In a massive meta-study published in 2019, researchers found that security cameras – known as closed-circuit television (CCTV) in parts of the world – were associated with a 13% reduction in crime. Among the places affected the most were parking lots and residential areas, both of which are popular locations for automatic gates.
Automatic gates offer many benefits, including convenience and security. But with crime on the rise in many areas, it’s important to take extra steps to protect your property and control who comes in and out.
In this article, we will examine how security cameras can be added to an existing access control point, the benefits of doing so, the different types of systems that are available, and additional insights that can be learned from the collected data.
Adding security cameras to your access control points
The first step to adding security cameras to your access control points is to decide where you want them. You should consider the type of gate, its size, and its shape, as well as any areas that may be difficult for a camera to capture.
It’s also important to think about what kind of camera best suits your needs – some are designed for outdoor use and can withstand inclement weather, while others might focus more on facial recognition or low-light environments.
Benefits of security cameras
What you are trying to accomplish? There are three main benefits that you will experience after adding a security camera system.
The primary purpose of security cameras is to monitor and track who is entering and exiting your property. This can be especially useful in areas where strangers or unauthorized personnel are likely to enter, such as a gated community or parking lot.
Cameras help you keep an eye on visitors and make sure they’re not doing anything suspicious.
When people know that their activities may be monitored, it often deters them from engaging in criminal behavior – after all, there’s no point in breaking into someone’s home if the police are going to use the footage against you.
Security cameras can also be used to track the activity on your property, such as deliveries or maintenance work. This is especially useful if you own a business and want to make sure that all activities are being carried out properly.
Types of security cameras
For automatic gate systems or even those that are manned by a security guard, several types of cameras are available. The most common are dome cameras, which are typically used to monitor wide areas, but license plate recognition (LPR) cameras are becoming increasingly popular.
LPR cameras use infrared or visible light to scan license plates, which can be used for tracking visitors or even providing access control.
It’s this type of camera technology being used in many places such as gated communities, apartment complexes, and commercial facilities.
License plate recognition
By taking still images of a license plate as it is approaching or traveling through an access control point, and analyzing it with the help of artificial intelligence, LPR cameras can be used to provide an extra layer of security and access control.
This technology can be used to track visitors, alert authorities when a vehicle is flagged as suspicious, or even help you manage parking lots more efficiently.
Normally mounted on a mast or pole, LPR cameras are designed to be weatherproof and typically have night vision capability. When paired with comprehensive visitor management software, they can:
- Monitor who is entering and exiting the premises
- Automatically recognize authorized vehicles
- Alert security personnel when an unauthorized vehicle enters the area
- Track time spent on the premises
- Generate detailed reports for analytics and monitoring
With the right system in place, LPR cameras can help you gain greater control over who is accessing your premises and when.
LPC vs LPR
It is important to note that license plate capture (LPC) cameras and license plate recognition (LPR) cameras are not the same.
While both types of systems capture images of license plates, LPR is more sophisticated in its ability to recognize and analyze these images.
The key difference between the two is that while LPC systems simply take a picture of a license plate that needs to then be reviewed manually, LPR systems can read the characters on the plate and store this information in a database for future reference.
This process is also referred to as automated number plate recognition, or ANPR.
Color overview camera
While traditional LPR systems are focused solely on the license plate, additional cameras can identify the color, make, and model of a vehicle for greater accuracy. This not only allows you to identify suspicious vehicles but can also be used for automated access.
For example, if a vehicle is flagged as unauthorized, the system can send an alert to security personnel and even lock or unlock gates automatically.
Color overview cameras are designed to provide high-definition images in both day and night conditions and are typically mounted higher than an LPR to get a wider view of the area.
Adding photos and videos of the driver can be another great way to strengthen your security system. Driver identification cameras are designed to capture a clear image of the driver’s face and pair it with a license plate or vehicle data to create a more comprehensive profile of a visitor or employee.
When it comes to visitor management and property security, information is king.
In addition to facial recognition, driver identification cameras can also be used for employee time-tracking and biometric access control systems. It can be attached directly to a keypad, RFID reader, or intercom to ensure that someone entering the property must stop and present their face for identification.
One thing many people forget when installing a security system is the exit point. While it’s important to control who comes in, you also need to know who is leaving and when.
Exit cameras can be installed at any gate and provide the same license plate data for departing vehicles.
