What works better – a hidden, discreet security camera system or a visible one? The answer to this question is entirely up to the specialized needs of each business and industry.
Pros and Cons of Hidden Security Camera Systems
There is a time and place for discreet security cameras. Hidden video cameras can provide proof that a crime occurred. For example:
Discreet security cameras are also less likely to be tampered with or vandalized. Employee productivity and performance can also be monitored with a hidden camera. The list of use cases for these tools is long.
Despite many benefits, there are legal ramifications for hidden security camera systems. FindLaw points out that federal, state, and local rules may prohibit this type of activity being recorded. When monitoring employees, for example, some state privacy laws require signage that hidden camera surveillance is in progress.
There are federal wiretapping rules that state businesses cannot surveil union activity or use these tools in a way “that is meant to intimidate current or prospective union members.” Other rules, depending on the location of the business, may prohibit discreet security cameras.
As long as the company follows the law, hidden security cameras for business are a valid way to protect assets by providing proof that a crime occurred.
Should Security Cameras Be Visible?
Visible security cameras act as a deterrent for bad behavior. Visible security cameras might deter crime, but they also let people know where the security is. Hidden, discreet security cameras are more subtle, but might catch behavior that people wouldn’t do when they know they’re being watched.
There is plenty of empirical evidence showing that visible security in the form of signage and cameras can deter crime:
- An analysis of 44 separate studies showed that visible evidence of video surveillance in parking lots, housing developers, and public transportation reduced crime by 51%.
- The University of North Carolina surveyed 422 burglars who stated visible evidence of security deterred them from pursuing criminal behavior.
- Another study showed that the visible presence of security cameras in one city contributed to a crime drop of 50%.
Visible security cameras have two goals: Deterrence of crime and capturing evidence of activity. These tools work well for companies in a variety of settings:
There is no reason that organizations shouldn’t leverage the right mix of hidden and visible cameras along with on-premises or remote monitoring and signage. Placing signs throughout the business deters crime, because people think they might be caught on camera. Having someone always watching the cameras will ensure that an event in progress won’t be missed.
Security video surveillance tools are an excellent way to meet the challenges inherent in owning a business or property. There are many options to choose from, and knowing the right mix will help keep your business safe.
Finding the Right Mix of Security Tools for a Business
Crime is more likely to occur if the behavior can be hidden from sight. Adding video surveillance can help prevent “crimes of opportunity” that damage a business. How video security tools are used, and whether cameras are visible or hidden, depends on what the business needs the cameras for.
A visible security camera does more than record crime—data shows that these tools also prevent it from happening. A hidden video camera is there to prove criminal behavior is happening rather than preventing it. Both types of video surveillance can record activity to help law enforcement capture crucial evidence of crime. However, whether your business has hidden or visible security cameras, evidence suggests they won’t be nearly as effective unless they’re monitored by a team of professional security experts.
So, what is the answer to the question: Should security cameras be visible? That entirely depends on your business.
Knowing the right mix of security protection for a business requires the steady hand and expert advice from the trained, experienced teams at Pro-Vigil. We custom design our security packages specifically for each business we serve. By working closely with our customers, we create the perfect security web of deterrence, detection, and response to fit your unique goals.
Contact Pro-Vigil today to find out how we can help your business.