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Passive vs. Active Security — What’s the Difference?

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    Passive vs. Active Security – Passive and active security are both essential aspects of keeping any home or businesses safe. An effective security system must offer a comprehensive and layered approach to keep out unwanted intruders. This means utilizing both passive and active security techniques, which both serve distinct and important purposes.

    In this blog, we’ll delve into the differences and similarities between passive and active security systems and examine the benefits of having both operating in harmony.

    What is Passive Security?

    Passive security can be defined as approaches that don’t require any human interaction, such as locks, cameras, and fences. Alternatively, active security systems require more participation from the user, such as alarm systems networked with motion detectors.

    Passive security or passive monitoring focuses on fastidious record-keeping. If a crime or unwanted intrusion were to occur, passive monitoring cameras would, ideally, record faces, license plate numbers, and other key details.

    By recording this information, it would be easier for you to identify and prosecute offenders after theft, vandalism, or any other crime has occurred at your home or business. Passive monitoring is generally a good option for those who simply want to monitor a lot, retail location, or any other facility.

    Components of Passive Security Systems

    Passive security systems typically consist of the following components:

    Fixed Cameras

    Fixed cameras are installed in specific areas of a home or business. They document all activity that occurs within that area. If you need video evidence or detailed insights into an incident, fixed cameras will likely provide you with the footage you need.

    Motion Sensor Cameras

    Motion sensor cameras are more efficient than fixed cameras. They start recording after they detect movement in a particular location, saving you from recording every little thing that happens and making sure you only capture essential activity in your home or business.

    Time-Lapse Cameras

    Time-lapse cameras show the progress of long-term projects from start to finish. They work by capturing individual frames at a slower rate than they’re viewed. Then, when the frames are combined and played at normal speeds, time appears to go by faster.

    You can use footage from these cameras to analyze events that occurred over an extended period of time or for more efficient record-keeping.

    Advantages of Passive Security Systems

    During an intrusion or another incident, passive security tools will accurately record what happens at the scene of the crime.

    After an intrusion, passive security allows for more in-depth analysis and review and can provide answers to critical questions, including the following:

    • Who broke in?
    • How did they enter?
    • When did the intrusion occur?
    • What, if anything, was taken?
    • How can changes be made to prevent this situation from happening again?

    Overview of Active Security

    Now, let’s move on to the second option for home and business owners — active security:

    What is Active Security Systems?

    Active security, on the other hand, is, well, active. Active monitoring solutions allow you to check on homes or businesses at any time and from anywhere. For example, you can use an app to monitor the property even when you’re nowhere near it.

    In addition to including recording features that allow you to capture important information during an incident, active security systems also include features that can help you deter crime in the moment. For example, many systems include strobe lights or loudspeakers that you can use to let someone know they’re being recorded.

    Components of Active Security Systems

    Active security systems typically consist of the following components:

    Mobile surveillance units

    Active security systems feature mobile surveillance units, which are highly dynamic and offer real-time monitoring features. They’re particularly popular for those monitoring large spaces, such as parking lots or construction sites.

    Integrated alarm systems

    Integrated alarm systems can detect unusual activity and provide you with real-time alerts, allowing you to address threats right away and prevent them from escalating.

    Two-way communication

    Many active security cameras feature speakers and microphones, both of which allow you to communicate with people in the location you’re monitoring. This communication can help you diffuse potential threats or clarify misunderstandings without putting yourself directly in harm’s way.

    Advantages of Active Security Systems

    During an intrusion, active security can play a central role in helping you stop a crime in its tracks. These systems will detect what’s happening and alert the proper authorities. They can also help you answer questions such as:

    • When is the potential intrusion taking place?
    • Which authorities should be notified?
    • Where is the intruder on the property or in the facility?
    • Is the intruder still on site once the police arrive?

    After an intrusion, active security also allows you to start the review process as quickly as possible, increasing your chances of catching the culprit and finding out precisely what occurred (and how you can prevent it from happening again).

    Comparing Passive and Active Security System

    Passive security is continuous and captures everything (or almost everything) that happens on a job site, in a home, etc. Active security, on the other hand, is dynamic. It includes continuous, real-time monitoring and allows you to play a more active role in observing your property and keeping it safe.

    Common Features

    Both active and passive security systems feature cameras — often a combination of fixed and motion sensor cameras, some of which may be connected to an app for real-time monitoring. Both systems are designed with the same primary intention, too, which is to help you keep your property — be it a home or a business — safe.

    Best Practices

    Whether you’re leaning toward active or passive security systems (or want to invest in both), it helps to implement these best practices into your home or business’s security practices:

    Use a Combination of Security Measures

    Who says you have to choose between active and passive security? As mentioned above, both options come with unique benefits that can help you quell crime and stay safe. Using a combination of active and passive security measures can actually keep you and your property safer than relying on just one or the other.

    Implement Regular Security Audits

    Even if you do decide to only use one form of security, it’s still crucial that you prioritize regular security audits.

    You must consistently set aside time to evaluate your security system and ensure it’s functioning properly. After all, what’s the point of investing in cameras and other security technology just to have it malfunction when you need it the most?


    Both active and passive security systems offer benefits for you and your home or business. Whether you decide to invest in one solution or both, Mobile Video Guard offers security systems tailored to your exact needs and preferences. Get in touch and request a quote today.


    Passive security is typically used for record-keeping. It features fixed, motion sensor, or time-lapse cameras that record activity in a particular location and allow you to go back and see what happened later.

    Active security, on the other hand, allows you to be more involved with real-time monitoring from anywhere, two-way speakers that let you communicate with a potential intruder, and lights and other features that act as crime deterrents.


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