Surveillance system and its types. The word Surveillance has been derived from the French word “sur” means “from above” and “veiller” means “to watch.” Surveillance means to monitor behaviors, movements, activities, and information for controlling, managing, and protecting people. Video surveillance systems seem to be everywhere these days. But video surveillance system monitoring is a relatively new field. In the old days, you would install a video surveillance system and hit record on a VCR which would record what the cameras saw. If anything ever happened, you were able to go back and watch the video recording to see watch the event after the fact. The video recording could be used to help identify a criminal and be used for their prosecution in the event that they were caught.