security camera can't see license plate on taxi

Today, I interviewed Peter Wood of Protegis Fire & Safety,  “I asked, what is the most common sales question you hear?”

His reply: “Will I be able to read license plates with this security system?”

Today, we’ll dive deeper into the question and give you clarity on what type of options businesses have.

What are the typical reasons companies want security cameras:

  • To catch a criminal (internal or external) if something is stolen
  • To prevent/scare criminals from stealing
  • To make sure employees follow guidelines
  • To lower insurance costs
  • To keep track of productivity

But people want sexy. Having a security camera capable of reading license plates is very sexy!

The truth is, we can install a system capable of reading license plates, but more often than not, it’s going to be cost prohibitive. A security system worthy of producing that much detail must be equipped with a much larger video server than what’s usually required to give you 30+ days of recording.

If you’re a Fortune 500 company, having the absolute best security cameras are probably within budget, but for the other 99.99% of companies, this much detail is typically not needed.

So, how can a SMB afford a camera system capable of reading license plates?

A more cost effective option is to install a high resolution camera that is “zoomed in” to a driveway or “pinch point” and is focused on the front/rear of vehicles and only that area (more pixels, less area).

This will work well during the daylight hours but can be ineffective at night because of headlights and reflections.


While the most attractive high resolution cameras on the market are often unaffordable to most SMB’s, there are still affordable ways to be sexy and see those license plates.