What is Forensic Grade Video Surveillance?

Make Sure Your Video Surveillance is Up to the Evidence Test

In establishing a video surveillance system, it’s essential to choose a solution that records every frame and is reliable; provides quick and simple methods of retrieval; and, importantly, yields quality video footage that qualifies as “Forensic Grade” in the event that it is ever needed by law enforcement or is scrutinized in a court of law.

Oftentimes, those who invest in a video surveillance solution find out too late that the images they capture do not qualify as Forensic Grade video. The video they needed might not have been captured at all due to an unknown system malfunction, it may be of very poor quality with dropped frames or it might be rendered inadmissible due to something as simple as the wrong timestamp.

Rasilient, the pioneer in video surveillance systems purposely architected for IP video recording, has several methods in place to ensure that our customers are recording and preserving Forensic Grade video. Rasilient can help design and implement a system that – if it is ever tested in court – will help result in the most favorable ruling for our customers.

If video surveillance footage is sought by law enforcement or ends up as evidence in court, most likely a professional forensic video analyst will be employed to examine the video evidence of the crime or incident in question. This professional will scrutinize the video footage and might be called to testify to the court about its content.

What will the professional forensic video analyst be looking for? There are key aspects of Forensic Grade video that a judge or court will evaluate before allowing video surveillance to be admissible evidence.

  • Authenticity: Is the footage a true and accurate reflection of the alleged crime? Image quality, camera placement and lighting are key factors in determining whether video surveillance footage is authentic. Image quality partly relies on the surveillance system’s frame per second (FPS) rate, or the number of images it captures per second. 30 FPS is typically sufficient to capture a smooth, normal motion. Anything less runs the risk of missing key moments in time like a flash of a weapon in hand or who threw the first punch. Good – authentic – video footage is capable of capturing uniquely identifying facial features, tattoos, birthmarks, clothing, license plates or weapons. Another very important way to verify authenticity is with an accurate timestamp, one that changes automatically with, for example, daylight saving time.
  • Preservation: How did the company managing the surveillance footage keep and maintain their video storage devices? Did the video surveillance system capture every frame or were frames dropped and not discovered missing until that important moment when they went to retrieve footage? Did their system ever fail? Was this failure undetected because they don’t monitor the health and continuous operation of their video surveillance solution?
  • Policy: Did the company that captured the footage have a formal policy in place for evidence collection and preservation? Do they ensure that the video surveillance system is protected by its own server and storage? Are video surveillance files corrupted by viruses or are there non-video surveillance files mixed in that aren’t relevant to the collected video on the same system?
  • Admissibility: Of course, to be admissible, the video evidence has to be relevant, but if the video evidence is relevant and passes the first three steps – authenticity, preservation and policy – the likelihood of its admissibility is very good.

If your video surveillance system has issues with any one of these key aspects of achieving Forensic Grade video, it could result in the video evidence not being used by law enforcement or an unfavorable ruling in court. Avoiding this scenario is why Rasilient is committed to providing our customers with Forensic Grade video surveillance.

Rasilient’s purpose-built, VMS agnostic technologies allow you to use Forensic Grade IP video surveillance for various applications. We demand the ultimate surveillance quality and reliability from our products to protect your organization’s interests. Rasilient’s video surveillance storage and servers are designed to record everything that is passed on to our system – with no recording gaps. It has information integrity: everything recorded stays recorded!

Rasilient will be there when you are ready for Forensic Grade video surveillance. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

To read more about Forensic Grade video surveillance and an example of how it is used in court, download the Rasilient Forensic Video Best Practices white paper here.