Surveillance Systems versus Guards

Surveillance systems can aid you in the event a crime occurs at your place of business; there’s no denying that. Cameras can help deter crime to a degree, but the bottom line is, no matter how many cameras you have, just how good are they if you only capture an image or a blur of a crime being committed on your property?


Cameras do NOT prevent or stop crime, they only record it; with that said, can you identify the suspect in the above picture caught on camera? No, you can’t – Exactly.


Caught on Tape

Surveillance cameras can only record what is taking place, which means, if an individual were to enter your establishment wearing a ski mask and fully clothed, all the camera would be able to record is the incident – no detailed or specific physical description of the perpetrator would be captured except for the clothing he was wearing, which can easily be removed and trashed or burned. This leaves law enforcement with little to no detailed information and a very low chance of catching the criminal.


 Cameras vs. Guards

If there was a trained security officer on the premises, you would be able to have the professional step in and prevent you from becoming a victim. The risk of a robbery or other crimes decrease significantly when criminals know there are security officers on site ensuring the property remains protected at all times.


Perpetrators aren’t looking to go to jail or possibly get injured; they want to get in, get out, and move on to the next easy target. Most businesses don’t realize the effects of not having a guard on their property until they’ve lost thousands of dollars in theft and damages and their insurance premiums have been increased.


Will surveillance systems capture everything?


Uh Oh… The camera doesn’t record that area of the property


Another thing to remember, unless you’re paying top dollar for a surveillance system which covers every zone, zooms in, picks up on movement, has night vision and color, surveillance cameras only pick up on the location in which they are pointed in, leaving many blind spots throughout the property and/or useless footage of shadows –translation: you won’t be able to see or record what took place in the blind spots or shadows.


On the other hand, a trained security professional will be able to monitor all areas of your business, alert to sounds, smells, activity out of camera view, and patrol the parts of your property that the surveillance cameras CANNOT capture and record. Most importantly, even if a camera records a break-in, the camera cannot secure your property until the next morning, however, a guard can.


Camera systems were never meant to take the place of a guard service, only to add to and increase the level of protection.


Some camera companies (who are not security guard providers) will tell you that their system is monitored 24 hours a day and they’ll contact the police if they see anything occur on your property. What they don’t tell you is that whoever is monitoring your cameras is also monitoring hundreds of other cameras all over the state and usually done from far away locations.

What happens IF the camera operator gets distracted?   He can easily miss activity on your property.

What happens IF the camera operator does see a crime in progress?   He will call the police and have the police respond, depending on response time, the suspects may have already gone…again, a guard on the property can stop this at once.


While surveillance cameras keep track of things taking place in/around your establishment, they aren’t going to be able to provide you with all the benefits that a trained guard will be able to offer you.


Disadvantages of Surveillance cameras:


  • #1 Very costly: per camera, DVR, installation, etc., can run you thousands of dollars and they still won’t stop a break-in or an assault, not to mention a monthly monitoring fee that you pay and hope some is watching.
  • They can’t approach a suspicious person on your property and determine  good or bad. *Note: the police will not like to be called by your camera company each time they detect movement or a shadow.
  • Cameras can be destroyed by the perpetrator, and their monitor will no longer have “eyes on” your property for the remaining events.
  • Adequate lighting and/or expensive night vision cameras are needed to view activity on your property at night or in dark areas, without this added expense your wasting your time getting a camera system in the first place.
  • The upkeep can be fairly expensive, with camera providers always wanting you to “upgrade” or “swap them out.”
  • If power goes out due to natural causes or incident caused by the perpetrator, nothing can be recorded unless you have generators and battery backup – even “off-site storage” won’t work if there is a complete power outage as internet and cameras need power. If a camera goes out at 3:00am is your camera company coming out right away to replace it? (probably not which leaves you exposed).
  • Resolution has to be great day and night or you’ll capture a blur, this results in thousands of dollars for a good system. Any camera provider will tell you that a $500.00 plug in play system in a box and sold at your electronic store is not going to provide good quality, so your back up to spending thousands of dollars to get what you want; and at that it is still limited.
  • Cameras can’t advise you or law enforcement of suspicious indicators (off camera) prior to a crime, guards can.
  • Cameras can’t question anyone or make an arrest, nor will they stand guard over your property after a break-in occurs, leaving your property exposed.


See how in less than 5 minutes these burglars gained access to a property, which was all caught on tape (Click Here). Could you give a good, clear physical description based on what you just saw?




A security officer can approach suspicious individuals noted on your property and quickly contact law enforcement if observing a possible crime about to happen. The security professional is also equipped with lighting and a vehicle if the power were to shut off on the property; the officer would be properly trained to handle this scenario and immediately report to you and inform you of activity on your property. The security officer could also make an arrest right then and there, then call the police.


Two for the price of One

Some guard services will suggest you have surveillance cameras installed throughout your property to complement their services; this will allow them to monitor the premises better and give them an additional tool they can use to help combat potential crimes from occurring; but again, just as a supplement, not a main tool.


It is an investment to make sure that your property is protected, and again keep in mind that cameras don’t stop crime they only record it.


A good starting point:

Speak with an Austin-based security guard service to help you determine precisely what your business needs are.

Most business owners would rather have a crime stopped or a suspect placed into custody as opposed to arriving the next day to a break-in, then only being able to watch a video about it; which would you like?


Don’t wait to have your video surveillance record a crime on your property – contact SRS Services today and have a security officer that will not only monitor your property but step in and protect your assets.

March 27th, 2014 by