Lately, we’ve seen a large spike in demand for home security cameras. We get many phone calls from people interested in getting a camera installed, or who have questions about the various types of cameras and how much they cost.
While we’re very excited to see that people are taking home security seriously, there is one problem about the current camera craze: many of the people asking about home security cameras don’t have a monitored alarm system. They don’t understand that security cameras are meant to compliment an alarm system, not replace it. Here are three reasons you should have a monitored alarm system before purchasing security cameras.
#1: Burglars can steal the DVR containing your security camera footage
A security camera without a home security system is actually not a deterrent at all, for the simple reason that after gaining access to a property, a burglar can steal the hard drive containing any footage recorded by the camera. Talk about adding insult to injury—not only will all your valuables be gone, but your new security camera will be nothing more than an expensive brick.
You won’t have any record of the crime, and since many burglary cases go unsolved, the chances of police catching the crook without any visual evidence is extremely low. In other words, you’ll probably never see your stolen property again.
#2: Security cameras can only record what they can see
Another reason that surveillance cameras aren’t a great stand-alone security solution is that they can only record what they can see. In other words, if burglars are wearing a mask of some kind, if they disable or cover up the cameras, or if they simply avoid walking in front of them, they won’t do much good.
Of course, you can put the cameras in discreet locations so that thieves won’t see them…but that begs the question of whether you’re trying to catch burglars or keep them out of your home altogether. After all, if a burglar doesn’t know that a property is protected by security cameras, they won’t be much of a deterrent.
#3: Security cameras don’t summon law enforcement
The biggest reason home security cameras should only be used as a compliment to a monitored alarm system is that they don’t actually summon help if a break-in occurs. On the other hand, a monitored alarm system will alert local law enforcement when a sensor is triggered.
Burglars aren’t stupid. They know that if they break in to a home with a monitored alarm system, the cops will be there shortly—not to mention a loud alarm will go off alerting the neighbors and anyone else in the area. From the standpoint of a burglar, this means they’ll be able to spend less time in the house, meaning they’ll be able to steal less stuff. Thus, they’re more likely to move on to another house without an alarm.
Hence, the real value in a monitored alarm system is the deterrent factor. When cameras are used with a monitored alarm system, it increases the deterrent factor because it sends the message that the property owner has multiple layers of defense and takes security very seriously. Security cameras by themselves, on the other hand, do little if anything to deter would-be burglars.
We’re not suggesting there is no value in home security cameras. They definitely add a layer of protection to your home, and are useful for other things (like keeping an eye on the baby sitter). Just make sure that before you even think about getting a camera, you first invest in a monitored alarm system.