The Importance of Date and Time stamps for Surveillance

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.

Video Security DVR

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.


4 Comments on The Importance of Date and Time stamps for Surveillance

  1. William on Thu, 7th Jun 2012 10:12 am
  2. I had no idea that my video evidence could be invalidated that easily! Thank you for this tip!

  3. KD on Fri, 8th Jun 2012 12:34 pm
  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog. Te most important aspect of surveillance is being able to find an event and time stamping is the most crucial piece. Thanks Mr. Black for the information.

  5. BK on Mon, 2nd Jul 2012 9:21 am
  6. It’s the little things that make the difference. Who knew that a time stamp was one of those little things? thanks for point it out.

  7. tim casey on Thu, 19th Jul 2012 6:46 am
  8. I’ve read a few posts on this blog and I can honestly relate. Couple months ago i was the victim of a break in and I realized I needed a home security and surveillance system for my home in FL. The peace of mind I gained from having a visible security system cannot be put into words. Thank you for pushing me into action.

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