What Is CCTV Footage?

Jan 24, 2019

CCTV stands for closed-circuit television. It’s when you use video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific, limited set of monitors. Cameras that are part of a CCTV system are usually used for surveillance and security purposes, and the footage is used to help prevent crime or to aid in the capture of a suspect if an offense has taken place. The cameras may transfer the footage to monitors where it can be watched in real-time by another person, or it may be recorded for future viewing.

What is CCTV used for?

In a business, CCTV cameras commonly are installed in areas that will lower the risk of incidents such as burglary, fire or vandalism: near entrances and exits, by cash registers, in storage rooms, or in hallways or alleyways. CCTV cameras also can be beneficial in monitoring areas of a building, lab or industrial facility that are not safe for people to enter.
In home applications, CCTV cameras can help monitor blind spots around the home that can’t be seen from windows, they can be used to help identify late night visitors without ever having to answer the door, and they can even be used to help keep an eye on caregivers, pets or children in the home.

How long do you have to keep CCTV footage?

If CCTV cameras are recording footage, there is no required length of time that the footage must be kept. Most home and business owners decide how long they’ll hold onto the footage based on how much storage space their hard drive has and how much footage they must store. The amount of footage to be saved also depends on factors such as how many cameras are recording, what resolution the cameras are recording at and much more. In general, most security footage is stored for 30 to 90 days.

What are the rules for CCTV footage?

When it comes to who can watch CCTV footage and how it can be used, there are no hard and fast rules for that either. That’s because both state and federal laws are governing electronic monitoring, and they vary from state to state. Also, there are differences in the statutes for video monitoring vs. audio monitoring, which is why CCTV camera footage often lacks audio.
In general, cameras in businesses are allowed if they aren’t placed in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy like bathrooms and changing rooms. For employers, it’s generally accepted practice to alert employees and customers that a CCTV system is in use. For homeowners, it may be legal to record video without the consent of the person being recorded, but it’s probably best to check with a lawyer to make sure. Practically speaking, most home and business owners usually post signs letting others know an area is under surveillance to deter trouble from ever taking place.  

If someone wants to view the CCTV footage on which he or she was recorded, it’s also not clear cut what is or is not allowed. Without a subpoena, no private person or business is required to provide the footage. And whether CCTV footage is admissible in court also is dependent on numerous factors.

Bottom line: there’s a lot to know when it comes to installing a CCTV system, and that’s why we’re here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about installing a CCTV system at your home or business, contact us today for a free consultation.

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