSafe started offering CCTVs to the consumer market for home
safety and security. Cameras typically come as part of alarm
monitoring packages that may also include fire and flood
A crowdsourced map of CCTV cameras near
Grande Arche using
Surveillance camera mounted on the walls of Rosenbad, one of the
Swedish's government buildings in central Stockholm, which houses the
Prime Minister's office. One of the parliament's (Riksdagen) building
can be seen in the background.
A surveillance camera, aimed at a public street (Kungsgatan) in
Stockholm, Sweden, mounted on top of the pole.
The headquarters of the United Nations in New York, with cameras
visible on the side of the
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly building.
There are an estimated 350 million surveillance cameras worldwide as
of 2016 compared with about 160 million in 2012. About 65% of these
cameras are installed in Asia. The growth of CCTV has been slowing in
recent years.[note 1]
Surveillance camera mounted on a tripod in Sunriver, Oregon.
There were an estimated 30 million surveillance cameras in the United
States in 2011.
Video surveillance has been common in the United
States since the 1990s; for example, one manufacturer reported net
earnings of $120 million in 1995. With lower cost and easier
installation, sales of home security cameras increased in the early
21st century. Following the September 11 attacks, the use of video
surveillance in public places became more common to deter future
terrorist attacks. Under the Homeland Security Grant Program,
government grants are available for cities to install surveillance
camera networks. In 2009, there were an estimated 15,000
CCTV systems in Chicago, many linked to an integrated camera
network. New York City's
Domain Awareness System has 6,000
video surveillance cameras linked together, there are over 4,000
cameras on the subway system (although nearly half of them do not
work), and two-thirds of large apartment and commercial buildings
use video surveillance cameras. In the Washington D.C.-area,
there are more than 30,000 surveillance cameras in schools, and
the Metro has nearly 6,000 cameras in use across the system.
In the United Kingdom, the vast majority of CCTV cameras are not
operated by government bodies, but by private individuals or
companies, especially to monitor the interiors of shops and
businesses. According to 2011 Freedom of
Information Act requests, the
total number of local government operated CCTV cameras was around
52,000 over the entirety of the UK.
Although specific legalities of running a home CCTV system in the UK
are rather vague there are published  rules and regulations that
although are mostly common sense, do include some laws that most
people may not be aware of, including registering with ICO as a data
controller if any CCTV camera catch images of any of the public on, or
outside of your property.
An article published in CCTV
Image magazine estimated the number of
private and local government operated cameras in the United Kingdom
was 1.85 million in 2011. The estimate was based on extrapolating from
a comprehensive survey of public and private cameras within the
Cheshire Constabulary jurisdiction. This works out as an average of
one camera for every 32 people in the UK, although the density of
cameras varies greatly from place to place. The Cheshire report also
claims that the average person on a typical day would be seen by 70
The Cheshire figure is regarded as more dependable than a previous
study by Michael McCahill and Clive Norris of UrbanEye published in
2002. Based on a small sample in
Putney High Street, McCahill
and Norris extrapolated the number of surveillance cameras in Greater
London to be around 500,000 and the total number of cameras in the UK
to be around 4,200,000. According to their estimate the UK has one
camera for every 14 people. Although it has been acknowledged for
several years that the methodology behind this figure is flawed,
it has been widely quoted. Furthermore, the figure of 500,000 for
London is often confused with the figure for the police and
local government operated cameras in the City of London, which was
about 650 in 2011.
The CCTV User Group estimated that there were around 1.5 million
private and local government CCTV cameras in city centres, stations,
airports, and major retail areas in the UK. This figure does not
include the smaller surveillance systems such as those that may be
found in local corner shops and is therefore broadly in line with the
Research conducted by the Scottish Centre for
Crime and Justice
Research and based on a survey of all Scottish local authorities,
identified that there are over 2,200 public space CCTV cameras in
Defra made it legal in 2017 to have all Abbatoirs in the UK now
covered by CCTV to prevent cruelty to animals during the slaughter
Project SCRAM is a policing effort by the Halton Regional Police
Service to register and help consumers understand the complex issues
of privacy and safety that confront households when dealing with
installations of home security systems. "The SCRAM program enables
community members to voluntarily identify and register their
residential video surveillance equipment through a simple, secure,
confidential, online form.". It has not been extended to
commercial businesses. A wide-ranging effort to provide registration
and monitoring of home security and systems. "Security camera
registration and monitoring is a community-based crime prevention
opportunity and investigative tool that enlists the help of residents
and can help prevent crime on three levels. Residential video
surveillance cameras can deter criminals from entering the area, can
prevent crimes from occurring and help solve crimes by providing
valuable evidence to the police."
