CCTV Security Camera News in Da Nang Vietnam

If Security Cameras Are Not a Deterrent to Crime, Then What Good Are They ?



There is anecdotal evidence that suggests security cameras do not deter criminal activity.  People who object to the use of installing a CCTV system in public places sometimes feel the squeeze of encroachment on their privacy, and they will object to using public funds to finance it.  But, there is something to the argument, regardless of private motivation.

Multiple cameras offer better surveillance than a single PTZ camera, at the cost of aesthetics.

People will note that in spite of there being more security cameras posted in large public places, there are still thugs who plunder innocent victims, and there are still terrorists who ride car bombs into a crowded market for their misguided and hate-filled ideologies.

Security cameras cannot touch the motivational factors in such people, some of whom are bent on self-destruction, whose psychological makeup may even encourage them to grandstand their awful deeds.

Degrees of Deterrence

There are, however, degrees of deterrence, besides the absolute prevention of a crime, that are missed in the negative assessment of CCTV.

It should be pointed out that deterrence is not the same as prevention.  Anyone who buys or sells security cameras with prevention in mind is expecting too much.

Deterrence comes in degrees.  A person on a strict diet may do just fine until he walks by a chocolate factory, and sees through the window, those caramel chewies that he craves. The deterrence, in forms of obesity and ill health, may not be enough to cause him to walk on by.  He may think to himself, “I’ll just buy a couple of these, and it will be better than eating a dozen.”  Rationalizing is common to all people, and one would think, especially to the criminal.

By the same token, a person who possesses greater self-control may pass close to the same store and change sides of the street to avoid the temptation.

Security cameras may offer a degree of deterrence to criminals, but one who is motivated highly enough will disregard them or work around them in their planning.

Honesty of Buyers and Sellers of Security Cameras

Buyers of security camera systems, on the one hand, should be careful not to expect too much in the way of deterrence or prevention.  Desperation creates false motivation, self-deception, and unnecessary extravagance in spending.

Sellers, on the other hand, should give customers a more accurate evaluation of the security risks they are trying to address, and they should be cautious about making promises that cannot be fulfilled.

If Cameras Don’t Deter, Then What Good Are They?

For one thing, the primary use of a CCTV system is for the purpose of recording events for later review.  Live surveillance is possible, and with a 24/7 monitoring service or onsite security guards, CCTV systems can trigger a response that may actually prevent a crime in progress.

Generally speaking, though, CCTV systems serve the forensic side of security better than the prevention side.  They are more useful in investigation than they are in prevention.

In this way, the usefulness of security cameras should not be underestimated.  By identifying criminal activity, and perhaps, by locking up the culprits, there is a secondary sense in which a system can aid in prevention.  Locking up the criminals, because they were caught on camera, arrested, tried and convicted, is the real strength of CCTV.  However, it is done by looking back, forensics, as opposed to forward, prevention.

A Balance Should Be Struck

When determining whether there is value in installing a camera system, consumers and business owners should evaluate the type of risks they face.

If it is an absolute must that criminal activity has to be prevented, like in a jewelry store, there should be redundancy in systems.  In other words, there should be 24/7 live monitoring, intrusion detection, safe cabinets, electronic article surveillance, and audible alarms.  All the bells and whistles should be put in place.  Even this type of deterrence does not prevent theft in all cases.

Even then, a CCTV system is useful as a forensic tool as well as an educational one that gives the shop owner critical information that might prevent the next incident.

To suggest anything actually prevents crime by a determined criminal is misleading.  Even the force of police officers in the street, the military guarding against crimes of terrorism, and a highly observant public, cannot always defeat the criminal mind.  However, it can deter the marginal criminal and help put the other ones in jail where they belong.