The latest weapon in fighting crime: Surveillance cameras


Saudi Gazette report

CLOSED-circuit cameras have helped security authorities solve many crimes including home invasions that have taken place in recent years. Today many families and shop owners in the Kingdom consider installing CCTV cameras very important for their safety and protection.

Pertinent authorities require all dealers of surveillance equipment to follow official recommendations based on the results of studies conducted by the Crime Research Center under the Ministry of Interior.

Police reports have indicated that in 20 percent of home burglaries, thieves broke into the house from a backdoor. The reports underline the need to place surveillance cameras at the back entrances. In some cases, thieves break into houses from back windows.

It is important to fix the cameras in spots that are difficult to detect by possible intruders. Experts advise that cameras with sensors and night-vision technology should be installed in the backyards and entrances and should be kept hidden from view. Placing cameras in easy-to-see places won’t help as thieves can tamper with them easily.

Al-Riyadh newspaper met with a number of residents in Riyadh to find out how popular CCTV technology has become and how many of them have installed surveillance cameras in their houses and business premises as a precautionary measure.

Almost everyone who the newspaper talked to agreed

that installing surveillance cameras has become a must these days because they help police nail down thieves and criminals quickly and easily. Yehya Al-Zahrani said he was against installing surveillance cameras in his home but changed his mind after reading about the child who was almost kidnapped by a group of hoodlums in a Riyadh neighborhood a few of months ago.

Fayeq Khayat, chairman of Security and Safety Committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged the general public to install surveillance cameras for maximum security and protection. He pointed out that these cameras could also be useful to monitor children when parents are away from home.

Business owners install these cameras to keep an eye on employees and their performance and prevent attempts of embezzlement and other corrupt practices, he explained.

“No doubt these cameras have helped police crack several crimes, which would have been impossible to solve without footages from CCTV cameras," Khayat said.

Security cameras can record sharp and clear photos with sound. They capture almost everything taking place in the vicinity. "I urge members of the public to install cameras in order to feel safe and secure," added Khayat. There are several types of surveillance cameras: stationary, portable, night-vision, among others. "People should select the type that works for them best,” Khayat said.

Ibrahim Abdulsamad, a lawyer, pointed out that London has over 5 million security cameras installed all over the city and these cameras have reduced vehicle thefts by 72 percent and thefts in public transportation by 23 percent. In Dubai, over 30,000 security cameras were installed to monitor public squares. These cameras have helped reduce crimes by 95 percent.

“Today, there are enemies inside and outside the country. Therefore, the authorities should consider installing surveillance cameras in public places and drafting a law requiring all companies and stores to have them in place,” he said.

Alaa Aljojo, who works for a security camera company, explained that all surveillance cameras should be installed according to the Ministry of Interior’s requirements and specifications. He noted that a large number of people have recently visited the company to buy surveillance equipment following the recent surge in crime rates.

“Most people install security cameras in their villas and residential buildings but rarely in warehouses and business premises. For some reason, owners of warehouses and businesses are not interested in the technology although they should have in order to protect their valuable assets,” he said.

Some cameras can detect any unfamiliar object while some send warning messages to the owner when they detect any strange activity. Others can send business owners faces of anyone who trespass into the premises.