how do you know if a security camera is recording

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Security Cameras?

Information is the backbone of an effective security system. It provides the certainty that your kids are safe, that your dog didn’t destroy the sofa, that a thief hasn’t run away with thousands of dollars worth of valuables.

Cameras play a significant role in a comprehensive security plan, but they should not be the only—or even the first—step.

With that in mind, let’s explore some of the pros and cons of security cameras and how to integrate them with other security equipment best to keep your home protected.

Safety should be the top priority for any place of business. Not only does your workplace house employees on a day-to-day basis but also essential and expensive equipment. There are plenty of factors that increase a worker’s risk in the workplace, including the line of business, setting, and the size of the department.

Pros of Security Cameras

Cameras Can Deter Crime.

Security cameras serve two primary roles in home defence:

  • Deter would-be intruders
  • Capture video evidence to aid a police investigation

Criminals don’t like being watched when they’re at work. Putting surveillance cameras 12 feet above ground level sends a message to any would-be thieves: you’re under surveillance.

A single security camera displayed in a prominent position can be an effective deterrent in its own right.

The reason for mounting security cameras so high up is so everybody can see them from the street, but it’ll be difficult for the burglar to reach up and disconnect the wires.

Position the camera in such a way that you’re able to capture a license plate or get a clear shot of someone’s face.

Modern Security Cameras Are Feature-rich.

Most security cameras manufactured within recent years can do the following:

  • Record sound and video of whatever’s going on in the room
  • Detect motion and sound
  • Send alerts to your smartphone if there’s any unusual activity

More advanced cameras have superior features, including:

  • Two-way talk capability
  • Attached motion-sensing floodlights
  • Built-in sirens

Consumer-Grade Security Cameras Aren’t Expensive.

Though you’d think the features listed above would cost you an arm and a leg, you’re fortunately mistaken. Security cameras are much cheaper than they used to be.

Most cameras manufactured for residential use range between $100–$300. If you want to buy some high-end professional-grade cameras (like those you might expect in a bank), those can cost several hundred dollars or even thousands of dollars each.

You can find cheap cameras on any e-commerce platform, but remember the adage: buy cheap, buy twice. Talk to a security system company that offers security cameras in addition to burglar alarms and fire protection, and they'll help you choose a cost-effective camera that has the features you're looking for.

It Gives an Overall Sense of Security

Having video surveillance systems installed at the entrance of your business is a great way to log the faces of each individual that enters and is in a prime position for people to spot. Just the fact that a surveillance camera is there may deter some criminal activities, and, as for workers, they will likely see it as an essential part of keeping the workplace safe.

It Can Reduce Workplace Theft

Theft can always be an issue in the workplace, whether it’s from someone external breaking in or internal theft from employees. Though the latter only accounts for around 15% of all workplace theft, that still represents an alarming number of employees when you consider it on a national level. Some news outlets report that workplace theft is on the rise.

Some theft is commonplace in sectors such as retail, where tangible goods are being sold, and cameras can be beneficial in preventing this. Still, robbery can also happen on an intellectual level. IP theft can cover many things, from trade secrets to innovations to products and parts required to build equipment. However, when it comes to IP theft, it’s not something that can be caught on camera.

It Can Reduce Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment and assault can be significantly reduced in the workplace if people know that they’re on CCTV, especially with more advanced systems that produce 4K Ultra HD quality footage and can track individuals or things. Sensitive issues such as sexual harassment are rarely reported, even when the #Forbes reported that at least a third of people are afraid to come forward. 

By having a surveillance system in the workplace, especially one with audio capture capabilities, victims of harassment will be able to come forward without the fear they’ll be branded a liar and face repercussions.

It Can Reduce Violent Attacks

Workplace violence happens more commonly than we may think. An article released just last month showed that workplace violence against healthcare professionals in the US is actually on the rise. Other workers more susceptible to workplace violence include teachers and taxi drivers (which is likely why we see an increasing number of surveillance cameras in cabs).

Not only can violence stem between workers and customers (or patients/students in the above example), it can also occur between employees, especially if there are strong disagreements towards a particular subject or if someone has recently been fired and wants to cause trouble. 

