Security cameras are often a part of home security systems. As camera systems have become less expensive over the years, more and more homeowners are deciding to install them. New developments have made it easier to access them, today even over smartphones and the internet. But there are several questions around using security cameras.
The first is: do they work? The answer? It depends. Every once in a while there is a news story about a burglar who was caught because thanks to a camera system. Here is just such a story about someone who saw, through a camera and the internet, a burglar come into their home and was able to dial 911 and the burglar was caught. Other stories describe how thieves got away with their “loot” but were later caught and convicted thanks to pictures taken by camera systems. The truth is that cameras often help. If the burglar is to be caught in the act the video feed must be monitored (that is, if there is no other security system). If the camera is to help in a conviction, it must be installed in such a way as to catch the burglar’s face or some other feature that will allow him to be recognized. This is why it is important to have a professional installing the system. Of course, a simple ski-mask or other covering for the face may make it impossible to recognize the intruder, but you’d be surprised how many amateur burglars and “thieves of opportunity” there are who don’t take such precautions.
(There is another reason for camera systems to be installed by professionals. In many parts of the world it is against the law for security cameras to invade privacy. This means you can’t be filming your neighbors.)
But do cameras really deter thieves? Some say they actually attract them and are a kind of signal showing there is something worth stealing. The fact of the matter is that there are two kinds of thieves: amateurs or “hit and run” types, and professionals. A professional thief has other means of looking for targets – camera systems don’t actually say much about what is inside. And as for opportunistic thieves, they are in fact deterred by cameras. And it’s not only thieves who are scared away, vandals, graffiti artists, and other unwanted guests generally don’t like to be filmed. Just take a look at the London closed circuit system that is filming practically the whole city. It’s done a great job curbing just such crimes.