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7 Important Roles Surveillance Footage Plays in Crime, Traffic, Emergency Response and More

5 July 2024

Surveillance footage refers to footage obtained from video or remote surveillance equipment, namely security cameras. Also known as closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, security surveillance footage is often used to monitor and manage activities in a given location, and can prove helpful in many pivotal situations. Having a security camera installed in a critical spot is like an all-seeing eye that can lead a vital operation to success, whether with security, safety or efficiency. 

In this article, we will share the seven important roles of security surveillance management — and in particular, its footage — plays, as well as the industries it is embedded within.

Theft Prevention and Detection

One of the most apparent benefits of setting up security cameras is their prevention and detection of theft. Security surveillance systems provide indisputable evidence when crimes such as shoplifting occur. This footage is invaluable in identifying and locating culprits, in addition to leading to their rightful prosecution. Due to this implication, CCTVs can also act as strong deterrents, pointing at potential criminals who know they will be caught in the act and eventually abandon their endeavours. Surveillance cameras’ prevention and detection of stealing can extend from goods in retail stores and warehouses, to personal belongings in public spaces like airports, train stations and parks.

Traffic Monitoring and Management

Surveillance cameras used for traffic monitoring and management are commonly referred to as traffic cameras. This specific application sees a system of television cameras being set up along highways, freeways as well as local streets. Beyond assessing and optimising traffic flow, these cameras can discourage traffic crime like speeding and reckless driving, and promote safer roads by reducing the likelihood of accidents arising from dangerous driving behaviours and accident hot spots. Traffic authorities and urban planners use traffic cameras to diagnose and resolve traffic issues like congestion, bottlenecks, accidents, and poor road conditions.

Incident and Crime Investigation

According to The Straits Times, more than 90,000 police cameras stationed across Singapore have proven to be an “invaluable source of investigative leads”. Closed-circuit television footage uncovered for the purpose of probing into crimes including burglary, vandalism, assault, sexual harassment, hit-and-runs, and more allow law enforcement and security personnel to trace the movements of suspects and even use it as evidence to support their claims. Apart from crimes, remote surveillance footage also helps investigate workplace incidents like injuries, machinery malfunctions, employee misconduct, disputes, and hazards. This allows employers to scrutinise current measures in place and seek alternatives that can enhance workplace safety and mitigate risks.

Regulatory and Safety Compliance

In addition to investigation, CCTV evidence plays an essential role in documenting the events mentioned above. Gathered footage can be used to validate insurance claims and provide evidence in legal proceedings. These clips are reliable sources and honest witnesses, leaving no room for doubt with their metadata. Moreover, security setups also form an important part of compliance requirements across various industries. These regulations align with organisations’ and relevant authorities’ laws on data protection, safety standards plus security and privacy. For example, CCTV can confirm whether hospital employees observe established protocols, like properly wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and performing handwashing, before assisting with surgical procedures. 

Public Safety and Security

As in Incident and Crime Investigation, surveillance cameras monitor public places for crimes that take place on a local scale. But these security surveillance systems can also help to clue in on and pinpoint wider threats, such as transnational crimes and potential terrorist attacks. Fire and medical emergencies can, too, be visually identified and responded to earlier, sometimes even before they escalate. Security surveillance management also verifies whether a reported incident is indeed a safety or security issue, or a false alarm.

Dispatch Assistance and Coordination

Such emergency situations frequently require the swift and efficient intervention of emergency personnel. During times of crisis, the real-time nature of CCTV systems can communicate precious information about the appropriate courses of action and guide direction, especially when dealing with unpredictable factors like a perpetrator on the loose or a fast-spreading fire. Many times, authorities in  charge of emergency crises take over remote surveillance cameras to coordinate with respective teams on the ground. This move can greatly improve awareness and better gauge the severity of an unfolding situation.

Perimeter Security and Access Control

Perimeter security involves protecting properties by monitoring activities around a site’s perimeter and often includes the erection of barriers to safeguard the site. Security cameras, along with access control systems and alarms, are among the most crucial technological barriers used to detect and deter unauthorised access. These elements are positioned along access points surrounding a site’s boundaries in order to catch individuals attempting to breach the perimeter. While some security professionals in security surveillance management control and monitor live recorded video footage in close range to or within the site, others work offsite, accessing it remotely and intervening when an intrusion occurs. Perimeter security is especially important for high-risk sites, such as banks, government buildings and industrial facilities.


In summary, security surveillance footage is a crucial tool in various contexts, playing pivotal roles in security, safety and efficiency. From preventing and detecting theft to monitoring traffic, investigating incidents, ensuring regulatory compliance, and enhancing public safety, CCTV systems contribute significantly to the management and resolution of critical situations and processes. 

Want to be a part of this integral movement to protect and secure? Be a dependable partner that all industries can count on with the essential skills and techniques needed to operate remote surveillance systems proficiently, from navigating numerous remote surveillance technologies to profiling crime types. Sign up for KnowledgeTree’s Security Surveillance Management (Perform Remote Surveillance Function) course now — and gain access into crime prevention, incident investigation and regulatory compliance for a rewarding career. Find out more about the course here.