Since the advent of surveillance cameras, criminals have thwarted the purpose of many excellent, high resolution cameras by simply wearing a hoody. The cameras providing the footage typically are showing excellent views of "WHAT" happened but rarely showing the "WHO" part.
Why? The traditional school of thought is to position cameras up high so that they can serve a dual purpose of providing overview shots of "WHAT" happened and the "WHO" part. Other reasons include, getting camera out of the way, out of reach from suspects and sometimes for pure aesthetic reasons — cameras just look better positioned up high.
As implied, simply donning a hood, or baseball cap for that matter, creates the perfect barrier to proper line-of-sight between a high placed camera and a suspect's face.
Effective alternatives to placing cameras up are easy to employ. Some of them might surprise you and will definitely surprise the criminal when they're scoping your establishment. Here are some options:
Vandal Proof Dome
As stated earlier, some of the classic reasons for placing cameras up high are keeping them out-of-reach and aesthetics. With the sleek design of today's dome security cameras and the almost standard tri-axis feature, vandal-proof dome cameras make an excellent choice for wall mounting and gaining a better line-of-sight with potential suspects. Hence the name, vandal proof cameras are tough!.
Covert cameras are… Well… covert! Intentionally, persons unaware will assume they are something other than a camera and they won't know not to look at them.
Cameras disguised as utility enclosures outside of entrances, covert thermostat cameras positioned in hall ways, retail sales floors, etc, and covert PIR cameras positioned just behind counters, are all great examples of how covert cameras can get the "money shot" on suspect without them being aware.
Please keep in mind, covert cameras are also a great tool to check up on staff and find out what's really happening when your away. Covert cameras have also been the tool that has uncovered employees not only stealing but working in concert with others playing the part of robbers.
A middle ground between dome cameras and covert cameras are micro cameras. Micro cameras can be placed lower, towards eye level for a better line-of-sight and facial shots, while at the same time being inconspicuous.
Some micro cameras are so small they could be considered covert without any disguise, the (world's smallest video camera) is just 0.33 in square. Other cameras, such as the PC887WR bullet camera has a diameter of just 0.75 in and a resolution and lux rating that's better than many larger style security cameras.
Things to keep in mind
1. You still need overview shots
Capturing good facial shots are clearly the most critical need but understanding what happened is still important. For instance, a good overview shot can provide you with direction of travel, show where the suspect touched counters so that fingerprints can be lifted or where the suspect may have discarded evidence.
Additionally, businesses are prime targets of other types of crimes such as fraudulent accident claims and in those cases the "WHAT" part becomes the most critical.
2. The mask
Although increasingly rare, some criminals resort to wearing masks before they rob a store. Fortunately, these same criminals do not want to capture attention by wearing the mask until the very last moment. So be sure to have cameras outside the establishment and make sure they are visible enough to encourage criminals to go elsewhere.