Anyone with young children knows the battle that comes with the bedtime routine. Getting them to clean up their toys off the floor is a negotiation, putting on pajamas and brushing their teeth becomes an animated discussion, shepherding them into bed ends you being labeled “the meanest person in the world”, and you’ve haven’t even gotten to the hardest part – navigating your escape from their bedroom while shrouded in darkness.
Tiptoeing your way to the bedroom door through a minefield of unknown dangers in the form of Barbies, Lego pieces, or a variety of other menaces that could be a Who’s Who list from Toy Story. At best, you stub your toe and at worst, you are lying flat on your back on the way to the emergency room.
While slipping on that Matchbox car you couldn’t see in the dark can be a real danger, it’s a drop in bucket to the perils waiting in parking lots at night. According to the FBI, parking lots are the third most common place where crimes occur. Many of those crimes are crimes of opportunity which can be attributed to extremely large footprints coupled with challenging layouts. Add in other unique challenges like poor sightlines, low lighting, and the ability to blend in with so many other people and vehicles and it’s no wonder parking lots have become attractive targets for criminals.
The good news is that there are effective ways to prevent and deter crimes and protect these areas. According to a study conducted by Cornell University, security cameras are one of the most effective tools in deterring crimes. In fact, statistics show that security cameras can help reduce crime by up to 51%.
The efficacy of surveillance units in reducing crime in parking lots is further supported by a recent study conducted by the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) in conjunction with data provided by LiveView Technologies (LVT) and the municipalities, businesses, and police departments of two cities experiencing crime in the 90th percentile. The findings indicated that not only did surveillance units reduce crime in the imminent location where the cameras were located but it extended beyond to neighboring and surrounding areas.
It's clear why businesses are turning to mobile surveillance units as a big part of their parking lot security solution. Yet, when choosing the best system for your needs, it’s imperative you bring the right tools in your toolkit. The effectiveness of any camera is that it’s only as good as what it can capture and see. It’s a function that can be challenged when dusk arrives and visibility is compromised by poor lighting, or weather conditions.
That’s where night vision can help level the playing field. Criminals often feel emboldened during the evening, particularly when it comes to crimes like theft, vandalism, and break-ins where they feel safer under the cover of night. With advanced night vision camera technology, surveillance cameras can provide detailed high-quality images even in some of the lowest light conditions. Night vision cameras generally utilize three types of technology.
TYPES OF NIGHT VISION TECHNOLOGY
INFRARED (IR) CAMERAS
Infrared cameras rely on LED lights which provide an invisible beam of IR light that floods an object and then bounces back to the camera’s image sensor. The image sensor converts the IR light into a visible image that is then captured. Infrared light is completely unobtrusive as it is invisible to the naked eye.
LOW LIGHT AMPLIFICATION
Low light amplification technology involves the camera gathering any available light and intensifying the light source. This magnified light is then converted and used to sharpen the image it is capturing. It’s important to note that with low light amplification, it does require at least some available light as it cannot work in complete darkness.
Thermal cameras utilize infrared radiation to capture images of objects and people. While the other types of night vision cameras rely on visible light, thermal cameras measure heat from objects and formulate an image based on the heat variations they give off. These heat signatures can be extremely effective in areas where visibility can be compromised due to anything from landscaping, to weather, to other conditions such as haze, smoke, or smog. One potential drawback is that with thermal cameras, the image’s finer details like facial features can be compromised since the camera is primarily relying on heat signatures rather than light.
With all these options available it allows businesses to monitor parking lots even in less-than-ideal conditions. Moreover, it creates an opportunity for businesses to further act, deter, and defend the areas more effectively and improve overall safety.
BENEFITS OF NIGHT VISION
SPEED UP ASSESSMENT AND RESPONSE TIME
With the ability to see better even in low visibility situations, night vision cameras can help businesses clearly and quickly identify potential dangers in a timelier manner. As a result, decision making processes are quicker which can lead to better outcomes. Having a clear view and understanding of what is happening in a situation is critical. It can be the difference between sending security personnel to investigate further or immediately alerting authorities or medical personnel for emergency intervention where time might be of the essence.
IDENTIFICATIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS
As it pertains to crime, prevention is always the preferred goal over apprehension. However, when that isn’t successful, it’s critical to be able to provide reliable and quality video with enough detail to help law enforcement identify and apprehend suspects. It can also be integral to investigations, providing evidence, and prosecuting criminals.
Often in cases where it’s one person’s word against another’s or a disputed account of events, it’s helpful to have reliable video evidence to clarify the situation. In a world that has become increasingly litigious, it could save you business thousands of dollars in situations like car accidents, slip and falls, and other potential accidents.
Many surveillance systems employ night vision cameras and are continuously looking to advance the technology. Their ability to lift the dark cloud of anonymity ensures that there is no place for criminals and their nefarious acts to hide. And that makes the importance of night vision cameras in your overall security plan as clear as day.