Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are the targets of a lot of crime. The FBI reports 1724 robberies at American financial institutions in 2021. These events occurred on every day of the week, at all hours of operation, and against every class of financial institution. Most banks utilize surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and a variety of other security measures to reduce the risk of robberies, burglaries, and larcenies. Here’s everything you need to know to build an effective bank security camera system, as well as get added value out of your security cameras for improved operational efficiency.
There are far reaching benefits to installing security cameras in a bank. While most financial institutions have security systems in place to meet regulatory requirements and improve security, there are operational benefits as well. Furthermore, bank security cameras not only reduce risk by deterring crime, but they also reduce liability risk by helping to keep your bank branches clean and safe.
Here are just some of the benefits of a bank security camera system:
- Deter crimes
- Remote video monitoring
- Better customer experience
- Safer parking lots
- Real-time video monitoring
- Cleaner and safer banks
The primary goal of bank security cameras is to deter crime. While most criminals know that their actions will be captured on video if they attempt to rob a bank, the same might not be true for ATMs. Many “white label” ATM machines (those not owned by banks) are not currently covered by security cameras.
Prominent, visible security cameras and signage on doors and windows to direct visitors to their existence helps build the assumption that anyone attempting to rob a bank, or commit some other crime at a bank, will be caught.
While deterrence is the goal, when crimes do occur bank security cameras provide the evidence needed to find and prosecute the criminals. This is why a complete bank security camera system is necessary. You want to be able to quickly access the right video, store it indefinitely in the cloud, and share it with law enforcement by email. This gives you the best chance of incidents being resolved.
Remote video monitoring
Video remote monitoring gives you the ability to see what is happening in all of your bank branches from anywhere. While most banks have operational and security professionals in every branch, having access to your real-time video feeds from the head office means that senior management can better coordinate the security of all of their branches, perform remote security audits, and communicate on how to resolve issues in a timely manner.
Better customer experience
Bank customer experience can be improved in two main ways through the installation of a complete bank security camera system.
First, it builds trust. Customers entering a bank can feel vulnerable because they are often carrying a large amount of cash. By installing visible bank surveillance cameras, your patrons can feel at ease. They will trust that nothing is going to happen to them or their money at your bank.
Second, security cameras provide bank managers with the opportunity to review different customer interactions and then share good and bad experiences with their team. This is a great way to audit the customer experience in your bank to make sure that every patron leaves satisfied with their visit.
Safer parking lots
Fender benders, hit and runs, and smash and grabs are just some of the issues that arise in every parking lot. Security cameras can help deter criminals from targeting your parking lots, but for accidents it’s really about making sure that incidents are resolved correctly and timely.
Real-time video monitoring
Issues tend to compound until they are solved. This means a small problem in the morning can lead to major issues by closing time. For example, if a new teller is making procedural errors during every transaction, knowing about it early means fewer headaches when resolving the issues. Similarly, noticing a particularly busy day early means you might be able to call in another customer service representative before people leave upset or take their business elsewhere.
Cleaner and safer banks
The fact is that a customer or employee is far more likely to be injured in your bank slipping in a puddle due to melting snow than during a robbery. Checking that every branch has their wet floor signs out during a storm can be done in minutes with a complete bank security camera system.
Volunteers of America-Michigan uses Solink to prevent slip-and-fall injuries across all of their locations. When the weather report calls for snow or rain, they quickly check the front entrance areas of all of their locations to make sure wet floor signs are being used. Their video surveillance system gives them the ability to protect all of their locations from this safety concern in a couple minutes.
What should you include in the security system for your bank?
The financial institutions that can be protected by a security camera system range from single ATMs in a convenience store to large bank branches and head offices.
These variations require different security measures, and purchasing an off-the-shelf commercial security camera system is unlikely to meet the needs of your financial institution.
Solink provides custom security solutions tailored to the needs of your bank. Here is everything you might need to build your bank security system.
Cameras are a key piece of security infrastructure for any organization, especially banks. Banks have indoor and outdoor security needs and require several different types of security cameras to cover their entire property. We discuss what types of security cameras banks need and where to place them further below.
We live in a connected world, which means an Internet connection is always going to add functionality to your infrastructure. In the case of a bank security camera system, the Internet allows for remote backup, remote monitoring of your cameras, and a lot of other benefits that greatly improve the efficiency of users.
For example, Solink automatically updates all of the software on our systems. In addition, Solink runs automated security camera health checks to tell you if your cameras have gone offline or are blocked in some way. Video analytics, video alarms, and many other key components mentioned below require the Internet to work.
Video analytics platform
Video analytics is critical in a modern bank security camera system. There is so much data being created that without video analytics to interpret and visualize the information for you, you’d never be able to extract the business insights needed to improve the operations of your financial institution.
Solink offers advanced video analytics capabilities based on cloud video security technologies. The Solink platform cuts the time it takes to proactively monitor your banks as well as reactively handle events, from slip-and-falls to armed robberies.
Some cameras have data storage in them, but it is usually limited. Most systems require a DVR or NVR to manage local storage. Other cameras store directly to the cloud, which is great if you have the bandwidth and a good connection with zero downtime.