Surveillance in the workplace may discourage such things from happening, could help security guards stop it before it escalates, or, in a worst-case scenario, provide law enforcement with appropriate evidence to prosecute the culprits; with 18,400 injuries and 458 fatalities reported in the workplace in 2017, that could be a lot of criminals brought to justice.

It Can Create a More Productive Workplace

Adding security cameras in the workplace isn’t just about preventing bad things from happening. It’s also about ensuring that great things can happen and that employees are working to their full potential.

Studies have shown that when using a surveillance system alongside other monitoring techniques, employees can work harder, but only if they’re aware of the additional monitoring (see the privacy issues below) and if there is some incentive to work harder. 

Blink, an Amazon company, reported that they help to keep employees accountable and smaller surveillance systems, like the ones they offer, are ideal for smaller businesses due to lower overheads and flexibility.

Pros of Surveillance Cameras in Public Places

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Public Video Surveillance Improves Public Safety

When we install a home security camera, we gain increased house safety. Just like that, the main benefit of surveillance cameras in public spaces is also the increase in public safety. Public surveillance cameras help you stay safe while clubbing, shopping, and travelling.

Public security cameras can be used as a way to keep an eye out for crimes. PTZ security cameras put in public spaces, like a crossroad, a retail store, parking lots, museums, concert halls, do an excellent job in providing 360° seamless surveillance solutions.

Additionally, crimes can be deterred before they even begin in some cases. If a suspicious individual or individuals or items are seen in an area, the appropriate authorities can be contacted to move into the room before any damage is done or any crime is committed. Moreover, any people in the area can be cleared as a precaution.

Since public safety is guaranteed, people's fear of crime can also be reduced while their sense of security is created.

Public Surveillance Cameras Reduce Crime Rate

Video surveillance statistics show that camera surveillance does reduce crime – after security cameras were put in public, crime incidents in Humboldt Park dropped 20%.

If individuals know that there are live surveillance cameras in a specific area, they may be less willing to commit a crime near the location for fear of being caught.

Some authorities place public cameras in Walmart and other shops, hoping that the cameras will help prevent crimes.

Public Video Surveillance Helps Catch Criminals

If a crime is committed in an area where a public surveillance camera has been set up, the chances of catching the criminal are much higher.

Facial recognition software has significantly improved over the years. So, if criminals are captured by security cameras in public places, the local authority can recognize and catch them easier with facial recognition technology. Posters can be created, and the images can be aired on network television to help spread the word about the criminal.

Without the surveillance cameras in public places, it can be complicated to gain a quality description of the person who committed the crime, even if there were eyewitnesses.

Catching criminals is one of the best benefits of surveillance cameras in public places. The bombing at the Boston Marathon is a good example. It only took the FBI three days to release blurry shots of the two suspects, taken by a surveillance camera installed in a department store.

Video Cameras in Public Locations Provide Evidence and Gather Clues

Another benefit of surveillance is that any footage that captures a committed crime can be used in a court of law as evidence against the accused.

In some cases, if there were no CCTV security camera systems in public places, there would be little or no evidence to convict the person of the crime, and the individual may go free. With night vision security cameras on watch, robbers can be recognized even if they commit a crime in dark areas.

Additionally, in some cases, the public video surveillance footage can also help prove someone's innocence if they have been accused of a crime that they did not commit.

Public Video Surveillance Brings Convenience for Everyday Life

Some cities have placed cameras on stop lights to help prevent people from speeding or from going through a red light.

And also, relevant authorities can monitor road conditions with live surveillance cameras. So they can make real-time traffic reports, helping people choose the right time and road when going out.

Cons of Security Cameras

Cameras By Themselves Do Not Make A Property Secure.

Security cameras can’t replace a monitored home security system. Unless you always can know what’s happening in your home at any given time, it’s just not possible for you to be on-call 24/7, fully prepared to respond to a disaster the instant it happens.

