Setting up wireless security camera systems is a good idea for protecting your assets, deterring potential crime and documenting important transactions. Storing the footage, however, is a bit of a problem. Buying complete security packages and their storage media has become relatively affordable in recent times, but archiving captured footage can become prohibitively expensive over time.
So the question now is for how long should you store the video footage captured by your wireless security camera systems? There is no real clear-cut, legally defined period of time for retaining this footage, but these values ought to help shape your own retention policy:
For Residential Purposes: Between 7-14 Days
If you are installing wireless surveillance systems around your home, then you won’t need to invest too heavily in long-term storage of footage. You will ultimately decide for how long you’ll want to archive the video feed, but anywhere between one to two weeks is about enough time to capture relevant footage and then replay it when needed.
This is because you will most likely need the footage for when some sort of crime was committed. Most crimes committed on private property leave obvious signs – ransacked valuables, broken locks – and will allow you to quickly report to the police. A week or two of footage from wireless security camera systems is plenty enough time to help identify the perpetrator.
For Commercial And Industrial Purposes: Between 60-90 Days
If you run a business or are placed in charge of securing one, then you will need to invest in a little extra storage space for your wireless surveillance camera systems. The sheer volume of people who come in and out of your buildings coupled with the typically discreet criminal acts that are not obvious at first glance mean that you will have to sift through a lot of data over prolonged periods of time.
Storing footage for more than two months also helps protect you when you are embroiled in a legal affair or are compelled by force of law to hand over the video footage. For example, the Data Protection Act in the UK grants people the right to claim footage of them taken by wired and wireless CCTV cameras. The entities responsible for capturing this footage must hand then this footage over within 40 days.
For Highly Sensitive Purposes: Forever
If you would like footage to cover extremely sensitive transactions, like recording legal affairs and non-binding verbal agreements, then you will definitely need to spend a bit more on long-term storage for your wireless security camera systems.
DVDs and Blu-Ray Disks are common low-cost platforms for storing footage over long periods of time – almost indefinitely if they are placed in airtight, dustproof containers and stored in cool temperatures away from sunlight. Just remember though, that recording audio and video is a more legally complicated affair than recording images alone. You will need to get the consent of all parties being recorded, otherwise the archives captured by your wireless security camera kits will be considered inadmissible in court.
Oh, and one last thing: make sure to detach the storage media used by your digital cameras if you want to preserve the captured footage. At the very least, make sure that the important parts are moved to a separate folder that your DVR is not programmed to modify.
Most wireless security camera systems are designed to overwrite existing footage if its storage devices are filled to capacity, so you will need to act if you don’t want your archive erased before you have a chance to store it!
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