In South Africa due to the high crime rate CCTV surveillance is widely
prevalent but the country has been slow to implement the latest
technology e.g. the first
IP camera was released in 1996 by Axis
Communications but IP cameras didn't arrive in South Africa till
2008. In order to regulate the number of suppliers in 2001 the
Private Security Industry Regulation Act was passed requiring all
security companies to be registered with the Private Security Industry
Regulatory Authority (PSIRA).
Around the world
In Latin America, the CCTV market is growing rapidly with the increase
of property crime. In Asia, different human activities attracted
the use of surveillance camera systems and services, including but not
limited to business and related industries,
transportation, sports, and care for the environment.
Video surveillance and terrorism
Material collected by surveillance cameras has been used as a tool in
post-event forensics to identify tactics, techniques and perpetrators
of terrorist attacks. Furthermore, there are various projects − such
INDECT − that aim to detect suspicious behaviours of individuals
and crowds. It has been argued that terrorists won't be deterred
by cameras, that terror attacks aren't really the subject of the
current use of video surveillance and that terrorists might even see
it as an extra channel for propaganda and publication of their
acts. In Germany calls for extended video surveillance by the
country's main political parties, SPD, CDU and CSU have been dismissed
as "little more than a placebo for a subjective feeling of
A mobile closed-circuit TV van monitoring a street market
Many civil liberties campaign groups, academics and consultants have
published research papers into CCTV systems. Opponents of CCTV point
out the loss of privacy of people under surveillance, and the negative
impact of surveillance on civil liberties. Furthermore, they argue
that CCTV displaces crime, rather than reducing it. Critics often dub
CCTV as "Big Brother surveillance", a reference to George Orwell's
novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which featured a two-way telescreen in
every home through which The Party would monitor the populace.
Proponents of CCTV cameras argue that cameras are effective at
deterring and solving crime, and that appropriate regulation and legal
restrictions on surveillance of public spaces can provide sufficient
protections so that an individual's right to privacy can reasonably be
weighed against the benefits of surveillance. However,
anti-surveillance activists have held that there is a right to privacy
in public areas. Furthermore, while it is true that there may be
scenarios wherein a person's right to public privacy can be both
reasonably and justifiably compromised, some scholars have argued that
such situations are so rare as to not sufficiently warrant the
frequent compromising of public privacy rights that occurs in regions
with widespread CCTV surveillance. For example, in her book Setting
Privacy and the Ethics of CCTV Surveillance, Beatrice von
Silva-Tarouca Larsen argues that CCTV surveillance is ethically
permissible only in "certain restrictively defined situations", such
as when a specific location has a "comprehensively documented and
significant criminal threat". Her central reasoning is that
widespread CCTV surveillance violates citizens' rights to privacy and
anonymity within the public sphere by jeopardizing both their liberty
and dignity. She concludes that CCTV surveillance should therefore be
reserved for specific circumstances in which there are clear and
reasonably demonstrated benefits to its implementation and few ethical
In the United States, the Constitution does not explicitly include the
right to privacy although the Supreme Court has said several of the
amendments to the Constitution implicitly grant this right. Access
to video surveillance recordings may require a judge's writ, which is
readily available. However, there is little legislation and
regulation specific to video surveillance.
