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What is a Surveillance System?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A surveillance system is one that uses a combination of cameras and computer sensors to closely monitor specific locations. There are different levels of protection available, as well as several features that one can add to the system to customize it to specific needs. Generally, a surveillance system can be purchased through a security company, along with alarms and other additions.

The main purpose of a surveillance system is to closely monitor a specific section or sections of a building or the outside of a building. They generally require one or more cameras to be installed in the areas being monitored. The cameras record everything that goes on and send the pictures to a screen set up in a separate location. Each camera may have a separate screen, or they may share one screen which regularly switches from one scene to another.

In many cases, a surveillance system features cameras that are attached to motion sensors. This means that if any movement is detected within the camera's range, the lens will move in the direction of the motion. By using motion sensors, it is not necessary for an intruder or prowler to walk into a particular area because the camera moves until he is in shot.

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There are also cameras that have lenses which adjust to low lighting. These are called night sensor lenses, and they can help catch things that normal lenses would miss during the nighttime hours. Generally, they pick up body heat of anyone who enters the building.

Many times, a surveillance system will be closely watched by a security guard or other watchmen. This way, multiple cameras can be viewed at one time. If something out of the ordinary is noticed, there is often a separate security system that can implemented. The watchman can either sound an alarm, turn on motion sensor lasers, or use some other system for letting the intruder know they have been spotted.

Surveillance systems are most often used by stores where shoplifters may be a problem, or by large companies that have valuable goods or information on hand. Oftentimes they are reviewed after a crime has been committed to get a better look at the person or persons involved. This allows police to more effectively find criminals before they can commit additional crimes.

Prices for a quality surveillance system vary based on how many cameras are used, how many monitors are installed, and which features are added. The most high-tech systems can be quite pricey, but there are generally options available for almost any business's budget. Additionally, the price is justified with the peace of mind and potential savings in stolen goods.

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