Just think of the countless circumstances in which you’d have a more challenging time responding to an emergency notification on your smartphone:

  • You’re on vacation in another country
  • You have poor cell reception and no Wi-Fi connection
  • You’re asleep
  • Your phone is out of battery
  • Your phone is on silent
  • You’re on a plane, driving a car, or swimming
  • You are incapacitated or unconscious

The question then becomes: Do you have a backup plan for all of the above scenarios? What happens if you are unable to respond to an alert from your security cameras in an emergency?

For many people, self-monitoring their cameras turn their security systems into a source of anxiety as they can feel compelled to check their cameras constantly whenever they pull out their phones to do something routine like reading a text message.

On a self-monitored camera system, it’s up to you to call the police, fire department, or emergency services. The knowledge that the safety of your family and priceless belongings are solely in your hands can be a heavy responsibility to bear.

Cameras Can Make People Uncomfortable.

Privacy is always a meaningful discussion to have when putting up cameras. The feeling of being watched is unpleasant, even when the camera may not be recording.

Everyone in your house (guests included) should be made aware of what is being recorded and when. When the camera is not in use, the lens should be obscured or turned to face the wall or floor.

If that’s not possible, make it clear to all occupants living in the home that the device is only active when the security system is armed at night or when the house is empty.

Surveillance Can Go A Little Too Far

One of the many issues with surveilling employees through cameras is that employees may be made to feel like they’re not trusted or are being spied on. Some businesses have gone as far as to monitor time spent in break rooms, according to Lawyer Monthly, which lawyers like Vanessa Bell from Prettys says is a step too far and could overall have a hindrance on employee performance.

It can also be the beginning of a more invasive surveillance setup which could involve social media monitoring, email monitoring and even the introduction of new technologies like ultrasonic bracelets that track employee’s location, all leading them to feel trapped in their place of work.

Increased Stress Levels Amongst Workers

The workplace can be a highly stressful environment at the best of times, especially if you’re working in teams, have tight deadlines and a never-ending to-do list. Some industries, such as IT, for example, are also said to be more stressful work environments than other industries, with almost half of IT workers reporting significant stress at work.

Constant surveillance of employees could lead to increased stress and anxiety, causing employees to worry about whether or not their boss thinks they’re working hard or quick enough. Eventually, this could lead to decreased productivity as they think of ways to avoid the surveillance system and could even result in staff leaving and therefore an increase in turnover.

A False Sense of Security

An often-overlooked disadvantage of having surveillance systems installed in the workplace is that employees may be led into a bit of a false sense of security. Though video surveillance is designed to create a safer work environment, it only works if employees are still alert about their surroundings and if appropriate security personnel are also employed. Otherwise, the system could be deemed rather fruitless.


Installing a series of high-end wireless security cameras doesn’t come cheap. After all, many person-hours, research, and technology go into the small piece of equipment. Running the necessary wiring and installation of professional surveillance cameras requires a professional installer. Therefore, installing cameras in the workplace may not be financially viable; however, if businesses feel the need to do so, it could result in them getting into debt for it. This issue is likely to present itself more in small business environments, where cash flow is limited.

Cons of Security Cameras in Public Places

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Surveillance Systems Are Easily Abused

A con of surveillance cameras in public places is that these security cameras may be abused. One example of how a general camera may be misused is that information gathered by law enforcement can be used as a form of blackmail.

Another form of abuse is voyeurism. Spying on women with public surveillance cameras is quite common, which becomes quite an issue that needs to be dealt with.

Overall, the simple lack of control or limits on public camera use is one of the biggest problems. Until now, there is no sound check-and-balance system to prevent abuses from occurring.

Effectiveness of a Public Security Camera Is Doubted

Another controversy of using surveillance cameras in public places is that their effectiveness has not been proven. While there has been a push for more public CCTV cameras to be placed in public places because of the threat of terrorist attacks, it is pretty clear that a suicidal bomber is not going to be deterred by the fact that there is a camera in place.

Public Camera Surveillance Is Expensive

One of the arguments against the widespread use of public surveillance cameras is that it costs big money. Since it is not effective enough to deter crimes and theft, why would we spend too much money on it, which not only fails to make us safer but also violates our rights?

We live in a constant threat of attack from solo shooters to suicidal bombers. To live safer, we install home security cameras in and out of our house.

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