Do Surveillance Cameras Actually Deter Criminals?

Most security professionals will say that installing surveillance cameras on the outside of your home or business is an effective method of deterring criminals from choosing you as a target. Is this just a marketing pitch to get you to buy cameras, or are there actual statistics to prove this?

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte conducted a study in 2012 that sheds light on the subject and gives us a better understanding of what is going on in a burglar’s mind when selecting a target. The University’s study, titled “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” surveyed 422 incarcerated male and female burglars and asked them a number of questions about choosing a target, motivation for burglary, and the question that we will focus on in this article; the effectiveness of alarm and security camera systems.

What deters burglars from burglarizing specific targets?

The data reflects that a significant majority of offenders were influenced by the presence of security systems. About 83% of the offenders would try to determine if there was an alarm before pursuing a target, while roughly 60% said that such a system would cause them to choose another target.

In the event that the burglar noticed Surveillance Cameras or triggered an audible alarm after they had begun the attempt, 50% of offenders said that they would discontinue the robbery, 37% said that they sometimes still went through with the burglary, while 13% said that they always continued with the attempt.

“Within this broad set of potential target hardening deterrents, alarms and outdoor cameras and other surveillance equipment were considered by a majority of burglars.”

Figure 1: Graph from Joseph B. Kuhnz. Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective
Figure 1: Graph from Joseph B. Kuhnz. Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective

Surveillance cameras prove to be among best deterrents against burglary.

Taking Additional Steps To Secure Your Location

Other factors that deterred offenders included having neighbors, pedestrians, and frequent vehicular traffic near the home or business. Many offenders also admitted that they would decide against attempting a burglary because there were no viable escape routes. The data shows that the two best deterrents were residents inside of the establishment and having a police officer in close proximity.

Since it’s not realistic to be at home 100% the time or to ensure that a police officer is near your home at all times, the best way you can deter a break-in from happening to your home or business is to put up Surveillance and Alarm systems.

Summary: A 2012 study shows that having a surveillance and alarm system can prevent your home or business from becoming a target. To learn more about what it takes to plan and install a surveillance system in your home, check out some of our other articles. You can also call us at 855-272-6682 or get in touch with us on our Live Chat.

Source: Kuhnz, Joseph. “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective.” December 2012.