Solink offers a hybrid cloud and local storage solution that gives you the accessibility of cloud video storage with the robustness of on-premises storage. You can customize your data storage to maintain video footage for one month, one year, or more. Furthermore, any important clips are stored indefinitely in the cloud.
Door and window alarms and sensors
Intrusion detection is a key component of your security perimeter. The security perimeter is the wall of defense around your property. Alarms and sensors that can tell when a door is opened is one way to achieve a strong security perimeter around a bank.
However, the following bank security camera system component can increase the security level of your financial institution while saving you money.
Solink’s Video Alarms is a great way to leverage your existing cameras for further security benefits. Video alarms work by detecting motion during specific periods of time in a designated location.
Instead of a door alarm that alerts authorities automatically when a door is opened, video alarms detect motion inside and outside the door and then notify the owner of the alarm. Here are three potential advantages of using video alarms for your bank over traditional alarm systems:
- Earlier detection: Since motion can be detected outside the door, you do not need to wait until someone has gained access to your facility to be alerted to their presence.
- Alarm verification: Instead of the alarm system requesting an emergency response after a simple switch is activated, video alarms notify the owner of the system. You can then view real-time video of the event from anywhere and decide whether emergency responders need to be dispatched. This can save you money in reduced false alarm fines and keep emergency responders free to react to true events in your community. In fact, some police services are no longer responding to non-verified access alarms because of how many false alarms occur.
- Better response to true incidents: Once the owner of the video alarm verifies emergency responders are necessary, they can share the real-time video surveillance feed with responders. This means dispatchers know exactly what is happening and how best to react to the situation.
Video alarms monitoring service
Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service can better protect your banks. Since trained professionals review the real-time footage of alarm events, they know exactly what is happening. When an emergency response is required, the video feeds can even be shared with law enforcement to improve their response.
In a recent independent comparison of Solink Video Alarms and traditional panel alarms, video alarms led to multiple arrests while traditional alarms led to zero apprehensions.
Access control systems are an important part of bank security systems. However, there is always the risk that a fob is stolen or employees share codes. Integrating access control with video surveillance improves the security of your financial institution.
Where should you place bank security cameras?
Bank security cameras are only as effective as their field of view. If they are not placed in the right locations, then they might not capture the right moments, from the right angles, with the right level of detail. Here are all the places you should place bank security cameras.
The fact is that financial institutions require a high level of security. As such, there should be no blindspots in your security coverage. While not every square inch of your branch needs to be captured in the same level of detail, you should make sure that there are security cameras recording a wide field view of the entire location, including both the public and employee-only areas. The one exception, of course, are the restrooms where privacy can be assumed.
Covering all ATMs
ATMs are a common target for many types of theft and fraud. Criminals may try to break into an ATM or steal the entire unit. They may also try to rob people using the ATM or make fraudulent transactions.
It’s important that ATM security cameras have a clear view of the person using the machine, including their face, as well as the surrounding area. Bank patrons need to feel safe as they approach the ATM and leave with their cash.
Entrance and exits of banks
There should be cameras pointing at both sides of every entrance and exit. These cameras serve two main functions. First, they give you a clear view of the face of every person entering your bank, in addition to a clear view of their physique and attire. Second, These cameras tend to be more visible than others and therefore are particularly strong deterrents to criminal behavior in your bank.
These cameras can also help you perform footfall counting. Knowing how many people are entering your business makes it possible to measure the value of your branches in new ways, from the conversion rates of your investment advisors to when your branches are busiest.
One of the core functions of bank tellers is to handle cash. This is a particularly risky task from a loss prevention and theft perspective. To prevent tellers from stealing from your bank, your customers, or working with customers to steal from you, you need to have a clear view of how they are handling cash, what they are doing on their computer, and all the other equipment they use.
Having video to pair with the transactions in your bank branches opens up non-security benefits as well. By pairing bank transactions with video, you can see what is happening each time your tellers interact with patrons. This leads to better customer experience as well as makes it possible to track many new metrics.
As mentioned above, financial institutions require a high level of security and your bank security camera system should cover the entire building. The bank lobby is where customers enter your bank and wait for service. Because of the heavy foot traffic in this area, there is the risk of injury.
Bank lobby security cameras give you eyes on the cleanliness of your branches so that, for example, you can confirm wet floor signs are being placed near the doors during rainy weather to reduce the potential liability of a customer slip-and-fall.
Similar to entrances and exits to the bank, you should have security cameras on the inside and outside of the vault. If there is a staircase or hallway leading to the vault, then those should also be covered by security cameras. This gives you another chance to get a clear view of faces on camera to confirm only authorized persons access the bank vault.
Parking lots are dangerous places. Between accidents and malicious behavior, there are a lot of liability risks as well as the potential for injury. Bank security cameras can help deter crime in your parking lots to keep your patrons and their vehicles safe. It also helps reduce your personal liability if something does happen by providing objective evidence of who is responsible.
What types of bank security cameras do you need?
