Tight security is extremely important in places such as courthouses where any disturbance can disrupt order and can possibly turn violent. While most of the events that occur inside a courthouse are normally peaceful, the exchange of hurtful words, threat of fights and even shootings in courthouses can actually happen. Security cameras and surveillance systems that are installed in the courthouse play an integral role in maintaining peace and order as well as a proper level of decorum while inside the courthouse premises.
Below are some of the most common benefits on using surveillance systems and security cameras in courthouses:
Monitor for any criminal activity – Appropriately situated security cameras help security personnel to monitor video feeds so that incidents of any criminal activity can be easily spotted and quickly responded to.
Violence deterrent – The mere presence of security cameras inside a courthouse can help stop violent acts before they even start, and it is very effective whenever potential troublemakers are aware that their actions are being monitored.
Detection of unattended and/or missing objects – Courthouses, just like any other place, are also prone to theft and robbery. Certain models of security cameras have advanced features such as missing object detection that is used to keep an eye on valuable objects. When a certain object is missing, an alarm will go off instantly to notify the attention of security staff. On the other hand, security cameras that have unattended object detection features can help in detecting unattended objects inside the courthouse premises. The unknown object (which can be potentially a bomb) can be configured to trigger an alarm that can instantly notify the attention of security personnel.
Protection of employees – The sad but harsh reality in courthouses is that tensions brewing up in there can be tremendously high, and at times it results in outbursts from suspects and other individuals involved towards court employees. With the help of video surveillance, such anticipated incidents can be spotted early on, which enables security officials to prevent them before things get out of hand.
Provides visual evidence – Should there be an incident or disturbance of some sort that happens in or around the courthouse, security cameras can help in providing a visual record of what has transpired, in cases wherein there are incidents that require close investigation.
Remote video monitoring – IP security cameras are able to transmit digital video feeds over a network, which in turn enables authorized personnel to access video footage remotely via a computer with an Internet connection. Several IP cameras can also let the user to remotely control the pan, tilt and zoom functions for more detailed viewing of the area.
Sophisticated search capabilities – With the use of IP security cameras, captured video footage is then stored digitally, archived on network servers, hard drives or network video recorders, rather than on clunky and bulky analog video cassette tapes. Since digital video footage is much easier to scour through, it takes less time to look for images that reveal a specific and significant event.
Below are some of the most common possible risks on using security cameras and surveillance systems in courthouses:
Vandalism – As with any security camera, there is always a chance that someone will try to tamper with it. If a security camera is damaged or tampered, the signal could very well be lost. Other security measures must be implemented in order to make up for the loss of coverage.
Before installing security cameras and a surveillance system in a courthouse and courtroom setting, there are some things that one needs to consider.
- What type of physical security personnel does the courthouse have?
- Have there been incidents of violent outbursts that occurred within the courthouse?
- What kind of security system is the area currently equipped with?
- Has criminal activity occurred within or around the area?
- Have there been reported instances where courthouse employees were attacked or forced to endure hazardous circumstances inside the premises?
- What are the possible highest-risk areas for potential incidents in the courthouse?
Setup Advice on Security Cameras and Surveillance Systems for Courthouses
Below are some basic setup advices for those who are planning to install or upgrade security cameras and surveillance systems in courthouses:
- Use video surveillance in order to monitor each and every public area inside the building such as lobbies, elevators and hallways for instances of disruptive behavior or criminal activity.
- Install security cameras at all entrance and exit doors so anyone who comes in and out of the court building is clearly captured on camera. Security cameras can be used to effectively detect human faces captured in the video feed and these images are saved as thumbnail image index. By only checking and clicking the thumbnail image index, the retrieval of any video clip has become easier.
- Install security cameras in areas such as the boiler room, basement, all corners of the building outside, and any other area in the courthouse that is deemed appropriate or necessary.
- Ensure that there is optimum video surveillance of areas both inside and outside the courthouse. Oftentimes, disputes happen outside a courthouse where two conflicting parties may confront and provoke one another. In addition, vandalism can also pose as a problem in parking lots, rest areas, courtyards, and any other area just outside the courthouse.
- Install security cameras throughout the courtroom in order to monitor each and every activity so that every specific and crucial incident can be captured and presented as evidence in case that it is needed in the future.
- As an added measure of security, make it a point to place the hard drive of the surveillance system in a secure location elsewhere (perhaps another building or at the nearest police station) rather than keep it inside the courthouse. This strategy would ensure that if someone manages to break into the courthouse and/or remain behind after office hours, they would not be able to destroy the surveillance system as well as the video footage of their presence inside the building.