July 25, 2017

Burglar Alarm vs Camera Systems: The Big Difference

A common question we hear from our customers is, “Which is better, a burglar alarm or a camera system?”.

It depends on who you are talking to on which answer you will receive. I have heard the argument of both sides and I would like to share my thoughts. There is a ton of conflicting misinformation on this subject on the internet so I will try to help steer you in the right direction.

First, what is the goal of having a security system?

Statistics prove that a burglar alarm is in fact a deterrent for burglaries. Most burglars will choose another home or business to steal from if they see a security system. A security system can also deter vandalism by using exterior sensor beams: motion detectors that are design to detect an intruder on the property but not inside the premises.  Basically these sensors create a perimeter around the area needing protection. Once the perimeter is broken, such as somebody walking past one of the sensors, the exterior siren sounds and ore a strobe light turns on.  A burglar alarm can also give important information to authorities such as the time/date of the crime and the areas that were breached. A burglar alarm sounds and alerts you when there is a breach, a camera system records video of the areas in view.

The takeaway with a burglar alarm is with an alarm, there is a limited amount of time the criminal will be on your property. You are talking seconds. A sensor is breached, a siren sounds and the police are notified and respond.  Most burglars will high tail it out of there and not even choose you as a target if you have an alarm. In the end you won’t have to deal with broken windows, kicked in doors, etc.

There are very little statistics to support the deterrent value of a camera system alone. However, I am sure it does give some deterrent value. For example I have seen the criminals that aren’t “professional” be deterred from a camera system. But there is very little to deter a “professional” criminal from the sole use of cameras alone. Once a crime has happened, cameras are

Video monitors

a great way to collect information for the authorities. Not only a time/date stamp but also facts such as sex and height of the perpetrator. One must keep in mind that cameras are not preventative in nature. They are a post event tool to locate evidence after the fact.

With a camera system, you are watching the criminal commit the crime with an unlimited time frame, after the fact. Not to mention you may or may not have be notified of the event until hours or days later, leaving your property open for further theft or vandalism.

So what does this all mean? A burglar alarm is more effective in deterring theft and vandalism than a camera system. A surveillance system is just an information gathering device.

But wait there’s more. Combining the two together is your golden ticket. Being alerted of an event as it happens (with your burglar alarm), and watching the video of such event (with your cameras remotely) in a timely manner is the most effective way of protecting your assets and loved ones. Not only will you be able to practically eliminate false alarms, but in the event there is a crime being committed you will have the full picture for the authorities. The authorities will respond faster, and you may have a chance of catching someone in the act.

There are many benefits to either system. Your best bet is to have both in your home or business.