There are many different types of security cameras. When creating a bank security camera system, you’ll most likely use three main types of cameras:
- Turret cameras
- Bullet cameras
- Dome cameras
- 360 cameras
Turret security cameras
Turret cameras have a ball-and-socket design. Within the “turret”, the ball-like camera can be positioned to look at different angles. This makes their installation and re-positioning flexible. It also means that the camera’s field of view can be different from that of the turret, making it harder to know exactly what is being recorded.
These are large visible cameras so are best deployed where the deterrence value is highest, for example at the entrances and exits of your bank. They are also robust to cold and hot weather so can be deployed in your parking lot.
Bullet cameras are some of the most common bank security cameras on the market. They are small and get their name from their shape.
Their small size and easy installation make them particularly versatile. They can be placed indoors and outdoors and are usually less noticeable than larger security cameras (e.g., turret security cameras). However, their shape makes them less robust to vandalism than dome cameras (see below).
Consider using these cameras when you are recording a small area and want the cameras to better blend in with the decor, for example teller areas.
Dome cameras are cameras covered with a dome. This obscures the direction they are facing, which can make visitors less sure what is or is not in the camera’s field of view. Their shape and the dome protection make them more resistant to vandalism.
Since they are protected from damage, these cameras are especially useful for areas that could be reached by people easily, for example on the low ceiling of a vault or on walls of the bank lobby.
360 degree cameras (fisheye cameras)
Fisheye cameras use ultra-wide lenses to provide a complete view of an entire area. They are sometimes referred to as 360 cameras because they provide a 360° by 180° view of an area.
Fisheye security cameras can provide complete coverage of an open area, such as a bank lobby, often replacing four to six standard security cameras. However, the image can be highly distorted when viewed on a flat screen, reducing their security value.
Solink solves this problem with modern video game technology. The Solink platform stretches the image out, giving a fully immersive view of the area. Here’s a 360 camera at work on the Solink platform:
Must have bank security camera features
Since banks have higher security needs than other businesses, it’s important to use high-quality security cameras with the following features.
High resolution and frame rate
Bank security cameras should record in high definition with a higher frame rate to make sure even minor details are captured when an incident occurs. A small detail, such as a clear view of a tattoo, could be the difference between escape or arrest for a suspect.
Night vision is a requirement for bank security cameras where action may occur in the evening. Outdoor ATMs and the parking lot especially can remain busy after sunset. Without other artificial lighting, night vision cameras can improve the evidence generated by bank security cameras.
In jurisdictions where one-party audio recording is legal, recording conversations increases the value of video. Not only can you hear what is happening during incidents, you can also listen to successful sales pitches by your financial advisors. You can then share these positive examples with the rest of the team to help drive sales.
Flexible cloud hybrid video storage
Video retention refers to how long you keep security footage stored. Depending on the needs of a business, that can range from one to month to a year or more. Furthermore, some companies choose to retain standard definition (SD) for a longer period than high definition (HD).
Network-attached storage (NAS) or cloud video storage is a common decision point. Solink brings both together in a cloud-based hybrid video security solution. This gives you the best of both worlds with a hands-off, fully warrantied local storage appliance and indefinite cloud video storage for saved clips.
Solink is a technology agnostic video security company. That means the vast majority of security cameras and other security equipment can be connected to the Solink platform. This reduces the cost of onboarding Solink and helps spread end of life (EoL) expenses by allowing you to replace individual devices as they break down instead of the whole system at once.
Waterproof and vandal-proof
When deploying security cameras in a bank, it’s important to take the environment into consideration. Two main risks to the functioning of security cameras can be found in banks. First, weather conditions, especially extreme heat and cold, can damage cameras that are not built to withstand temperature fluctuations. Second, vandals may attempt to break security cameras that are within reach.
Camera health checks
The most important feature for a bank security camera system is that it automatically tells you when something is wrong. The fact is that a damaged, disconnected, or blocked camera represents an unknown gap in your security coverage.
Whether the camera or device has failed naturally or been purposefully blocked to hide fraudulent behavior, the bank manager needs to be informed as soon as possible.
Solink performs regular automatic health checks of cameras and devices to make sure they are always working for you.
The Siegel Group uses Solink to make sure their cameras are always operational. Here’s what Ross Siegel, Chief Information Officer of The Siegel Group, describes it:
“From an IT perspective, Solink is providing accountability and efficiency as well. We’re constantly seeing notifications of cameras being offline now. Our conclusion is that, since moving to Solink, cameras aren’t going offline more often but we just know when it happens. Now we get the notification and can react to the cameras going offline. We’re able to address things more quickly.”
Video and data integration
In addition to being able to use existing camera systems, your bank security camera system should be able to integrate with your other technology.
Solink integrates with hundreds of other systems to provide further insights into your business. Integration partners range from business intelligence and scheduling tools to access control and alarm systems.
Solink is the best bank security camera system
Solink is an integrated cloud video surveillance system designed with financial institutions in mind. By connecting to all of your disparate systems, Solink turns your security layers into a security mesh.
Furthermore, by connecting other data sources to your bank security cameras, Solink offers benefits that go beyond better security. Transaction data and people counting unlock new operational efficiencies from better customer service to the ability to track valuable metrics.
To see how Solink completes your bank security camera system, sign up for a demo today.
Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.