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The Realities of CCTV


nheather
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On Friday while my car was parked in the small car park outside my local Budgens store, when some careless soul decided to scrape their car along my rear bumper and then drive off without stopping.

 

A kindly witness got her phone out and snapped some pictures of the departing offender - unfortunately, although very sharp, by the time she had managed to snap the first shot the car was too far away to make out the licence number.

 

Not expecting much help, I asked in Budgens whether they had CCTV and to my surprise they were extremely helpful and offered to look through the footage from their two cameras.  They were able to find the offending car parked, then leaving, scraping my car on the way out - but the quality was so poor it was impossible to make out the registration number.

 

I had high hopes.  I know reality is not like the TV where the CSI team can enhance the blurry reflection on the victims eye and ‘enhance’ it in a full HD image so that they can read the name badge of the assailant, but these cameras were no more than 15 yards from the parked car.

 

This was in the middle of the day, bight and clear weather, if the CCTV can’t even make out a licence number less than 15 yards away under those conditions you have to wonder what the point of it is.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Yeah, it's a shame CCTV isn't like you see on TV shows.

 

Whilst it can be helpful after an event, unfortunately it's not really there to catch people, it's mostly meant to deter people.  Which it obviously doesn't, but people have been led down the path of believing it does and thus have a false sense of security, and like yourself, get frustrated when it doesn't help in situations like yours.

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35 minutes ago, nheather said:

if the CCTV can’t even make out a licence number less than 15 yards away under those conditions you have to wonder what the point of it

and yet the traffic cams tend to do it just fine ☹️

 

I suspect the problem with many CCTV installations is they are simply not maintained - I wonder when then camera was last given a bit of a clean and test

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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42 minutes ago, ckw said:

and yet the traffic cams tend to do it just fine ☹️

 

I suspect the problem with many CCTV installations is they are simply not maintained - I wonder when then camera was last given a bit of a clean and test

 

Cheers

 

Colin


Quite likely - and not only that, it was probably put in ten years ago as an ‘install and forget’ so not only is it probably dirty and ill-maintained but its probably technologically woefully out of date.

 

This Budgens also serves as a Post Office - you would have thought they would have better - but seeing some of the antiquated kit at government establishments it doesn’t surprise me one little bit.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I see where you went wrong.  You didn't say "Enhance".  That would have sharpened the number and you'd have been able to get the bleeper then.  I wish you had, if it's any consolation :(

 

I've got a 4K camera on the front of my house, and you'd be surprised at how close a car has to be to pick up the number plate.  There's another at the back, but that just picks up cats, which don't have number plates :shrug:

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Nigel @nheather do you know / did you happen to notice if there are any police CCTV cameras overlooking the car park?

Having seen the images first hand from these cameras, the CSI images are a little grainy! Worth a call to the local police to find out.

However, the police can do little to help because 1.) the incident happened on private property 2.) the driver of the other vehicle is NOT obliged to report the accident, to their insurance company.

Therefore no report, no claim. Ask me how I know!

Paul

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2 hours ago, Mike said:

I see where you went wrong.  You didn't say "Enhance".  That would have sharpened the number and you'd have been able to get the bleeper then.  I wish you had, if it's any consolation :(

 

I've got a 4K camera on the front of my house, and you'd be surprised at how close a car has to be to pick up the number plate.  There's another at the back, but that just picks up cats, which don't have number plates :shrug:


 

It was the shop staff who looked at it initially - they looked at both camera feeds and were unable to make out any of the registration number.  They did say that they would get the manager to look at it as he may be able to enhance the image - I did expect he would be able to and sure enough he got back to me apologising that he had tried but that there was nothing that he could.

 

To be honest the shop staff were a lot more helpful then I ever imagined they would be.

 

And you are correct with the private property thing, but to be honest even if it had been on the highway I doubt the Police would do anything.  I got a crime number from the non-emergency help desk and that was the 1084th number issued that day.

 

These things happen just annoying that I deny myself nice new kits and tools because they are a bit too extravagant and then some bleep scratches up my rear bumper which is going to cost me several times those extravagances just to get me back to where I was Friday morning.

 

I guess the lesson for us all is if you want that little extravagance just go for it, because it may seem expensive but nothing like the cost of some bleeper scratching your car tomorrow.   

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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1 hour ago, PhoenixII said:

the driver of the other vehicle is NOT obliged to report the accident,

Just for clarity the is not the case anymore. A driver has the same obligations if the accident is in a public car park such as this as if it was on the highway. I can't remember exactly when the law changed but it was quite some time ago. The fact that the public normally have access is the key point.

 

In other words if you hit a car in Sainsbury's/Tescos car park you must stop and exchange details or if you can't, report it to the police.

 

As to whether the police will be bothered to do anything - that is another question.

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What you need to do is carry a suitcase nuke round in the boot, and then much better cameras will keep an eye on your car for you :)

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41 minutes ago, PhoenixII said:

pity I missed out the important words "to their insurance company", now corrected.....Doh

Very true.

 

However I would recommend Nigel report the incident to the police. He would be able to get an accident reference number for any possible insurance claim. In addition it is just slightly possible that the other driver has reported the accident to them. I know this is a long shot but you never know.

Sorry just re-read above and it has been reported.

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I will never quite understand the variance in CCTV tech results.

At work we have a $50,000 high def , zoomable, state of the art system that if the light is just right and you get the perfect angle you may just be able to tell that the blob 5 meters away is a person. 

At home I have a $100, wide angle, 720p, doorbell camera that if I just zoom the video (WIFI through internet) I can count the whiskers on a squirrel at 20 meters in the middle of the night.  

It just makes no sense to me. 

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That's an 'orrible thing to have happen, and hopefully the driver gets tracked down eventually.

 

 

In a previous life...

 

I had the pleasure of teaching this countries* biggest bank robber.

This would have been around the turn of the millenium, and he had done a lag in jail in the interim. One thing he relied on was the fact that "security cameras" provided such poor quality imagery - then that was recorded onto a continuous loop recording tape...

He knew that any image of him standing in the bank would be utterly useless.

 

Good to see that times have not changed.

 

 

 

 

 

* The shakey islands (not the UK).

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