All countries in the
European Union are signatories to the European
Convention on Human Rights which protects individual rights including
the right to privacy. The EU's
Data Protection Directive regulates
access to personal data including CCTV recordings. This directive
is translated into the national law of each country within the
United Kingdom the
Data Protection Act 1998
Data Protection Act 1998 imposes legal
restrictions on the uses of CCTV recordings and mandates the
registration of CCTV systems with the Data Protection Agency. In 2004,
the successor to the Data Protection Agency, the Information
Commissioner's Office clarified that this required registration of all
CCTV systems with the Commissioner, and prompt deletion of archived
recordings. However, subsequent case law (Durant vs. FSA) limited the
scope of the protection provided by this law, and not all CCTV systems
are currently regulated. Nonetheless, private sector personnel in
the UK who operate or monitor CCTV devices or systems are considered
security guards and have been made subject to state licensing.
A 2007 report by the UK
Information Commissioner's Office, highlighted
the need for the public to be made more aware of the growing use of
surveillance and the potential impact on civil liberties. In
the same year, a campaign group claimed the majority of CCTV cameras
in the UK are operated illegally or are in breach of privacy
guidelines. In response, the
Information Commissioner's Office
rebutted the claim and added that any reported abuses of the Data
Protection Act are swiftly investigated. Even if there are some
concerns arising from the use of CCTV such as involving privacy,
more commercial establishments are still installing CCTV systems in
In 2012, the UK government enacted the Protection of Freedoms Act
which includes several provisions related to controlling and
restricting the collection, storage, retention, and use of information
about individuals. Under this Act, the
Home Office published a code of
practice in 2013 for the use of surveillance cameras by government and
local authorities. The aim of the code is to help ensure their use is
"characterised as surveillance by consent, and such consent on the
part of the community must be informed consent and not assumed by a
Surveillance by consent should be regarded as
analogous to policing by consent."
In Canada, the use of video surveillance has grown very rapidly. In
Ontario, both the municipal and provincial versions of the Freedom of
Information and Protection of
Privacy Act outline very specific
guidelines that control how images and information can be gathered by
this method and or released.
In Sweden, the use of CCTV in public spaces is nationally regulated;
requiring permits for any operator (incl. Swedish
Police Authority) to
install CCTV in public spaces. In an opinion poll conducted in 2017,
the general public of
Sweden were asked to choose one measure that
would ensure their need for privacy when subject to CCTV-operation in
public spaces. 43% favored regulation in the form of clear routines
for managing, storing and distributing image material generated from
surveillance cameras, 39% favored regulation in the form of clear
signage informing that camera surveillance in public spaces is
present, 2% favored regulation in the form of having permits
restricting the use of surveillance cameras during certain times of
day/week, 10% favored regulation in the form of having restrictive
policies for issuing permits for surveillance cameras in public
spaces. 6% were unsure or did not know.
Surveillance camera at
London Heathrow Airport with a wiper for clear
images during rain
Computer-controlled analytics and identification
Computer-controlled cameras can identify, track, and categorize
objects in their field of view.
Video content analysis (VCA) is the capability of automatically
analyzing video to detect and determine temporal events not based on a
single image. As such, it can be seen as the automated equivalent of
the biological visual cortex.
A system using VCA can recognize changes in the environment and even
identify and compare objects in the database using size, speed, and
sometimes colour. The camera's actions can be programmed based on what
it is "seeing". For example; an alarm can be issued if an object has
moved in a certain area, or if a painting is missing from a wall, or
if a smoke or fire is detected, or if running people are detected, or
if fallen people are detected and if someone has spray painted the
lens, as well as video loss, lens cover, defocus and other so called
camera tampering events.
VCA analytics can also be used to detect unusual patterns in an
environment. The system can be set to detect anomalies in a crowd, for
instance a person moving in the opposite direction in airports where
passengers are supposed to walk only in one direction out of a plane
or in a subway where people are not supposed to exit through the
VCA can track people on a map by calculating their position from the
images. It is then possible to link many cameras and track a person
through an entire building or area. This can allow a person to be
followed without having to analyze many hours of film. Currently the
cameras have difficulty identifying individuals from video alone, but
if connected to a key-card system, identities can be established and
displayed as a tag over their heads on the video.
