Security cameras are an essential part of business security — but if they are placed in the wrong areas, it can render your camera system ineffective. So which parts of your business should you choose for security camera installation?
The best place to put security cameras depends on a number of factors, such as the type of business you have, the specific goods you need to protect, the layout of your facilities, and the goal of the surveillance. However, there are some general rules that can help any business protect their cash, employees, merchandise, data, and customers. Here are our top 6 places to put security cameras in a business.
1. Front and Back Doors
The front and back entrances to a business are prime spots for intruders to enter. By installing visible security cameras at the front and back entrances of a building, you can deter unauthorized people from potentially trying to come in and commit a crime. Security camera installation is an effective way to prevent many “opportunity crimes,” as most burglars will move on if they see high-quality video cameras in place. Just make sure the cameras are not placed low enough for someone to reach and tamper with: 9 feet off the ground is ideal for most doors.
Monitoring main entrances not only discourages unauthorized intruders from coming into your business — it also gives you a comprehensive overview of everyone who enters and exits the building. This can be helpful in determining who was in the building at the time of specific events, and helps you gain a clear picture of traffic into your retail store, office building, or other commercial facility.
A security solution that may work for your business’s main entrance is a video intercom system paired with security cameras. This allows authorized staff to remotely verify the identity of anyone requesting entry into the building, by seeing live footage of them on a monitor. You can even pair video intercom systems with remote access control, enabling authorized staff remotely unlock doors for visitors with the simple press of a button.
Back Door Surveillance
Back doors need just as much protection as front doors, if not more. These are common places for unauthorized break-ins, especially after hours. Back entrances should be monitored with security cameras even if they do not not get much traffic. In fact, intruders may target back doors for this very reason: If these entrances are not visible from the street, thieves may try to break in because there is a low chance of anyone seeing it and stopping them. Without visible security camera monitoring in place, anyone could try to come in through the back door, as they know there is a good chance they will get away with it without consequences.
2. Building Perimeters
The sides of a building are often overlooked, but these areas can also benefit from security monitoring. Side doors may be targeted by criminals trying to slip in unnoticed — especially if these doors are in dark areas or not fully visible to the public.
Back and side windows are common targets for break-ins — especially ones that are low to the ground and easily accessible from the street. Placing cameras in these areas will deter many intruders from attempting a break-in in the first place. If a crime does happen, you will capture the whole thing on video, making it easy to identify perpetrators and recover stolen items. Cameras with wide viewing angles are ideal for monitoring the perimeter of your building, as they will be able to capture vast expanses such as large window banks.
Pairing window cameras with glass break sensors can let you or security staff instantly get notified of the break-in, letting you verify that there is an intruder and respond to the crime. You can also pair cameras with commercial alarm monitoring, or choose a system that provides instant smartphone alerts the moment a crime is detected. This ensures law enforcement can get to your business quickly and stop the incident in its tracks.
Driveways and Walkways
Other areas that may be captured by security cameras at building perimeters include walkways, driveways, and parking areas near the facility. Having prominent security cameras in place and proper lighting provides a sense of safety for any workers leaving after dark, as well as for authorized nighttime visitors. Monitoring parking areas and driveways near your building also lets you keep an eye on vehicles and bikes in these areas, which can be susceptible to break-ins, vandalism, and theft.
3. Reception Areas
Reception areas are another great place for security camera monitoring. These high-traffic spaces have various people coming and going, which increases their risk of crime and intrusion. It is important to monitor these areas with at least one security camera: This lets you quickly respond to crimes and other incidents, view everyone entering your building, and provide a sense of safety for receptionists and staff.
Office buildings, hotels, apartment buildings, and schools are a few of the facilities that can benefit from reception area cameras. If you want your lobby security cameras hidden so visitors don’t feel they are being watched, you can get cameras that blend subtly into your decor, or small cameras that can be placed inside things such as frames, smoke detectors, clocks, and decorative items.
Reception Surveillance and Access Control
Monitoring your lobby area helps you keep an eye on any individuals that enter before they try to access elevator, office rooms, back rooms, or other restricted areas. Combined with door and elevator access control, lobby cameras can help you make sure guests only gain access to certain areas. Doorbell cameras with video intercom systems and remote access control make an effective addition to building reception areas, since these allow receptionists to easily verify and permit authorized people outside the building.
4. Store Rooms
All rooms that store cash, merchandise, or any other valuable items are hotspots for theft. These incidents may go unnoticed in the moment, but they cause long-term inventory shrinkage and profit loss for your business. Installing security cameras in store and stock rooms gives you peace of mind that any valuables, cash, and data are safe. This will deter crime in the area by letting people know they are being monitored, and make it easier to recover your goods if a theft does occur.
