Traveling abroad can be perilous at times, especially for Americans. Citizens are typically advised by the U.S. State Department to be cautious when leaving the country due to various factors. Even with that in mind, situations can still develop.

Recently, an American woman went missing after visiting a mall in Istanbul, Turkey in what was her first trip outside U.S. borders. It is with a hopeful heart that we wish for her speedy and safe return. Now what, if anything, could have been done to help prevent this situation from occurring? 

One of the first lines of defense against any crime is a surveillance camera. Video systems are essential to deter theft, alert security of suspicious behavior and also provide the forensics necessary to help law enforcement find those who perpetrated a crime. The mall she visited just prior to her disappearance had a few security cameras in place that captured her alive and well, and even what she was wearing.

Now imagine if the surrounding businesses all had cameras, providing a web of eyes capturing all that went on. While this much surveillance may sound like a case of paranoia or “big brother,” it is important to note that cameras, even if not in service, can help prevent malicious behavior. It is the responsibility of every business to not only protect their assets and employees, but their customers as well—That includes around their stores as well. Better yet, a good security camera system will often decrease your insurance costs while providing more peace of mind to both you and your customers.

State-of-the-art surveillance cameras are now being equipped with cutting edge behavioral analytics software. These next-generation behavioral analytics packages “learn” behavior through observation, such determining the difference between employees working a loading dock and someone who is suspicious hanging around it. Within a few hours of launching, the analytics software can identify ongoing “normal” behavior and send alerts or alarms only on any behavior that is out of the ordinary, which can be delivered to a guard’s handheld unit for rapid response to stop potential crimes. Also, the advent of IP video enables the monitoring of locations remotely via online IP networks. The beauty of this monitoring option is that it keeps a watchful eye and enables rapid on-site response while continuing to monitor the situation.

Whether you use standard surveillance cameras or advanced models, they can help prevent crime and expedite remediation if something does happen. Some people only need to see the security cameras on the wall to think twice before committing a crime. The threat of efficient punishment is often enough to dissuade a would-be criminal and, at other times, it can provide enough video to track the movements of an individual, such as the missing American.
While some people may feel adding more public surveillance cameras to be an invasion of privacy, they must remember that most cameras are operated by private businesses to protect their assets, employees and customers. Finally, imagine if a situation like the one with the woman happened to someone you cared about and there was a web of cameras to witness it as opposed to few or no cameras—Which would you prefer?
For more information on the latest surveillance systems and other security and technology, email us at or call 504-483-7811.

Read more about the missing woman here -