What are the Different Types of Camera Surveillance?

Sherry Holetzky

It has become increasingly common to see security cameras in stores, banks, and in other public locations. These security systems are generally used to avert shoplifting, robbery, or other crimes, or to capture the offender on film if a crime is committed. There are other types of camera surveillance as well.

School buses may contain camera surveillance.
School buses may contain camera surveillance.

Camera surveillance systems are attached to traffic signals in some places in order to photograph traffic violations. Common violations include running red lights or the failure to wear a seatbelt. A ticket may then be sent to the offender even if a police officer was not around to pull him or her over and issue a citation.

Some traffic signals have camera surveillance to catch motorists driving through red lights.
Some traffic signals have camera surveillance to catch motorists driving through red lights.

Camera surveillance is used on many school campuses and even on school buses. This is intended as a deterrent to violence, drug use, and other types of misbehavior. There are those who find such approaches controversial. Some citizens don’t feel that they or their children should be watched preemptively. Others are more comfortable with camera surveillance as a means of keeping order, hoping it will act as a deterrent and may also help catch and punish more wrongdoers.

Home surveillance cameras may be used to monitor areas inside or outside of a home.
Home surveillance cameras may be used to monitor areas inside or outside of a home.

Camera surveillance systems designed especially for the home have become popular tools as well. These are sometimes referred to as “nanny cams,” which may be hidden around the home in a décor element or even inside a toy. A nanny cam allows parents to observe their children’s caregivers in action. Such tools may also be used to observe other service providers that spend time in the home while the owner is away. This type of camera surveillance has been used on many occasions to prove abuse or neglect by caregivers or theft by others who work in the home.

There are spy cameras that may be used for similar purposes, although they can also be used to capture different kinds of misconduct. Such surveillance might be used to catch someone having an affair, to detect an employee stealing from a company, or to observe someone committing another kind of crime. Camera surveillance has documented unsanitary restaurant practices and other industry violations as well.

A camera may be used to monitor someone who claims to have disability. That person may then be observed doing things he or she claims to be physically unable to do. This type of camera surveillance has been used on a number of occasions to prevent or to prosecute fraud.

Camera surveillance might be used to identify drivers not wearing seatbelts.
Camera surveillance might be used to identify drivers not wearing seatbelts.

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Discussion Comments


I work part-time at a store and they have recently put a lot of money into adding a wireless camera surveillance system to capture images of shoplifters. We have been having a huge problem with teenagers coming through the store in large groups and pocketing whatever they can get their hands on.

Since the system has been put in we have gotten some great images of the kids stealing and turned them over to the police. I imagine that those kids are going to have some very interesting police visits to their homes. This is a small town and with that kind of evidence I hope they spend some time in a juvenile facility.


@Sara007 - I don't see anything wrong with installing camera video surveillance on your property. Nanny cams are just a way of the future if you ask me. There have been too many cases of child abuse and neglect to not give yourself a safety net.

There are plenty of small wireless surveillance cameras you can buy and with the right camera surveillance software you can easily check into your home while at work. Another great thing is that with this technology it also works as a good security feature if there is ever a robbery in your home. I would suggest getting on of those door stickers that marks your home as under surveillance, as that can deter people from targeting your home.


Do you think it is OK to install a home surveillance camera without telling your nanny about it?

My friends have all been installing nanny cams and I am starting to think it might be a good idea to do so as well. I have three young children and we employ a nanny to care for them so that both my husband and I can work. I normally would think that home surveillance cameras are a bit much, but you never know these days.

I wish we could so easily trust everyone but I think I would feel more comfortable with being able to see what was going on when I wasn't home. It is a tough call.


For the most part, I understand the need for video surveillance cameras. I am just still frustrated by the ticket I received in the mail from a traffic camera.

We were visiting family in Arizona, and I was unfamiliar with the roads, etc. I really don't even remember that I did anything wrong.

A few weeks later after returning home, there was a $200 ticket in the mail for a traffic violation.

Two of my kids have also received traffic tickets from a traffic camera. In both cases, they went through a light as it was turning from yellow to red.

When they received the ticket, they gave you a website where you could go and watch your car go through the light that generated the ticket.

From my experiences, it won't take them long to pay for some of the traffic cameras that have been installed.


We were faced with kind of a creepy situation and ended up installing an outdoor surveillance camera by our front door.

We had this installed by a professional so it was hidden from view. There was a man who started lurking around our house and peeking in the windows.

The police said there wasn't anything they could do except drive by every now and then. This wasn't good enough for us, so we had this camera installed.

This man had seen my daughter when she was on morning walks, and had followed her back to the house.

We eventually caught him several times on camera, and were able to figure out who he was and where he lived. It was quite a stressful situation and eventually ended up in court.

I am thankful nothing more serious happened in the meantime, but the surveillance camera was a lifesaver for us.


My daughter works at a daycare where they have security camera surveillance set up in every room.

This is for the benefit and protection of kids, staff and parents, and everyone knows up front that they are there.

One advantage for the parents is they can log in from their computer and see what is happening in their child's room at any time of the day.

This is a big selling point for many parents. It can be quite stressful leaving your young children all day long. By being able to take a peek inside the room, and know they are doing OK, can help ease their fears.

This also keeps the staff and employees reminded at all times that they are on camera. There have been a few instances when they have had to go back through the surveillance tapes regarding certain issues.

Most of the time, there aren't any problems, and they serve their purpose very well.

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