Some commercial storage areas that may need monitoring include:
- Cash rooms
- Merchandise storage rooms
- Equipment rooms
- Office supply rooms
- Data server rooms
- Confidential file cabinets
Cameras should be placed in a position that ensures everything in the room is visible. Wide-angle cameras such as dome cameras are great for monitoring large storage areas, as they can be installed on the ceiling to capture everything that happens in the room. This will capture any theft that happens, whether from burglars or employees.
Cameras should also monitor server rooms to protect your company’s data. Thieves may target sensitive documents and confidential files, or the computers and other electronics stored in these rooms. Rooms that contain confidential physical documents, such as file cabinets, should also be securely monitored. Not only do security cameras protect your business data from unauthorized people, it allows you to see every authorized staff member who accesses it.
Warehouses should have secure monitoring in every area where merchandise and materials are stored. This will greatly cut down on thefts of opportunity and help you prevent inventory shrinkage. To ensure everyone in these areas is visible at all times, it is essential to either install lighting, or to invest in security cameras with night vision. Businesses with multiple warehouse locations may opt for centralized security monitoring systems that display video feeds of every location in one secure platform. This brings your whole security system together, making it much easier to catch any crime that happens in your storage areas.
It is also very important to monitor rooms containing hazardous materials, as well as controlled substances such as cannabis plants and products. Monitoring these rooms helps your business ensure responsibility and legal compliance at all times.
5. Work Areas
If you have an office building, industrial facility, or any other building with activity and work going on inside it, it can be helpful to monitor these work areas.
Placing cameras in office areas can allow you to keep tabs on employee performance, as well as letting you easily investigate incidents and resolve disputes. If there is harassment, fraud, or other criminal behaviors going on in your business, security cameras will help you catch it. If placed in areas with physical work going on, such as warehouses, loading docks, construction sites, and manufacturing plants, security cameras can help ensure safety protocols are being met by workers at all times.
Should I Tell Employees They Are Being Monitored?
It is best to let employees know if you monitor work areas with surveillance cameras. For privacy reasons, there can be legal implications if camera recording is not disclosed. Informing employees that they are being watched will also deter internal theft and fraud, making sure everyone in your business knows they are held accountable for their actions. Checking with your security provider can help you learn about local surveillance laws, and which areas are okay to monitor.
6. Any Secluded Areas or Hiding Spots
Is your business full of secluded areas that can serve as hiding places for criminals? If unprotected by video monitoring, isolated areas without many people around could be hotspots for violent crimes and vandalism. These areas commonly include:
- Parking lots
- Detached garages and sheds
- Secluded walkways
- Back alleys
- Loading docks
Criminals may choose to target these areas because they know there will not be witnesses. Making sure all these areas are protected with visible security cameras will let anyone in the area know they are being watched. It will also make employees, visitors, and customers feel safe as they enter and exit your business, especially at night.
Parking lots and garages are common spots for crimes, as they are often secluded, and people can hide behind vehicles. Criminals may break into cars or target people entering and exiting the building. To secure your parking area against theft, violent crimes, and vandalism, consider visible security cameras mounted on poles: This will capture a wide view while keeping your cameras out of reach. You can also invest in license plate reader cameras, letting you scan the plate number of each vehicle that enters the area. This enables you to flag any vehicle connected to a crime, ensuring the vehicle is not allowed to enter the property again without alarms sounding and/or gates locking. For more information about monitoring your parking spaces, check out our ultimate guide to parking lot cameras here.
Loading docks that are hidden from the street are also good places for security cameras, as they can harbor theft and violent crimes. Monitoring employees who are sending and receiving shipments can help you spot internal theft and make sure business protocols are being met, as well as keeping tabs on deliveries.
It may seem silly to monitor your dumpsters, but this is actually a common area for all kinds of crimes to happen, including internal theft. Employees may throw out valuable items into the dumpster, then either pick it up later or have someone else pick it up. Monitoring these areas with cameras will help you catch any suspicious activity that happens.
Do I Need Night Vision Cameras?
In any secluded areas without proper lighting or with lighting that causes an obscuring glare in your cameras, it is best to install cameras with night vision or glare reduction capabilities. This will ensure the faces of everyone in the area are clearly visible, which is crucial for identifying perpetrators and preventing repeat crimes.
Every business is different, so it’s important to take some time to consider which spots are the most vulnerable to break-ins, theft, and violent crimes. If you want a professional opinion on where to put security cameras in your unique facility, get in touch with our experts at Safe and Sound Security today. We have over a decade of experience designing and installing security camera systems to prevent crimes.