Crime concerns in the Peach State keep getting more alarming. Citizens are worried about violent crime 71%, property crime 73%, and gun violence 63%. This is high in comparison with the national average of 49%, 50%, and 47% respectively.
In 2023, Georgians reported the highest percentages of first-hand experiences with violent crime (26%) and gun violence (25%) in the nation. They also had the fourth-highest percentage of property crime experiences (38%). In addition, only about 42% of people in GA feel safe in their state, compared with the national average of 50%. Naturally, workspaces and buildings are affected by this elevated crime rate.
Creating safe environments with video surveillance can offer your business the ability to detect and mitigate dangerous situations on time. Cameras have the power to monitor every aspect of your site, including parking lots, and alert you to in-progress crimes or potential offenses.
Some of the technologies often utilized with video cameras at the workplace are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Video Analytics, and License Plate Recognition (LPR). They collect unbiased data in the form of images and offer valuable information about everything happening on your premises.
A comprehensive video surveillance system can reduce risk and help prevent crime, both on-site and off-site. Plus, by integrating an advanced platform with access control, cameras can track who is entering certain areas and if they are committing any crime or following internal building policies.
Video surveillance and business resilience
Given the current socio-economic landscape, elevating the security of your organization and ensuring business continuity is more important than ever before. However, this is especially necessary for sites that have valuable equipment or inventory on-site or that are located in communities with high crime rates, like the Empire State of the South.
Video surveillance's purpose is not only to record theft but also productivity levels in order to improve workflows and identify any troublesome areas.
Likewise, to address potential future needs and withstand unexpected crises, it is important to determine video surveillance performance requirements, footage retention time and storage capacity, and possible growth and change. Being mindful of these factors can increase a business's tolerance levels for disruption, including lost or interrupted video.
Georgia on video surveillance in the workplace
In Georgia, employee monitoring can be legal, as long as there is a legitimate business reason for doing so, such as improving security levels, enhancing staff productivity, diminishing false legal claims, or increasing protection in the workplace.
Georgia law prohibits electronic surveillance in areas where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms or locker rooms. It is also against the law to record a person’s activities occurring in a private place and out of public view, without the consent of that person or any other person being recorded.
It is legal for employers and owners of properties, however, to use any device to record, observe or photograph the activities of persons who are on the property or in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for the purposes of crime prevention, crime detection, and better security.
Cameras must be visible to demonstrate that the intention for implementing video surveillance at the workplace is for a legitimate business reason. When the recording is done by hidden cameras, courts place a higher burden of proof on the employer to justify their use.
To avoid any issues, it is a good practice to install cameras in visible places and provide explicit notice of their purpose and location to workers, in addition to posting clear signs of their existence. Avoiding hidden cameras might seem burdensome or counterproductive, but overt video surveillance is an effective crime deterrent strategy.
Invasions of privacy
A business can violate Georgia code O.C.G.A. §16-11-62. by:
- Intentionally overhearing, transmitting, recording, or attempting to overhear, transmit, or record the private conversation of another that originates in any public place;
- Using a device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another that occur in a private place out of public view without the consent of the persons being observed;
- Selling, giving, or distributing, without legal authority, any photograph, videotape, or recording of the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view without the consent of all persons observed.
A conviction under O.C.G.A. §16-11-62 will be a felony conviction punished by prison between one and five years or a fine up to $10,000.00, or both. While this may seem like a minor crime, the consequences are severe.
To be convicted of eavesdropping, surveillance, or intercepting communication between private parties in Georgia, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves showing that the suspect acted with the intent to invade the privacy of another.
Interfering with employees' rights
Employees have the right to unionize, to join together to advance their interests as employees and to refrain from such activity. Thus, it is unlawful for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights.
As a leader, make sure that the topic of video surveillance and its specifics are addressed as part of the collective bargaining process for unionized labor forces.
Audio recording: Georgia — one-party consent state
GA is a one-party consent state. In the Peach State, it is illegal to use any device to record or disclose communications, whether they are wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication.
Nevertheless, when you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties, as per Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-66(a), is not a criminal offense. This means you may not record conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
Without a question, sound — a growing capability of video surveillance — can expand the meaning of the video, offer greater context to a situation, and minimize misinterpretation.
However, existing regulation in GA opens the privacy vs. security debate. To be on the safe side, if you are utilizing advanced audio technology along with your cameras, make sure you adhere to your State rules and notify your employees, tenants, and visitors clearly and explicitly that audio, in addition to visuals, is being recorded in areas with no reasonable expectation of privacy.
By receiving their consent you are taking measures that respect their privacy.
The need for a license
In Georgia, people or businesses that install and maintain security systems need to be licensed. Fully licensed contractors, like Security 101, carry liability insurance and warranty on all installations.
A license ensures:
- Knowledgeable installation with proper camera placement to keep your organization secure and compliant.
- Safe installation to protect against electrical issues and camera failure.
- Recourse through your state licensing entity, if the installer does a poor job.
- Protection against scammers, fraud, and criminals who use security camera installation as a cover.
The lawful use of video and audio surveillance
Efficient monitoring is important to protect your employees, tenants, and property. Despite that, it is equally necessary to comply with Georgia video and audio surveillance laws in order to avoid penalties and expensive liabilities.
To ensure your organization is abiding by the law, closely collaborate with an expert security professional, competent in protecting businesses with sophisticated video surveillance technologies and who knows in depth the specific laws and regulations at the state and local level in Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, South Fulton, or Roswell.
Don't risk legal repercussions
Reach out to us now and schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable professionals. We will help you navigate the complex landscape of video surveillance laws effortlessly. Your business deserves the best protection!