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Does Video Surveillance Deter Crime?

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    If you’re operating any business in a densely populated area, a video surveillance system is essential. It may also benefit those who operate in rural areas, where crimes like vandalism may go undetected. However, even a basic security camera system can cost hundreds of dollars. Is it worth the investment? Will it actually discourage people from committing crimes?

    What Studies Show

    Case studies have proven that having a video surveillance system can deter a significant amount of crime. The University of North Carolina found that half of all the surveyed burglars would flee the area after discovering cameras. Additionally, 60% of burglars said they wouldn’t rob an establishment if they had prior knowledge of the video surveillance system.

    Video surveillance can also deter other types of crime, like vandalism or hit-and-runs. In a United Kingdom-based study, parking lots with security cameras saw a 51% decrease in crime. The same study also showed that crimes committed on public transportation also decreased.

    Protection From Internal Crime

    Having a reliable video surveillance system can also protect a business from crimes committed by employees. These individuals have unguarded access to expensive equipment at a job site or money inside safes and cash registers. Without a video monitoring system, it can be impossible to prove who has committed theft in the workplace.

    The theft of company funds and resources can be devastating, especially for a small company. According to one news report, internal theft cost U.S.-based businesses $50 billion in 2017. This is why more managers are buying video surveillance systems to stay vigilant regarding suspicious activity.

    Where Are Video Surveillance Systems the Most Effective?

    Even a solo apartment dweller can benefit from installing a CCTV system in their home. However, video surveillance systems are most useful in crowded areas, such as:

    Parking Garages

    City parking garages are usually packed with cars and well-lit, especially at night. However, such a large amount of cars in one area is bound to entice thieves. Cars with unlocked doors or visible valuables inside are easy targets for criminals.

    Hit-and-run crimes and other acts of vandalism are also common inside parking garages. Even if the criminal doesn’t spot any cameras, that doesn’t mean they aren’t being recorded. A good surveillance monitor can easily capture the criminal’s face and the license plate of their getaway vehicle.

    In addition to a surveillance system, a parking garage should also have plenty of human attendants. People are less likely to knowingly commit a crime when there are too many witnesses around.

    Busy Places

    Some wrongdoers may determine that it’s easier to get away with a crime when there’s a lot of activity taking place. For example, construction sites are usually loud and the workers are focused on their own tasks. It’s easy to steal equipment or materials when no one is paying attention.

    Shoplifters also get away with committing crimes in a similar manner. By blending into the throngs of customers that frequent retail malls, they can steal merchandise undetected. Video surveillance monitors can record these events as well as deter potential crimes.

    Burglary and vandalism is also quite common in large neighborhoods. Stealing a package off someone’s porch is easy because it doesn’t even involve entering the home. However, if many residents have security cameras installed, it will definitely make some robbers uneasy. 

    Public Transportation

    Trams and bus systems are constantly understaffed, so they can’t always effectively stop crimes committed on public transport. The most common types of crime committed on public transportation are pick-pocketing and fare evasion. Acts of assault can also be committed against passengers or the driver, especially in cities with high crime rates. Having a video surveillance system is the best way to protect innocent civilians. 

    Does It Always Work?

    Even with the most advanced technology, video surveillance can only do so much. If someone is fully intent on committing a crime, security cameras won’t stop them. Even the University of North Carolina study showed that 13% of burglars followed through with their crimes even when they saw cameras.

    However, many more burglars will be deterred by the sight of video surveillance equipment. Some people will even be discouraged by signage indicating that there are cameras installed, even while not obviously visible. Not all crimes are prevented, but there is substantial evidence to suggest that the majority of them can be avoided.

    Security System Technology

    Video surveillance technology has grown exponentially as demand for these systems has increased. You’re no longer buying just a simple set of cameras. These devices also come equipped with:

    Night Vision

    Does Video Surveillance Deter Crime?

    Outside lights don’t always provide the best illumination at night. Many burglars and vandals use this to their advantage. Using infrared light, night vision cameras can track the movements of a suspicious person even with no other lighting present.

    Wi-Fi Capability

    Some thieves are very smart, especially if they’re repeat offenders. If they see a security camera present, they may be able to deactivate it themselves. Some burglars also know how to hack into your CCTV system remotely and remove the footage. With Wi-fi and wireless communication, you always can keep track of what’s happening with a mobile connection.


    The added benefit of microphones can give us important information about a criminal’s intentions. If a crime is committed, police can use audio evidence to pick up important information like the culprit’s name or residence. Microphones may also indicate the presence of a weapon, even if it’s well-hidden.

    Plenty of CCTV systems also come with an intercom, which can be an excellent deterrent in itself. If the culprit hears a voice telling them that they’ve been seen, they probably won’t follow through with their wrongdoing.


    Video surveillance cameras don’t just record footage from one fixed angle. These cameras can be moved horizontally, vertically, and can even zoom in or out. Homeowners and building managers can also remotely control the cameras.


    No CCTV system is a full-proof deterrent, but it’s still the best way you can protect your family or business. If you need a reliable video surveillance system, please contact us today.


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