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Why Your Business Needs Proactive, Not Reactive, Video Surveillance

A proactive deterrence system removes the cover of anonymity and shines a light—sometimes literally—on crime.
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After the rollercoaster that was 2020 and 2021, staying prepared has become even more important. The pandemic brought supply chain and labor shortages, a fluctuating economy,  normalized social distancing, standardized remote work became standard. There were businesses that prepared in advance for the next round of upheaval, and others, that sadly did not. 

From a security perspective, most businesses recognize the value of proactive video surveillance. The alternative means that your CCTV camera simply records theft or vandalism for prosecution later on. And for most businesses, this isn’t an effective or financially-stable solution in the slightest. A proactive deterrence system is necessary.  

Proactive vs. Reactive Video Monitoring Solutions

Ask yourself this question: “Would I rather stop crime before it happens? Or would I rather record the crime and go after the criminals later?” This is the biggest difference between a proactive and reactive security solution. Proactive systems STOP crime before it happens while reactive systems only RECORD crime as it happens.

When thinking of it this way, who can afford cameras that simply watch rather than doing anything? However, that’s exactly what happens to businesses that still have older CCTV units on their properties. This equipment isn’t as effective as the new tools we have available. 

How Can Proactive Video Surveillance Keep Your Business Safer?

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Proactive surveillance lets criminals know you’re watching. Criminals seek out the darkness to do their deeds because they stand a better chance of being unobserved and uncaught. A proactive deterrence system removes the cover of anonymity and shines a light—sometimes literally—on crime. But does this work? 

The Urban Institute studied the use of visible public surveillance cameras in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. They determined that proactive video surveillance systems “deter potential offenders, alert police to dangerous situations, generate evidence to help identify suspects and witnesses, and foster the perception of safety, encouraging people to use public spaces.”

Let’s apply these four or five benefits of proactive surveillance to your business. If you select proactive video surveillance for your business, you will:

  • Deter criminals by placing cameras so they know you’re watching.

  • Alert police to dangerous situations as part of your video surveillance system.

  • Record the actions of criminals for later prosecution.

  • Create a safer environment for your employees and customers.

One study analyzed criminal responses and found that 50% of burglars will walk away if they know a camera is observing their behavior.

That alone should solve the argument of proactive vs. reactive video monitoring. But what features make for a proactive video surveillance solution?

What Features Make a Video Surveillance System “Proactive?”

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Businesses have many feature choices when considering their proactive vs. reactive video monitoring solutions. Today’s proactive video surveillance tools often use AI-enaled software. This allows them to interact with people more effectively. This works in two ways:

  1. The camera can “see” the potential threat.
  2. The software interprets the threat and triggers a response.

What are the types of responses that you can trigger with a proactive video surveillance camera?

  • An audio deterrent triggers a loud voice warning that the intruders have been spotted and the police have been called.

  • Audio interactivity allows someone off-camera to use the camera’s sound system to engage the potential threat in real-time.

  • Visual deterrents can turn on bright lights when activated by motion or sound.

  • An audiovisual deterrent can also sound an alarm to ward off intruders.

Motion is a key trigger for many of these proactive responses. In the past, motion detection could be triggered by a non-threat, such as a plastic bag blowing across a parking lot. Artificial intelligence technology is improving our false alarm rate. AI software can detect the parameters of your property and respond more appropriately to threats that are real. Then the software can send a signal to your security company or another digital device to alert you to a potential problem. At the same time, the software can trigger a proactive visual or audio alert to scare off the potential threat.

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AI is also proactive in that it uses sophisticated analytics to detect behavior patterns that can ultimately lead to a problem. For example, say your video surveillance picks up on a person standing outside your perimeter fence repeatedly. The AI can red-flag that behavior as repetitive and potentially threatening. Alternatively, the AI could detect repeat visits by certain cars into your parking lot. All of this is possible with modern proactive video surveillance.

These tools can be combined with remote security guard monitoring to improve your proactive response. This works by sending the video surveillance signal over the internet. The feed flows into a security monitoring hub. There, a trained human security guard can watch all four corners of your property via a real-time video feed. 

So, while many criminals will seek out easier targets when they see your cameras, some will not. Intelligent features on a proactive surveillance camera add the startle effect of additional interactivity to scare off the criminals that need something more. 

Does it Cost More to Have Proactive Video Surveillance?

It seems obvious that businesses would want proactive crime deterrence. Why wouldn’t they? However, there may be an assumption that a proactive deterrence system with modern camera features may be too expensive for a small business to handle. Ironically, the Urban Institute dispelled this as a myth. They say, “the benefits from reduced crime were roughly equal to the cost of the cameras—$1.06 for every dollar spent.” 

Pro-Vigil helps businesses assess, build, and deploy proactive video surveillance. Contact us today and start your New Year a little safer.

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