The Importance of Date and Time stamps for Surveillance
Filed under: Beginning CCTV, CCTV Articles, CCTV Camera, General Technology, Security DVR, Software
I have often been asked by commercial customers if our DVRs have the feature of time and date stamps on recorded footage and if we program that on our end. The answer is yes, however, the due diligence should not stop there. The reason that this is so important to commercial and residential customers is evidentiary proof.
I had a commercial client recently inform me of a recent incident which prompted him to call in and get a new surveillance system. The customer’s store was vandalized and though there was some visual footage that showed the culprit committing the crime, there was no date and time stamp on the recorded footage which rendered the surveillance footage as invalid evidence. It is important to make sure that the time and date function of the DVR is programmed properly and that from time to time, the end user checks that information in playback to ensure that the proper information is being displayed.
An additional thing to consider is if there are POS, access control, or alarm systems integrated with the onsite surveillance system. It is important that the time and date stamps are synchronized with the surveillance system because many jurisdictions will require time and date evidence from other supplementary equipment within the home or business. It is important that all sources that can produce identical time and date stamps thus validating the evidence.
If there is a wall clock or desk clock that is within view of a camera and that footage will need to be used in a court of law for evidence, it is imperative that the clock is displaying the same time (within a minute or so) as to what is displayed on the time stamp of the video footage. There have been numerous instances where a few minutes discrepancy has caused video footage to be ruled invalid and thrown out as evidentiary proof. It is recommended to choose a DVR that has a function where the end user can preset the Daylight savings feature so that when the hour rolls forward or falls back, the system automatically makes that change.