The mainstream sex appeal of surveillance footage
Hey, if you think my headlines are a little inflammatory sometimes, check out this one from the Orlando Sentinel: Laundromat cameras capture Sanford girl fight Not "Fight breaks out at Sanford Laundromat"; not "Violence erupts during spin cycle"; not "Wash your step: It's dangerous in Sanford." Instead, the story is first that the cameras captured the fight. And since this is online, you've got to think they did that because, well, people are probably hoping there's video of a girl fight behind that there headline! The girl-fight-sensationalism thing I won't even comment about because it's so sexist and scummy, but this only reiterates just how sexy video is. People are desperate to see exactly what happened. I've editorialized about this before, but I can't say it enough: Your expertise with video is a highly valued skill and has more than simply traditional security applications. In the situation in question, you've got a million eye witnesses, the laundromat is open and the attendant calls the police, and the video cameras are essentially unnecessary. But I guarantee you the police officers investigating the incident (assuming an investigation is begun and followed through) are happy to have that video handy to see just what happened and not have to rely on those probably unreliable eyewitnesses or potentially scared-to-testify attendant. How does that help the laundromat that probably bought the cameras? It likely doesn't. What's the ROI? Maybe hard to calculate here, especially considering the cameras didn't exactly act as a deterrent in this case. But a relationship with the police has value and it's certainly possible the owner of the establishment sees value in being able to see for him/herself what exactly happened.