When video cassette recorders hit the market, video surveillance became ever increasingly popular. Analogue technology using taped video cassette recordings meant surveillance could be kept on tape as evidence in the event of a crime taking place and being filmed on CCTV. The seventies saw a great boom around the world in the use of video surveillance in everything from law enforcement to traffic control and in some cases even divorce proceedings. England installed video surveillance systems in four of the major Underground Train Stations in 1975 and began monitoring traffic flow on major highway arteries about the same time. In the United States, the use of video surveillance wasn’t quite as prevalent until the 1980’s for public areas, but store owners and banks understood the value of the systems.
Businesses that were particularly prone to theft, including banks, mini-marts and gas stations, began installing video surveillance systems as a deterrent and in hopes of apprehending thieves, this was the case especially in high crime areas. The insurance industry also found video surveillance useful for many different situations – worker’s compensation fraud, bogus accident claims and a variety of other cases began to turn in the industry’s favour when they could provide tapes of supposedly disabled workers doing tasks they shouldn’t be able to when they think their not being seen.
For the private citizen, analogue technology was primarily used in the 1970’s and 1980’s for capturing the worst side of human nature – cheating spouses and poor parenting. Private detectives were able to provide more graphic and compelling evidence of affairs and parental stupidity with film than with still shots, and video tapes became frequent evidence in family court. The drawback in many cases was that after a while, owners and employees would become complacent and not change the tapes daily or the tapes would wear out after months of being re-used. There was also the problem of recording at night or in low light. While the concept was good, the technology hadn’t yet peaked. The next step was the Charged Coupled Device camera (CCD), which used microchip computer technology. These new cameras broadened the practical applications of video surveillance by allowing low light and night recording possible.
Since these early systems there have been many developments in the area and they are now more advanced and unlike the VCR systems that cause problems with storage in some cases the recordings can be stored either on a DVD which is much smaller in size or on a computer hard drive.