There is also a significant difference in where the VCA technology is
placed, either the data is being processed within the cameras (on the
edge) or by a centralized server. Both technologies have their pros
A facial recognition system is a computer application for
automatically identifying or verifying a person from a digital image
or a video frame from a video source. One of the ways to do this is by
comparing selected facial features from the image and a facial
The combination of CCTV and facial recognition has been tried as a
form of mass surveillance, but has been ineffective because of the low
discriminating power of facial recognition technology and the very
high number of false positives generated. This type of system has been
proposed to compare faces at airports and seaports with those of
suspected terrorists or other undesirable entrants.
CCTV surveillance camera with IP audio PA horn watching from a high
Computerized monitoring of CCTV images is under development, so that a
human CCTV operator does not have to endlessly look at all the
screens, allowing an operator to observe many more CCTV
cameras. These systems do not observe people
directly. Insta Types of body-movement behavior, or particular types
of clothing or baggage.
To many, the development of CCTV in public areas, linked to computer
databases of people's pictures and identity, presents a serious breach
of civil liberties. Conservative critics fear the possibility that one
would no longer have anonymity in public places. Demonstrations
or assemblies in public places could be affected as the state would be
able to collate lists of those leading them, taking part, or even just
talking with protesters in the street.
Comparatively harmless are people counter systems. They use CCTV
equipment as front end eyes of devices which perform shape recognition
technology in order to identify objects as human beings and count
people passing pre-defined areas.
Retention, storage and preservation
Most CCTV systems may record and store digital video and images to a
digital video recorder (DVR) or, in the case of IP cameras, directly
to a server, either on-site or offsite.
There is a cost in the retention of the images produced by CCTV
systems. The amount and quality of data stored on storage media is
subject to compression ratios, images stored per second, image size
and is effected by the retention period of the videos or images.
DVRs store images in a variety of proprietary file formats. Recordings
may be retained for a preset amount of time and then automatically
archived, overwritten or deleted, the period being determined by the
organisation that generated them.
Closed-circuit digital photography (CCDP)
Closed-circuit television camera
Closed-circuit digital photography (CCDP) is more suited for capturing
and saving recorded high-resolution photographs, whereas
closed-circuit television (CCTV) is more suitable for live-monitoring
However, an important feature of some CCTV systems is the ability to
take high resolution images of the camera scene, e.g. on a time lapse
or motion-detection basis. Images taken with a digital still camera
often have higher resolution than those taken with some video cameras.
Increasingly, low-cost high-resolution digital still cameras can also
be used for CCTV purposes.
Images may be monitored remotely when the computer is connected to a
Main article: IP camera
Easy Connect Wireless IP camera
A growing branch in CCTV is internet protocol cameras (IP cameras). It
is estimated that 2014 was the first year that IP cameras outsold
analog cameras. IP cameras use the
Internet Protocol (IP) used by
most Local Area Networks (LANs) to transmit video across data networks
in digital form. IP can optionally be transmitted across the public
internet, allowing users to view their cameras through any internet
connection available through a computer or a phone, this is considered
remote access. For professional or public infrastructure security
applications, IP video is restricted to within a private network or
VPN, or can be recorded onto a remote server.
Networking CCTV cameras
The city of
Chicago operates a networked video surveillance system
which combines CCTV video feeds of government agencies with those of
the private sector, installed in city buses, businesses, public
schools, subway stations, housing projects etc. Even homeowners
are able to contribute footage. It is estimated to incorporate the
video feeds of a total of 15,000 cameras.
The system is used by Chicago's
Office of Emergency Management in case
of an emergency call: it detects the caller's location and instantly
displays the real-time video feed of the nearest security camera to
the operator, not requiring any user intervention. While the system is
far too vast to allow complete real-time monitoring, it stores the
video data for later usage in order to provide possible evidence in
New York City
New York City has a similar network called the Domain Awareness
London also has a network of CCTV systems that allows multiple
authorities to view and control CCTV cameras in real time. The system
allows authorities including the
Metropolitan Police Service,
London and a number of
London boroughs to share CCTV
images between them. It uses a network protocol called Television
Network Protocol to allow access to many more cameras than each
individual system owner could afford to run and maintain.[citation
The Glynn County
Police Department uses a wireless mesh-networked
system of portable battery-powered tripods for live megapixel video
surveillance and central monitoring of tactical police situations. The
systems can be used either on a stand-alone basis with secure
communications to nearby police laptops, or within a larger mesh
system with multiple tripods feeding video back to the command vehicle
via wireless, and to police headquarters via 3G.