In addition to tracking who is still on the property in real-time, exit cameras can also help you monitor employee time and attendance records or ensure security measures aren’t overlooked. For example, if someone leaves the property late at night, the system can alert security personnel or automatically activate a lock.
How LPR cameras improve access monitoring
Vehicle identification and license plate recognition are not just for long-term record keeping. By using both entry and exit cameras, a visitor management platform like Proptia can generate several reports that give you visibility into who’s coming and going.
This is a report that provides a general overview of all the vehicles that have gone through your access control point. It includes information such as the date and time of entry, license plate number, make, model, type (car or truck), and photos of each vehicle for easy identification.
High-level insights can be gleaned from this data, like:
- How many visitors are coming and going each day?
- Which vehicles are being used the most?
- What times of day are the busiest for your property?
- What are the average lengths of stay for each vehicle?
- Do the hours of operation need to be adjusted?
Further than that, the data can be used to identify suspicious vehicles that have been seen multiple times or have been parked in the same spot for an extended period.
With just a few clicks, you can get a list of all the vehicles currently on-site. This report is especially useful for tracking delivery trucks and other service vehicles that enter and exit the premises multiple times throughout the day.
Answer questions like:
- How many employees are still at the facility?
- Are there any maintenance vehicles on-site?
- Is the parking lot at capacity?
- Are there any unregistered vehicles present?
In the case of an emergency, it will provide you with a list of people to contact or evacuate.
Is your property being used as a way to avoid traffic? With cut-through reports, you can easily identify vehicles that enter and exit within a certain amount of time. This will help you determine if your property is being used as an illegal shortcut, so you can take appropriate measures to prevent it from happening in the future.
Set thresholds to:
- See how many vehicles are cutting through your property
- Identify the license plate numbers of repeat offenders
- Automatically trigger notifications when a vehicle is identified as a potential offender
Cut-through traffic can cause wait times and congestion for legitimate users, and it’s important to prevent it from happening. Security cameras can help you do that.
When a vehicle enters that is not registered to an employee, resident, or approved vendor, this report can quickly alert the management team. You can then take the appropriate action to determine who is in the vehicle and why they are there.
A serious issue for many automated gate systems is something called tailgating. Because the gate has a motion sensor that will keep it from closing when something is obstructing it, a person can ride in on the coattails of another vehicle without registering. With this report, you can spot potential tailgaters and take action.
Are you seeing repeated entries and exits from the same vehicle? This report will help you identify vehicles that are making multiple trips in and out of the property. While that is sometimes done for legitimate reasons, it could also be a sign of suspicious activity.
Setting limits for the length of stay is an important part of keeping the premises safe and secure. If you are supposed to have locked the gates by 8 pm but a vehicle is still inside after that time, the overstay report will alert you to this violation. It can also tell you how long the vehicle has been in the parking lot and who it belongs to.
Using LPR cameras as access control
Not only can license plate recognition cameras improve security, but they can also act as the access control method themselves. With sophisticated systems like the one from Proptia, you can grant or deny access based on the license plate number.
As the car approaches, the system will scan the plate and compare it to a list of pre-approved vehicles. If the car is on the list, access will be granted; if not, it will be denied.
This can offer several potential benefits:
- More secure access control: Because the system is checking license plate numbers, it can prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering.
- Improved efficiency: The system eliminates the need for manual entry/exit monitoring and reduces wait times at the gate.
- Greater convenience: Guests can enter without having to stop and provide identification or call ahead for permission.
- Less hardware: To add or remove an authorization, there is no need to create a new keyfob, RFID chip, or another physical device.
- Curb appeal: You no longer need bulky intercom systems or keypads for visitors to enter, as the system can grant access without anyone ever having to manually open or close the gate.
- Real-time data: Because the system records each transaction, you can track the movement of vehicles in and out of your facility.
The advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence have made LPR cameras even more powerful.
Instead of merely granting or denying access, the system can now analyze the data and look for patterns or abnormalities. This can be incredibly useful in spotting suspicious behavior before it escalates into a problem.
Cameras can be a great addition to any access control system, offering improved security and greater convenience. With license plate recognition systems, you can monitor who’s coming in and out of your property more closely and take action if something looks suspicious.
In the end, it all comes down to making sure that you are doing everything possible to protect your assets – whether that is your property, your people, or both.