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Camera shy burglars avoid the limelight

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A CCTV camera is a different kind of security system and one that needs a different approach if you want to keep your home or business free of unwanted intruders.

Some crime prevention systems make buildings harder to break into, make valuables harder to steal or help keep people free from attack or assault.

Such measures can include walls and fences, locks and bolts, security grilles and shutters and you will find them in everyday use in shops, offices and homes.

CCTV works differently. Although it has many security functions its primary purpose is perceptual; that is to create the impression in the potential burglar's mind that if he proceeds he is very likely to be spotted and caught.

When they first came into use, many CCTV security cameras were, as far as possible, hidden from view. The rationale was to reduce crime by detection rather than prevention.

Hidden security cameras were less likely to be vandalised and burglars caught in the act and captured on film would increase the arrest and conviction of more criminals.

Flaws in using hidden cameras

It soon became apparent that this approach had flaws. Research studies found that although the idea that increased arrest rates lead to reduced crime seems obvious, there is a strong suggestion that precisely the opposite is true: that more frequent arrests make offenders more likely to commit a future crime.

The use of CCTV cameras to catch criminals in the act, use CCTV evidence to convict and thereby reduce crime levels overall was much less useful than at first thought.

Much depends on the effectiveness of police response times, the type of offence being tackled and the ability of criminals to adapt.

It soon became apparent that CCTV could be a far greater deterrent if cameras were visible and even publicised. This approach also has its problems.

To be effective, potential burglars must be aware of the camera's presence; the camera must be vandal proof and the criminal must believe that the CCTV present a real risk of capture.

Studies have found, however, that almost half of people questioned were unaware of more than 30 CCTV cameras erected in a city centre even after a massive publicity campaign.

That CCTV cameras pose a real risk of capture also assumes that potential offenders will behave rationally. There is evidence that those under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not notice, care or register that a camera is in the area.

Benefits of security cameras

Despite these caveats, there is no doubt that highly visible CCTV security camera system can bring some clear benefits.

Numerous studies have found that cameras can reduce the fear of crime in CCTV controlled areas, although only amongst those who are aware that cameras are in place.

Despite mixed findings on the effectiveness of reducing crime, CCTV still plays a significant role in detection with numerous examples of camera tapes being used to secure court convictions.

CCTV cameras can also be used in homes, offices or factories to monitor the flow of people, help determine false alarms. There is also growing evidence of the 'diffuse' benefits from installing CCTV. Potential burglars don't know the power and capability of a highly visible camera.

The erection of a camera can prompt neighbours to become more security conscious themselves and to install cameras too until an area becomes 'known' amongst criminals to have a high level of security.

Get professional advice on CCTV

One of the most important consideration when installing a CCTV camera security system is getting good, sound professional advice. Many issues need to be considered for the most efficient use of security cameras such as lighting, lines of sight, viewing angles and proof against vandalism or tampering.

Crown Securities UK Ltd has years of experience in choosing, installing and maintaining CCTV security camera systems in private homes, offices, schools, farms, factories, car parks and other areas.

What's more, we can offer a free assessment what it will and how cheap it can be to improve security at your property — simply give us a call on 0800 019 1131, and we can arrange a free visit and no obligation quote.

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