An integrated systems unit.
Integrated systems allow different security systems, like CCTV, access
control, intruder alarms and intercoms to operate together. For
example, when an intruder alarm is activated, CCTV cameras covering
the intrusion area are recorded at a higher frame rate and transmitted
to an Alarm Receiving Centre.
Wireless security cameras
Main article: Wireless security camera
Wireless security camera
Many consumers are turning to wireless security cameras for home
surveillance. Wireless cameras do not require a video cable for
video/audio transmission, simply a cable for power. Wireless cameras
are also easy and inexpensive to install, but lack the reliability of
hard-wired cameras. Previous generations of wireless security
cameras relied on analog technology; modern wireless cameras use
digital technology which delivers crisper audio, sharper video, and a
secure and interference-free signal.
Main article: Talking CCTV
In Wiltshire, UK, 2003, a pilot scheme for what is now known as
"Talking CCTV" was put into action; allowing operators of CCTV cameras
to order offenders to stop what they were doing, ranging from ordering
subjects to pick up their rubbish and put it in a bin to ordering
groups of vandals to disperse. In 2005 Ray Mallon, the mayor and
former senior police officer of
Middlesbrough implemented "Talking
CCTV" in his area.
Other towns have had such cameras installed. In 2007 several of the
devices were installed in
Bridlington town centre, East Riding of
Due to the widespread implementation of surveillance cameras, glasses
are being built which can defeat CCTV cameras. In December 2016 a form
of anti-CCTV and facial recognition sunglasses called 'reflectacles'
were invented by a custom-spectacle-craftsmen based in
Scott Urban. They reflect infrared and, optionally, visible light
which makes the users face a white blur to cameras. The project easily
surpassed its funding goal of $28,000 and reflectacles will be
commercially available by June 2017.
CCTV camera vandalism
Unless physically protected, CCTV cameras have been found to be
vulnerable against a variety of (mostly illegal) tactics:[citation
Some people will deliberately destroy cameras. Some cameras can come
with dust-tight, pressurized, explosion proof, and bullet-resistant
Spraying substances over the lens can make the image too blurry to
Lasers can blind or damage them. However, since most lasers are
monochromatic, color filters can reduce the effect of laser pointers.
But filters also impair image quality and overall light sensitivity of
cameras (see laser safety article for details on issues with filters).
Also, complete protection from lasers of any wavelength would require
use of completely black filters, rendering the camera useless.
The security camera installation cost in Los Angeles, United States
ranges from US$300 to US$3,500. On average, however, the cost can be
anywhere from US$893 – US$2,267. The price will go up depending on
specific requirements or the extent of the security that will be
Factors affecting security camera installation cost
Among other factors, the specific type of camera being used has the
most significant impact on its cost. The average cost of two digital
cameras packaged with an LCD monitor is around US$450. Different
brands can also have different prices. The type of technology used
also has an impact of security camera installation cost. Wireless
camera systems are generally more expensive than their wired
The specific type of software that is being used also has a role to
play on its price. On average, professional level software is offered
at US$75, with some of them requiring annual fees for membership.
Network attached storage
Network attached storage or DVR, used for storing recorded video, will
also be part of the cost. On average, that can cost about US$499. This
will depend on the storage capacity and other features of the device
chosen by the user.
Artificial intelligence for video surveillance
Closed-circuit television camera
Eye in the sky (camera)
Fake security camera
Information Awareness Office
Optic Nerve (GCHQ)
Physical security information management (PSIM)
Security operations center
Sousveillance (inverse surveillance)
The Convention on Modern Liberty
TV Network Protocol
Under vehicle inspection
Washington County Closed-Circuit Educational Television Project
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Closed-circuit television
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