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Do Security Cameras Actually Prevent Crime?

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    The answer to this question is vital to the safety of your business.

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    Security cameras are more available than ever before, both at work and at home. From old-school players like ADT to plug-and-play innovators like SimpliSafe, it’s never been easier to equip your home with an affordable security system. Likewise, there are countless options for corporate security solutions, from out-of-the-box automated cameras to remotely monitored systems that provide 24/7 protection.

    This mass proliferation of security cameras brings up a key question – do they actually prevent crime? Read on to learn the answers.

    A criminal’s playbook

    Before we dig into the facts and figures of security cameras, let’s take a brief look at how and why criminals pick their targets.

    • They’re easy to access. Criminals prefer to do as little work as possible, so they target businesses that don’t look particularly well protected. They research and observe multiple facilities and go after the ones that have predictable traffic and gaps in their security.
    • They’re remote or rural. As far as a criminal is concerned, the farther away from law enforcement, the better. Rural or remote properties are also usually isolated, with fewer witnesses or other interruptions.
    • They have sloppy security. Doors left ajar for easy employee access or windows left open for a breath of fresh air are open invitations for criminals. Buildings with beautiful glass exteriors provide an easily breakable entry point after hours.
    • They are empty for long periods of time. Most break-ins occur when people have gone home for the night. Without 24/7 monitoring, businesses are more vulnerable after hours.

    Now that we know what criminals are looking for, let’s dig into how security cameras can help thwart them.

    Cameras at work

    So can security cameras really prevent crime? Here’s what the research shows:

    • Most burglars take cameras and other surveillance equipment into consideration when deciding where to strike. And most would leave immediately if an alarm were to go off.
    • Cameras are even more effective when paired with other safety measures like properly positioned lighting.
    • A study in Washington, Baltimore, and Chicago showed security cameras caused a tremendous reduction in crime. In Baltimore, there were 30 fewer incidents per month, and in Chicago, cameras brought crime down by 12%.
    • In Orange County, NJ, crime rates tumbled by 50% after surveillance cameras were installed throughout the city. Those cameras also made it easier for law enforcement to investigate crimes.

    So the data shows that security cameras can help deter criminals, but are they cost effective? Considering the average dollar loss per burglary is $2,416 and an average security camera weighs in as little as $20, the financial incentives become apparent very quickly.

    Cameras plus additional safety measures

    While security cameras are one of the most effective tools to prevent criminals from striking your business, there are other safety measures that can provide additional protection.

    • Smart locks. Traditional keys, and even keycards, are fast becoming the dinosaurs of workplace security. In their place, there are much more powerful “smart locks” at your disposal, including those that work by fingerprints, changing access codes, or mobile apps.
    • Stronger windows and doors. Thieves have to get into a building before they can steal anything, and that usually involves damaging a door or window. Reinforced doors and uPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) windows make criminal entry a lot harder.
    • It looks like someone’s there. Over half of all burglaries occur when homes and businesses are left unoccupied. Making it look like they are occupied can be enough to deter some criminals. It can be as simple as leaving lights on in strategic places or keeping TV or computer screens on and active.

    Taken altogether, these prevention techniques can help protect your property and your employees from crime – especially when they’re paired with a modern surveillance system.

    Choosing the right video surveillance system

    If you’re interested in protecting your business with the latest video technology, it’s time to dig into the details. How many cameras do you need? Where should you put them? How much should you expect to pay? Here’s a brief primer on what you need to keep in mind.

    • Evaluate your property. How many cameras do you need to cover every inch of your space? Do you need a mix of indoor and outdoor cameras? A site survey is a good way to get the answers.
    • Security budget. How much can you afford to spend on security? Don’t just think about cameras, also take into account installation, storage, maintenance, and professional monitoring.
    • Installation. You can try to do it yourself, but it’s usually a better idea to hire a professional. Whether it’s motion sensors, power supply issues, or electrical circuit knowledge, this is a complex undertaking that requires some expertise.
    • Type of camera. This can get pretty technical. Do you need a dome, bullet, or PTZ camera? What about frame rate, resolution, and storage options? You could do the research yourself, but it’s often easier to seek out professional advice.

    These are just a few of the factors to consider when setting up your security system. Luckily, you don’t have to make them alone.

    Trust the experts to help protect your company

    Keeping criminals away from your company can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. But it doesn’t have to be. Whether it’s a small family business or a sprawling corporate campus, Mobile Video Guard can provide a team of professionals to keep eyes on your property around the clock. Call or reach out to us online for a free estimate.


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