If you’re looking for information regarding a home video security system, but not sure of the effectiveness of a CCTV, you’re not alone. While cameras have been part of systems for decades, homeowners often balance their concerns about budgets and privacy alongside the potential benefits.

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On this page, we’ll break down exactly what these types of systems do and explore where they provide the greatest benefits.

What is CCTV?

The term CCTV is short for closed-circuit television. It simply means that the footage is not intended for public viewing, but rather captured for the benefit of a select audience. Though many use it for commercial or home video security purposes, such as systems found in stores, others use closed-circuit for monitoring children or patients in a hospital setting and for other means.

The oldest forms came out decades ago, which typically utilized cameras wired to a central viewing and recording station. The footage was in black and white and often grainy, but could at least give viewers some idea of what was happening. As technology has improved, the quality of the footage and equipment has too.

Full-color high-resolution images can now be captured, allowing viewers to not only see what’s going on in great detail, but also easily identify those on film. Wireless options are also readily used, as are digital setups, which allow for remote viewing of the footage via secure and private smartphone apps.

As technology has advanced even further, some of the newest systems are considered “intelligent.” They can use facial recognition to determine who is on the recording or sound an alarm based on sounds like running, screaming, or glass breaking.

This makes it easier to catch crimes in progress and assist people who are in danger. However, the tech is still developing and is only being tested by law enforcement agencies at this point. It hasn’t been developed enough to be trusted by the general public and is still too expensive for most people to use it as part of a home video security system.

The Effectiveness of a CCTV Varies By Intended Use

People use CCTV for a number of reasons, so there isn’t a straightforward answer regarding effectiveness. You may be installing a home video security system:

  • As a deterrent to criminal activity
  • To help catch criminals after an incident
  • To monitor the wellness of others
  • To get a discount on insurance

Your Home Video Security System Can Help

Some studies have shown that the presence of cameras reduces crime in public spaces by an average of about 20%, whereas other studies have shown that cameras reduce crime by more than 50% in certain areas. Researchers at the University of North Carolina dug a bit deeper and actually surveyed robbers from several states to find out how they reacted to the presence of a camera.

  • 83% check for the presence of an alarm system or camera; 60% will bail if one is detected.
  • About 50% will leave if an alarm is discovered during the robbery; 31% will decide based on the circumstances. Just 13% will continue regardless.
  • Police in Washington DC have said the use of CCTV to solve crimes is up 15%, whereas London officers say six crimes a day are solved with it. Because people are now sharing their videos on social media, suspects are being identified and brought to justice more often as well.

Cameras are Only Part of the Picture

While installing CCTV can reduce your risk of break-in by nearly two-thirds, some criminals aren’t deterred by this alone. Per UNCC data, only about 12% pre-plan their robberies. The rest seize an opportunity. Their motive most of the time: drugs. More than half of those surveyed burglarize homes to get drugs, while 37% do so to find money, often to purchase drugs. Unfortunately, those who are driven to commit crimes to support addictions aren’t deterred by tech, but they can often be thwarted in other ways.

Make it obvious your home is active and protected. Again, 60% will leave if they realize you have system before they start, so place signs around. You can also do things like installing motion lights or placing lights on timers to make your home seem active when you aren’t there.

Make your home more difficult to enter. The vast majority simply open a door or window to gain access to a home. Just one-in-eight uses a key or picks a lock.

Hide your valuables. Electronics and other things of value that might be easy to pawn shouldn’t be visible through open windows. Many people also use their garages for storage, putting their belongings on display each time they come and go. Worse yet, they leave garage door openers in their car parked outside, giving thieves the opportunity to grab it and come back later.

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