It's been estimated Americans lose almost 50 billion dollars a year to theft, 36 percent of which is due to shoplifting. This is a large sum of money; shoplifting has the potential to cripple a business if it becomes too common an issue.
This is why investing in crime prevention is important. Today we'll discuss how small cameras can help boost your security, especially when coupled with other security measures. Without further delay, let's review how cameras can help protect you and your goods in 2021, whether you're a commercial business or a place of residence.
Some Crime Prevention Basics
It's first important to acknowledge that most crime prevention measures work best in tandem. This makes a lot of sense; the more a location does to protect itself, the more crime is deterred.
For cameras, two important measures to improve effectiveness are signage and proper lighting. Potential criminals need to be made aware of the fact they're being watched and concerned cameras will catch meaningful footage of their crimes should they commit them.
Signage featuring eyes in addition to a warning about surveillance may as much as double compliance, helping to further reduce theft. Simple changes like this can increase the effectiveness of your cameras in doing what most people want them to do: reduce the commission of crime. Collecting evidence for crimes that wind up committed is great too, but the ideal situation is that crimes don't occur in the first place.
Proper Camera Placement Makes Crime Far More Difficult
In the movies, cameras are often subverted in one of two ways: moving in their blindspots or through the incompetence of those assigned to watch the monitors. This is an issue that is not difficult to avoid in a real-life security system.
What can a criminal do to dodge fixed cameras, aimed at all of a building's entrances? The answer is nothing. Enough cameras, placed correctly, will catch someone who wishes to force their way into a space.
The same goes for vandals or thieves. If a piece of property has a camera angled on it, there isn't much a criminal can do to avoid the camera seeing them.
This is why proper lighting needs to be considered; once put in place, cameras can only be subverted by the criminal not being seen on video.
We've written on this very topic before if you're interested in learning more. We give some helpful advice on how to place cameras so that the footage you get is useful to you! While the focus is on businesses, most of the same principles would apply to home placement too.
Done Right, People Worry About Surveillance Less Than You Think
This is going to seem odd (and has its caveats) but it turns out most people don't mind surveillance cameras. The real worries are regarding inappropriate surveillance.
If you are clearly signposting an area is being surveilled, people often don't mind. Meanwhile, if people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in a bathroom, it's often illegal to surveil anyway. So long as you appropriately use cameras, it seems the social cost is less than many assume.
So long as you research local law and implement proper workplace policy, cameras are unlikely to bother most customers. Your goal should be to make sure footage is handled with care and in a way that won't bring undue harm to the people in that footage. The only ones the footage should bring any bad outcomes to are those who are committing crimes in a given piece of footage.
Cameras De Facto Collect Evidence For You
Many other security measures do little to help catch or convict a criminal if they end up committing a crime on your premises. Deterring crime has plenty of value, and cameras do that too, but it is impossible to guarantee an area will be crime-free.
Signs, fences, and lights don't catch criminals; they only deter them, making crimes more difficult to commit. If a criminal finds a way to commit a crime, then these things are of no further use.
Security personnel can help as witnesses, but human memory only goes so far. They can get details wrong and a criminal case can't always rely only on word of mouth evidence. Security personnel also cannot watch a location non-stop, unlike cameras, so they may even miss key events if a crime is committed in an area anyway.
Cameras record. So long as you store the footage properly, it will not ever go away. So long as the shot is framed correctly, you can catch criminals in the act and deliver that evidence to law enforcement as needed.
Even if a crime occurs, this may be the deciding factor in bringing the criminal to justice. This is the huge advantage of cameras and why so many businesses choose to use them for their security strategy.
Take Crime Prevention Seriously
Crime prevention presents us with a strange problem. It is difficult to tell when your security measures are working versus when you're just getting lucky. After all, criminals don't announce when they choose not to do crimes so you only get data if a crime is committed against you.
Instead, it is better to think of crime prevention as a numbers games and one in which the penalty for losing can be steep. You have your home or business vandalized, robbed, or worse. If there are things you can do to improve the odds you avoid that outcome, you need to consider them.
While not every business needs scanners, barbed wire, and spotlights, cameras are a simple, good investment that can make almost any location much safer. They're worth the cost of installation and have the potential to make that cost back in loss prevention.
If you're curious to learn more about cameras and other multi-purpose gear we sell, contact us! We'd love to hear from you and answer any questions you might have.