Security, Safety and Property Surveillance

By Karen Arena, CMCA

Companies like Nest and Ring and many others offer internet-enabled property surveillance video recording devices that today are affordable to most homeowners. The technology makes it easier for us to keep ourselves and our property safe and secure. In many of the communities we manage, homeowners are increasingly installing surveillance equipment that is as good as professional technology.

If you’re about to install video surveillance around your own property, it’s good to know the limitations of the law and to consider your neighbor’s privacy and possible reaction. This blog, while not all-inclusive, will discuss some things to consider when you’re installing video equipment. If you want to dig further into the law, please refer to your state and its specific laws around the issue.

Most technology now records video AND audio, and while this is great for some things like meeting minutes or other activities, in New Jersey, making certain types of audio recordings can be illegal under current laws. And, some areas are completely off-limits for video recordings, like the private property of others and in public places like restrooms where people expect a reasonable amount of privacy. Other public places are okay to conduct video surveillance.

New Jersey residents should know that in 2014, Bill (A-3843) was introduced that enables a municipality to enact an ordinance that would require the registration of private outdoor video surveillance cameras. This was passed to assist local law enforcement in resolving crimes that may be captured by a close-by camera’s surveillance range. The owner of the camera, along with their contact information, the location of all the cameras installed on their property, the areas they’re recording and how the footage is saved would be registered with the local police department.

You can’t stop someone from installing cameras on their own property, but if their video is recording your private property, it’s problematic. The same applies to you and property surveillance cameras you place around your property. The placement of the cameras, what they are actually recording and how it affects neighbors are all important and priority considerations. Know the facts before you install cameras on your own property. Using the newest and coolest technology to do a good thing might ultimately land you in court in a complicated lawsuit if you’re not careful. While local, state and federal laws supersede any made in your community, before you press the “record” button it’s best to confirm with your association about additional rules or regulations regarding video cameras and surveillance.

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