Do Security Camera Systems Actually Prevent Crime?

How is it that we still have crime when there are video cameras on every street corner and in most businesses?
Do Security Camera Systems Actually Prevent Crime

Today, more than 85 million surveillance cameras exist in the United States. The idea behind installing cameras is to deter crime and catch criminals. However, the effectiveness of security cameras in preventing crime is debatable. Some experts say security camera systems prevent crime. Some studies are less certain. So, the question remains: Do security cameras actually stop crime? 

Research on Security Cameras and Crime Prevention

Over the years, several studies linked crime prevention with video surveillance. For example:

  • Detroit was one of the first municipalities to partner with their community to use video surveillance to prevent crime. In 2016, Project Green Light launched security camera systems with real-time internet connections to businesses across the city. Security camera systems sent live feeds directly from businesses to a virtual guard station monitored by police. The program reduced violent crime by 23% at participating locations.

  • Los Angeles completed a study and published their results in “Measuring the Effect of Video Surveillance on Crime in Los Angeles.” They concluded security cameras work best when combined with other crime prevention techniques.

Several colleges and universities published a paper after interviewing burglars in prison. They found criminals were often deterred from crime by:

  • The proximity of people near their target.

  • Visual indicators of security camera systems.

The Urban Institute summed up the dozens of studies on the relationship between security camera systems and crime prevention:

  • Cameras are most effective in parking lots and in deterring property crimes.

  • Visual indicators of security camera The cameras must be placed strategically to capture criminal activity.

  • Staff should continuously monitor camera feeds to receive maximum benefits.

  • Video surveillance should be paired with other crime-fighting initiatives, such as signage or police patrols.

Whether the study is academic or anecdotal, there is evidence that security cameras prevent crime. How is it that we still have crime when there are video cameras on every street corner and in most businesses?

Why Crime Still Happens Even with Security Camera Systems

Why Crime Still Happens Even with Security Camera Systems

No crime-fighting weapon is foolproof. In the case of security camera systems, criminals may find a way to avoid identification. They may cover their face to prevent identification on camera. A poorly installed camera can be disabled or damaged by a criminal. Ill-placed security camera systems may not be able to capture all angles of an area, leaving blind spots that criminals exploit.

Security cameras may be less effective in preventing crime because they create a false sense of security. People may believe that the presence of security cameras means they are safe. So, they take fewer precautions. This attitude can make them more vulnerable to crime.

Many small businesses may be unable to afford the cost of a security camera system. Even those who can afford it may need help to maintain and monitor the cameras regularly, which can make these tools even more effective in preventing crime.

Do Security Cameras Prevent Crime?

So, do security camera systems actually prevent crime? The answer is not clear-cut. While some studies have found that security cameras can effectively prevent crime, others have found little to no impact on crime rates. Several factors can influence the effectiveness of security cameras, including the type of crime being prevented, the location of the cameras, and the behavior of criminals.

While security cameras can be a useful tool in preventing crime, they must be installed based on best practices to be truly effective. And while we should not rely on them as the only means of crime prevention, they can function as a stand-alone system with enabled AI functions like camera health monitoring, motion detection, and activity alerts . Other measures, such as increased lighting, security patrols, and community involvement can turn an already effective solution into a crime-stopping operation. Knowing this, it is imperative to choose a security camera company that offers a holistic solution for your unique property vs. setting up a DIY camera system that may let crime slip through the cracks. 

In addition to DIY setups, outdated camera systems are also a huge problem. Most of this old technology is not compatible with features designed to maximize video surveillance like modern cameras are. So would a camera upgrade help prevent crime?

Features Modern Security Camera Systems Have to Help Prevent Crime

  • High-resolution video: Modern security cameras have high-resolution video, which makes it easier to identify suspects and gather evidence for prosecution.

  • Night vision: Newer security cameras are equipped with night vision capabilities, which capture clear footage even in low light.

  • Wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens can capture a broader view, allowing for more comprehensive monitoring.

  • Motion detection: Security cameras with motion detection can alert authorities when movement is detected in an area, allowing for a faster response to criminals.

  • Remote access: Modern security cameras often allow for remote access via a live internet feed. Law enforcement or a virtual guard can monitor an area in real-time and respond quickly to any criminal activity.

  • Cloud storage: Many modern security cameras offer cloud storage options, making it easier to store and access footage for later use in investigations.

  • Tamper-proof design: Security cameras with tamper-proof design features can prevent criminals from disabling or destroying the cameras.

Pro-Vigil is a leading provider of security camera systems to prevent crime. We design, install, and monitor these tools to help businesses maximize their crime fighting potential. If your video surveillance tools aren’t up to the task, you have options. Talk with our team today about how we can help.


Evidence suggests that security cameras can prevent crime by deterring potential criminals. Cloud-connected video surveillance gathers information and responds to criminal activity as it happens. This footage can also provide evidence for prosecutors. However, the effectiveness of security cameras varies depending on their placement, features, and ongoing monitoring.

  • Security camera systems can prevent crime in several ways:
  • The presence of visible cameras can deter potential criminals due to the risk of being caught on film.
  • Security camera footage can serve as courtroom evidence to prosecute criminals.
  • An on-site or virtual guard can monitor security cameras to capture the criminal in the act.
  • Data captured by security cameras can help prevent future crimes.

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