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Security cameras vs. armed security guards

Security Cameras vs. Security Officers

Many times decision makers are faced with making choices during security planning between investment in security officers or Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems.

It is easy to understand that with today’s competitive environment, organizations seek to save money any way possible.  Emerging developments in camera technology, combined with inexpensive high speed internet connections, makes CCTV coverage better and less expensive technology than ever before.  While wages and bill rates for guard services have remained fairly consistent over the past few years, a camera is still cost competitive especially when compared to high quality security staffing.  With the new artificial intelligence, the surveillance camera system software can even effectively interpret motion, sound alarms, alert remote monitoring stations, play messages over a loud speaker, turn on lights, etc. This makes them a real alternative in many ways. So those are the pluses, what about the down side?  While it may be true that CCTV has come a long way, it still has its limitations. Can it hear glass breaking, can it smell smoke from a fire, can it get that “feeling” a good guard gets when someone or something “just isn’t right”, can it tell a slow driver from one who’s “casing the joint”?  No of course not.  Can it help a customer, answer a phone, wave (or not wave as the case  may be) to the passing police vehicle to signal everything is OK, or not OK… as the case may be? No certainly not. Cameras do deter some small percentage of criminal activity, but many crimes are committed on camera.  Cameras can not escort unauthorized parties from the premises, or take notes from a witness. Perhaps most importantly in higher risk areas, a camera can not stop a violent criminal act before people are harmed. A highly trained professional security officer can intervene to stop criminal activity, and in the case of Paladin Security’s past performance this has benefited our clients on many occasions.

CCTV is a very valuable tool in many security applications. However, it can not be considered as a replacement for capable “live” security staff on site protecting locations, assets, people, and the interests of the client. Cameras are good for documenting event that may assist in the prosecution of criminals but they cannot provide protective services.