Upon hearing the words “security system,” most people imagine a network of cameras feeding live video to a bunch of screens. But that’s only part of the picture — it takes a lot more than video cameras to keep a home or business secure.
That image of a video command center comes from the popular use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. When CCTV appeared on the security scene, it was a huge leap forward for property owners concerned about the safety of their belongings. Today, however, CCTV systems on their own don’t provide the level of security required to truly protect a home or business.
What Is CCTV?
In the simplest of terms, CCTV is a form of video surveillance that uses cameras to transmit video to a connected screen (or screens) where recorded activity can be monitored. CCTV is commonly used in places that require ongoing surveillance, like banks, convenience stores, casinos, airports, hotels, and even residential homes. Some CCTV systems provide live video streams that can be actively monitored by hired staff, while others record video for later review. The most common application of CCTV surveillance is to deter theft and help identify perpetrators of crime.
The Risks of CCTV Security
Homeowners and business owners looking to save money on monthly monitoring fees may be tempted to opt for CCTV video surveillance instead of a professionally monitored security system. However, the savings are not worth the limited security and protection offered by using CCTV alone.
CCTV can’t stop a crime in progress. Because all CCTV really provides is a video feed, it can potentially help with identifying a perpetrator; however, it does nothing to stop a burglary once it’s started.
CCTV doesn’t alert the police. Not only is CCTV helpless to stop a crime in progress, it’s also unequipped to notify law enforcement, neighbors, or even the property owner in the event of a break-in.
CCTV requires hired monitoring to be effective. The only real way to mitigate the limitations of a CCTV system during a security breach is to hire a security team to monitor the video 24/7. The cost of that dedicated effort is unrealistic for homeowners and many business owners as well.
CCTV systems are vulnerable. Many self-contained video surveillance systems are tied into the property’s Wi-Fi. While this is convenient for recording and storing data, it is a veritable invitation to hackers. If a CCTV system is hacked, criminals can disable the setup or use the cameras to spy on the people the system was meant to protect.
CCTV can come with unexpected costs. Property owners are often attracted to CCTV because it seems like a more budget-friendly home security option. Yet because many systems do require Wi-Fi, and they tend to gobble up a lot of data. This can then lead to overage charges or Internet throttling.
A Better Security Solution
There’s no question that cameras and video surveillance are an important part of home security — but they need to be paired with a monitored alarm system for optimal effect. Business owners, too, should avoid reliance on stand-alone CCTV systems, as monitored security systems can provide much more comprehensive security. Monitored setups can help concerned property owners deter crime and help interrupt break-ins by alerting authorities to the offense as quickly as possible. Those are benefits that CCTV alone just can’t provide.
The most comprehensive and reliable security option is a monitored security system that is connected to a professionally staffed monitoring center. If an intruder triggers an alarm, the security system will automatically alert a representative at the monitoring center, who can then immediately contact the property owner and police. A full-fledged security system can also include perimeter alarms, motion sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and even automated locks and lights.
Monitored security systems do come with monthly fees, but there are usually options available that can meet just about any budget. Even the most expensive options are usually less pricey than the cost of hiring a full-time security team to work on location.
When weighing the pros and cons of investing in a monitored security system, it’s also wise to consider what the eventual cost of a break-in and robbery could be. In addition to the price of replacing lost belongings, there may be more expenses in the form of repairs, insurance premium increases, and lost peace of mind. No matter what the monthly cost, security system fees will undoubtedly be less than the financial and emotional aftermath that follows a burglary. Plus, many home and business insurance policies offer discounts for those who install a security system.
Protecting a home or business is a serious matter. While CCTV is an excellent surveillance option that can help discourage and capture criminal activity, it should not be used as the sole line of defense. The best way to help keep both property and people safe is with a professionally monitored security system that combines real-time emergency assistance with the power of video surveillance. To increase protection and peace of mind, concerned property owners should compare providers to find the best security system solution for both their needs and budget.
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more