Surveillance Cameras During a Crisis: Why It May Be a Good Idea

Security Surveillance Camera

When we think of surveillance cameras many of us may think “crime deterrent”. The bad guy spots the one eyed crime stopper with its glowing red light and they quickly melt back into the shadows in search of an easier target.

Most home systems are designed to deter and detect however, if the criminal is persistent it is up to you to then deny and defend. A camera system paired with your Smart Phone or tablet would act as an early warning system. You would get an alert via text or even phone call and then you could take the “appropriate action”.

You are in the back bedroom asleep and your phone beeps or vibrates, someone or something has tripped the motion sensor. You check the screen for real time images. The camera is in record mode. You now realize someone is in your home, is it a family member, a drunken neighbor, or is it a stranger with a weapon.

Some people are under the impression that during a crisis it is no holds barred, that anything goes and whatever you do is justified, and that no one would be called to account for their actions. This of course, is not the case.

In some cases, some people may shoot first and ask questions later. Shoot, shovel and shut up is essentially the mind set. The reality never matches up with the plans though. You either will be called to account during or after the crisis has abated. Every round that leaves the muzzle of your firearm must be accounted for.

Besides acting as deterrents, surveillance cameras can protect you in other ways as well, because they can record events. If you are forced to defend your home using a firearm, or with any weapon for that matter, you will want proof that your actions were justified.

The rules for use of deadly force will be the same during a crisis as during so-called normal times. Just because rioters are loose in the streets, and establishments are being looted does not mean that certain laws are set aside for law abiding citizens.

If you have cameras that can record all activities then you may have an easier time dealing with insurance companies as well. If you have a recording of people breaking into your home and making off with the television, computers and other items you are in a much better position with the insurance company and with local law enforcement. Unfortunately some people do take advantage of situations and will claim this and that was stolen when in fact it was not.

Insurance companies can deny claims if they believe you did not take appropriate actions to deter or even detect. This is akin to leaving your vehicle unlocked or leaving the keys in it. In other words your very own actions caused the situation to occur according to the insurance company, and thus, the claim could be denied.

It is unfortunate that law abiding homeowners have to go to such extreme measures to prove they are in fact law abiding citizens. This is the reality however, and so you must do what you need to do.

Insurance claims are routinely denied because there is no actual proof of a break in regardless of the smashed window or door kicked in. In some adjusters’ minds if there are no pictures or videos it didn’t happen. The same thinking can apply if you have to fire your weapon and you kill or injure someone. You want the action recorded to keep yourself out of legal trouble and ultimately out of jail. Simply put no one is going to take your word for it.

In some cases of course, investigators can read the situation, and based on evidence at the scene can determine what happened. In too many cases however, the homeowner is arrested until the facts can be sorted out. This means legal bills and a record of the arrest all of which can cause you problems the rest of your life even if you are released without charges. It may go one step further and you have to go to trial. Going to trial and being acquitted while is a relief still means your life will never be the same.

Having a recording of all activity in and around your home can stop certain legal actions against you, and help you with insurance claims. During a crisis things do get hectic. Witnesses are unreliable, your own recollection in most people’s minds is naturally biased, and is discounted in some cases, so having video proof, or even still pictures can go along ways in showing what really happened.

There are enough models of surveillance cameras on the market so that everyone’s budget can be accommodated. Ideally the cameras have battery backups, are wireless and can be paired with a laptop, computer, or Smart Phone, or even streamed to a secured website for storage.

An Internet Protocol (IP) camera can be viewed in real time from any computer as long as you have access to the secure server. In most cases, you would set it up so only you have access to ensure the video feeds and stills are not erased or tampered with.

Wireless cameras are easy to install and typically can be viewed on a Smart Phone, and any videos recorded could be stored on the phone as well. There are any numbers of ways to incorporate a surveillance system, but your ultimate goal is to ensure you have recordings of all actions, recordings that can be used to justify your actions. You want recordings of people entering your property, along with images that show the intent of the intruders.