Do CCTV Systems Really Deter Burglars?

When it comes to protecting your home or business, it's all about deterrents. The last thing you want to do is make life easy for burglars, intruders or vandals, so you must take all available measures to make them think your property is not a safe bet. Many people and businesses use CCTV surveillance systems to deter burglars. However, as they tend to cost more than other security devices such as outdoor cameras, alarms or motion-activated lights, you need to be sure these surveillance cameras will be an effective deterrent. Some may have doubts, but there is quite a bit of evidence demonstrating that CCTV systems can make homes and businesses safer.

A glimpse inside the Mind of a Burglar

A good way to assess the effectiveness of a deterrent is to look at how a burglar sees a prospective target. In 2013, researchers from the University of North Carolina in the U.S. did just that. They used feedback from over 400 incarcerated male and female burglars across three states to determine what influenced their decision-making, particularly when selecting a target. The ground-breaking research, funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF), yielded fascinating results. Researchers found that almost 60% of those included in the survey said that the presence of cameras would make them consider whether to choose a particular property to steal from.

Over 40% said that surveillance equipment such as a CCTV camera would be a factor in prompting them to select a different target. As for why cameras are such an effective deterrent for burglars, it all comes down to evidence. CCTV camera footage can provide the police with vital evidence to track down, find and perhaps even prosecute an individual. No one wants their image on camera or a record of their crimes to exist, especially not one that goes straight to the authorities. Similarly, the study found that burglars prefer not to raise any alarm when they enter a property illegally.

The presence of burglar alarm systems was unsurprisingly one of the main factors those surveyed said would put them off selecting a property – 83% of convicted burglars said they would check for an alarm before attempting a burglary. In comparison, 60% said they’d choose a different target if an alarm were visible.

An effective deterrent

Research findings like this can be considered great news for home and business owners investing time and money in security devices like cameras and alarms. Not only do these systems provide reassurance and peace of mind just by the simple fact that they’'ve been installed, but studies such as this demonstrate that CCTV cameras and alarm systems do work as deterrents. It’s tremendously reassuring to know that when a burglar considers breaking into your property, your camera system could be off-putting enough that they think again.