Closed circuit television or CCTV is a system where video cameras are used to transmit images to a group of monitors in a specific place. These CCTV cameras are strategically located in an area usually for purposes of security and surveillance.
CCTV security systems have advanced with modern technology. Conspicuous surveillance cameras with black-and-white images have given way to high definition colour cameras that have the ability to zoom or pan. Another advancement is the recording and storage of data with the use of Digital Video Recorders (DVR). A security camera DVR can record for a span of several years with features such as motion detection and internal flash that allows it to operate completely by itself. A new development in CCTV systems is the use of internet protocol (IP) to transmit videos across data networks in digital format. An IP security camera allows viewing of the camera footage on the internet through a computer or a 3G phone.
Surveillance camera systems are often used in buildings that pose high security risks like banks and casinos, as well as densely populated areas like airports, public transport stations and shopping centres. Video surveillance systems are also used by security personnel to monitor hallways and offices where they can be viewed from a fire alarm system control room. In some countries, outdoor security cameras are being utilised to monitor traffic conditions as well as road accidents and violators. These security cameras can also cover wide areas like parking lots and estate grounds. CCTV cameras have also crossed from commercial use to domestic use. Home security systems are starting to become a house necessity alongside fire alarms and smoke detectors. They are usually used to record movements inside the house and within the perimeter of the property especially during instances of the occupant’s absence.
CCTV security has become an issue of security over privacy. There is a small risk, however, of surveillance cameras intruding on people’s privacy since they are placed in public areas, unless when used for the home. On the other hand, they prove effective as a deterrent to crime due to the fact that perpetrators are wary of the use of surveillance equipment that can possibly identify and incriminate them.