The Charles County Sheriff's Office is issuing an important reminder to the businesses of our community: Quality video surveillance equipment that is properly installed and used can provide critical evidence if your business becomes the victim of a crime.
"My investigators have told me about some of the concerns they have about video surveillance systems, and I want to share their concerns with the business community," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "We are offering them advice about how they can best protect their businesses and help us in our investigations if they become victims of crime."
Poorly used or installed video surveillance systems dramatically limit the ability to recover crucial evidence during the investigation of a variety of incidents that occur at business locations. Although many businesses have installed security video systems, if the systems are not properly used, the videos yield very little useful information.
Officers rely on video evidence to aid them during the investigation into a wide variety of crimes, ranging from shoplifting to armed robbery and other violent crimes. Many times, the images captured on these video tapes are the only thing investigators have as evidence.
To ensure security systems capture the best possible evidence, the Sheriff's Office is providing the following check list as a guide for businesses to set up or enhance their systems:
-Frequently replace your video tapes to ensure images are clear
-Have at least one camera aimed at the entrance/exit doors
-Capture images of customers throughout your business
-Capture everyone as they approach the sales counter/point of sales area
-Locate your cameras at eye-level to capture a straight-on image (6 feet from the floor)
-Update your system if it is more than 10 years old
-If possible, update to a digital video system
-Train your staff and make your system easily accessible by your managers
-Have your managers check the system weekly for proper operation
Businesses that have security departments should have security personnel evaluate the security system and security procedures at least once a year, as well as make updates to the system when necessary. The Sheriff's Office encourages security departments and management staff to coordinate with investigators and crime prevention officers, who will aid businesses in setting up the best video surveillance systems possible.
"Unfortunately, even with the best security system and procedures in place, our business community will continue to be victimized. However, a clear video depiction of the of the incident will provide the investigators with their best opportunity to solve the case.
Additionally, the Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit offers free commercial security surveys to businesses. Officers who conduct the surveys provide advice about lighting, landscaping and other important factors that can aid a business's own crime prevention efforts.
For questions, concerns or assistance, contact Sgt. Tony Verdiglione in the Crime Prevention Unit at 301-609-7942 or Detective/Sgt. Shane Knowlan in the Major Crimes Unit at 301-609-6481.