Administration & Regulatory Affairs

Exterior Security Camera FAQs

Understanding Camera Requirements for Businesses
Chapter 28 (Sections 28-671 to 28-673) of the Code of Ordinances

1. Do the camera requirements apply to my business? The ordinance covers the following types of businesses:

  • Nightclubs and bars. An establishment that derives 50% or more of its gross revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages for on premises consumption.
  • Sexually Oriented Businesses. An adult bookstore, adult cabaret, adult encounter parlor, adult lounge, adult modeling studio, adult movie theatre or any establishment whose primary business is offering of a service or the selling, renting or exhibiting of devices or any other items intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to its customers, and which is distinguished by or characterized by an emphasis on matter depicting, describing or relating to specific sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.
  • Convenience Stores. Any business that is primarily engaged in the retail sale of convenience goods (basic food, household and/or pharmaceutical items), or both convenience goods and gasoline, and has less than 10,00 square feet of retail floor space that is accessible to the public.
  • Game Rooms. A building, facility or other place that contains six or more amusement redemption machines.

2. What is the requirement? All covered businesses shall have properly working camera(s) that are capturing video footage at all times, even when not open for business.

3. What type of camera(s) is required? Digital High Resolution Surveillance Cameras with wide dynamic range (WDR) capabilities.

  • Minimum Resolution: Two (2) megapixels
    Minimum Aspect Ration: 1920 x 1080
    Minimum Frame Rate: 30 frames per second
    Video Exporting: Non-proprietary MPEG-4 format

4. What should the camera(s) be able to capture? An overall view from the exterior of the building to the property line. The Houston Police Department recommends the following options for placement of the cameras as shown in the attached illustrations. Please call the City Administration and Regulatory Affairs (ARA) Department if further questions at 832-394-8803:

  • Fig. 1 depicts if the business elects to install cameras facing towards its business location.
  • Fig. 2 depicts if the business elects to install cameras facing from its business location.

5. How long must the business store the recorded digital footage? The business owner/operator must maintain the footage for at least 30 days.

6. Do I have to tell my customers, patrons or the public about the cameras? Yes. The business must have signs or decals at all public exits and entrances that notify those entering and exiting that cameras are in use.

7. How will businesses collaborate with law enforcement to provide video footage to assist with investigations? Within 72 hours of a request from the Houston Police Department, business owners/operators will provide footage to the police department.

8. Is there a penalty or violation if a business does not meet the requirements? Business owners/operators who do not meet the requirements shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.00.

Click images below for full-sized .png versions

External Security Camera Figure 1
External Security Camera Figure 2