Clean your security camera to help fight crime

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton police count on surveillance video but if the lens is dirty, the footage can be useless. Kendra Slugoski reports.

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Police Service is reminding businesses and homeowners to clean their security camera lenses and maintain their equipment to help fight crime.

Video surveillance has become an important element in about 80 per cent of police investigations. But some investigations are hindered because of dirty security lenses, including a recent a case of reported card skimming at a mall food court.

“The security camera lens was so dirty and greasy, we couldn’t make out the suspect’s features, and the video footage was useless.  Dirty lenses produce fuzzy images, however, clear images help us catch criminals,” said Const. Elvin Toy, Edmonton Police Service.

An example of a clean versus dirty security camera lens. Edmonton police are reminding businesses and homeowners to clean their security camera lenses to help fight crime. Edmonton Police Service, Supplied

There have been many cases in which organizations have suffered financial losses and embarrassment, as well as faced legal issues because their surveillance systems were not working properly, police explain.

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Here is a list of tips for maintaining security cameras:

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  • Perform semi-annual inspections on your security cameras
  • Clean all camera lenses and domes, and blow out dust from hardware at least twice a year for optimal performance
  • Check your camera focus and direction.  Remove barriers and trim landscaping that impede the field of view, and avoid pointing the camera in the direction of the sun.
  • Ensure your camera is securely in position and free of vibration
  • Inspect your camera housing and weatherproof
  • Replace cameras with poor image quality or frequent breakdowns.  Opt for digital cameras and recording systems with higher resolution appropriate for your lighting conditions.
  • Keep your system manuals and passwords handy.
  • Know how to download recorded video.
  • Consult with a security professional when installing a new system or setting up regular maintenance

Edmonton police are delivering the message as part of Fraud Prevention Month, and will be handing out 2,000 free lens cleaning cloths to local businesses to encourage owners to clean their security cameras regularly.

WATCH: The Edmonton Police Service has released a video comparing a dirty and clean camera lens in a re-enactment.  

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