BlogWhat Are Surveillance Cameras?

Around the world, there are more than 350 million surveillance cameras. Since the 1970’s the camera surveillance system has become a part of everyday life. We can’t go to many public places without coming across one.

They range from extensive networks installed by government and local authorities to businesses, and even in our homes. Whatever your stance on them, whether you see the surveillance camera as an invasion of privacy or not, one thing you can guarantee is that they are here to stay.

Advances in modern technology mean that cameras are now capable of capturing 360-degree video and infrared footage and sending it straight to our smartphones. Some systems are even equipped with real-time face and car license plate recognition software, that can link through straight to police networks.

But how exactly does video protection work, and how can a security system help protect your property? This article will answer all those questions. Read on to find out more.

What Are Surveillance Cameras and How Do They Work?

A surveillance camera system is a camera used specifically for the observation and recording of a certain area. They are a useful tool to help deter crime, and footage and support evidence of committed crimes. They are also used as a safety measure to help prevent accidents.

They work by capturing footage and then sending them to a central system. This is then stored on a hard drive, either at the site or via cloud storage. Surveillance cameras can also be used live by security guards or a surveillance team to catch crimes or suspects as they happen.

A typical surveillance system works on the following process;

The camera captures the footage through its lens and sensors, this can be video, image, and audio

The footage is transmitted to a recorder wither either wirelessly or by cable where it is stored

Connected monitors will allow users to watch recorded footage or view camera capture in real-time by a security team

The Difference Between CCTV Camera and A Surveillance Camera

CCTV surveillance is an abbreviation for closed-circuit television. They are a self-contained surveillance system. They record and transfer video recordings taken by the cameras to a central system, via coaxial cabling or wirelessly and contain this footage in a closed system.

Surveillance cameras are essentially the video camera part of the CCTV system.

Why Do Surveillance Cameras Help Cut Crime?

Surveillance cameras are generally used to help reduce or prevent crimes. A security video system helps to cut crime in the following ways:


When a potential criminal sees a camera, it’s a visual reminder for them to decide whether or not to go ahead with the crime. This works particularly well for petty theft, where the consequences of being caught on camera outweigh the value of the item or items they are trying to steal.


When you catch criminal activity on camera, it can be a vital piece of evidence for to them get captured and charged. Or for more serious crimes, given a prison sentence, and reducing the number of criminals on the street.

Fear Reduction

Security cameras can help make people feel more at ease. If people can clearly see they are operating they might feel more at ease around your business knowing that criminals may want to avoid doing an unlawful activity on camera.

Monitoring and Intervention

The dangers can be in lots of places at the same time, so a security guard can oversee many areas at once. They can spot suspicious behavior, or a crime happening through the CCTV system, and can quickly go to the criminal.

Using a CCTV system could also be a good way to alert other staff members if they have an in-store communication system. A security guard is better able to place a worker in a strategic position to help deter the would-be criminal.

Camera Surveillance System Types

When you’re looking to invest in a surveillance system, you’ll find there are several different types on the market. Here are the main ones you’ll come across. Cameras come in analog and digital recording modes.

Bullet Cameras

These cameras as compact and tube-shaped, and often what you’ll see in small businesses. They are suitable for inside and outdoors, with the whole camera system contained in a single cylindrical-shaped unit. These cameras will only face one direction, so are best positioned over an entrance, or a payment desk. Some models also feature infrared LEDs for use in low light.

Dome Cameras

You’ll frequently see these indoors mounted on the ceiling. The design of this camera makes it difficult for criminals to tell which direction the camera is facing. These cameras come with numerous options, including infrared recording and night vision. Some also have tamper-proof features and varifocal lenses to zoom in and out.

Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras

Often just called PTZ cameras, these cameras are remote-controlled. They allow a surveillance operator to pan, tilt up, and zoom to follow people as they move. These are used indoors and out and are particularly useful when set up as a system of cameras, to track and follow a particular person around a city or large store.

Mobile Surveillance Towers

The previous examples have all been static cameras. Mobile surveillance towers are temporary and are useful if there is a large-scale, public event. Mobile surveillance units feature a system with up to 25-foot towers, with PTZ cameras mounted on them. These cameras will be controlled remotely, often from a van or temporary security office.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal cameras work by capturing video of a person's movements based on body temperature. They can look similar to bullet cameras and be used both indoors and out. They can be useful, particularly if you need surveillance in a dark area or at nighttime.

It can be more difficult to distinguish facial features, as the thermal image you’ll see will look more like a rainbow based on the person's body heat. They are however more capable of capturing a lot more detail in poorly lit areas through their thermal sensors.

Automated License Plate Readers

These are useful if you have somewhere cars can access, such as onsite parking. These types of cameras are also referred to as ALPRs and are controlled by a computer.

They work by registering a license plate number, as well as photographing the vehicles and drivers. They are often fixed cameras mounted at the entrance to a car park and traffic lights. They also come in a mobile variant and are used in police patrol cars.

Does My Property Need Video Protection or a Security System?

We highly recommend protecting your property with some sort of security system. Whether this is a business or a home security surveillance system, the benefits outweigh the costs of setting it up.

Home Owners

For homeowners looking to protect their house, small things you can do is install a surveillance system at your front door, or yard and in any back garden. This can be simple to set up, and even feed directly to your phone with a notification pop-up and a screen capture of when someone is on your property.


If you run a small business, we highly recommend investing in a security system that records both inside and outside. This is especially recommended if you’re allowing customers onto your premise, to capture any potential small crimes, and also to record any incidents.

For example, if a customer is claiming they injured themselves on your property, then the video footage from your surveillance camera can prove a vital piece of evidence of what actually happened.

If you have a larger size business or store, then you will want to install multiple cameras with a live feed to a screen, plus a security guard to monitor the screens. They will be able to deter and stop crimes as they happen.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

As you’ve just read, there is an abundance of, surveillance camera options out there. It can be challenging to know which security system is best for your home or business.

Knowing exactly how much video protection you need along with the correct type of footage you want to capture can be a huge investment so it’s best to enlist the help of a knowledgeable team to discuss your exact needs and to come up with a viable solution.

For all your camera surveillance system questions, speak to the team at Two-i today. Two-i is a software provider for security systems and can provide you with another great tool to add to your surveillance cameras. Send our experts a message today to get started.

Exit icon
Exit icon