A lot of people feel safe after installing CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) cameras in their homes or businesses thinking it will scare criminals away. Some even go as far as placing a warning sign telling everyone the property is under 24 hours CCTV surveillance yet we see reports of those properties being burgled, robbed and vandalized. Recently in Lagos we have seen viral CCTV footage of a guy who went into a shop and stole Apple Macbook and till today no word of his arrest despite the fact that he was popular on Instagram. I agree this technology is important to some extent, sometimes it helps discourage criminals but to think it provides all round security is wrong.
The main purpose of CCTV is to observe and record events of the area it covers. Depending on the type of camera, some CCTV cameras are very powerful and can give clear HD recording and a wider view while others just give a blurry narrow view. However, observation alone is not enough.
Benefits of installing CCTV
1. Footage from the CCTV Can be used as evidence in the court of law:
There are many instances where criminals deny the crimes and sometimes they go scot free for lack of evidence. There is no better evidence than having a CCTV footage, it is the easiest way to convince a jury.
2. The video recorded can be used to identify criminals
The case of the infamous Offa robbery is a perfect example of how CCTV can be help in identifying criminals. As soon as the images hit social media, people started identifying them and in a matter of days the criminals were all rounded up.
3. For insurance purposes.
Of course collecting insurance money for your stolen property should not be your main motivation for installing CCTV in your property but it helps a great deal especially when the insurance company wants to be difficult. If you have video evidence of what happens, collecting your insurance claim would be more easier.
4. To discourage petty criminals.
Yes I said petty criminals because there’s no way a well organized and sophisticated criminal crew will be worried about your CCTV. A face mask can solve that problem, but a petty thief, shop lifter, bag snatcher etc might be discouraged if he sees CCTV cameras watching him or her from all angles.
5. Requires little or no maintenance.
A CCTV system once installed requires little or no maintenance, once in a while you check if the cables are still intact and you clean the dust particles and so on.
6. It can save lots of money and it’s not expensive.
Think of the amount of money you will spend to hire physical security guards whom you must pay wages every month to cover a big property or office complex. Just install CCTV everywhere and hire few security to watch the screens that’s all. Money has been saved.
1. It cannot discourage hardened sophisticated criminals.
Oh yes, it can’t and it won’t. A determined criminal will see a CCTV camera as the least of his problems. He can just blast the damn thing away with AK47.
2. It cannot prevent a crime from happening.
A crime that is destined to happen will happen even in the presence of a thousand CCTV cameras working 247. There’s nothing the cameras can do than just record.
3. It does not guarantee that a criminal will be caught.
Few weeks ago in Lagos there is a trending video of a popular Instagram guy who stole a Macbook from a shop and his face went viral because he was caught on CCTV. Till now there’s no word of his arrest and his case is a one among the millions of similar cased captured on CCTV that has gone unsolved.
4. They can also be stolen or vandalized.
Even a CCTV camera can be stolen or vandalized by a criminal and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The ones that are placed outside a building or on the streets are more vulnerable to theft and vandalism than the ones inside the buildings.
5. The high-end cameras can be expensive.
They also have high-end infra red CCTV cameras with night vision. These ones are much more expensive than the regular CCTVs because they provide high quality HD recording even at night or stormy weather conditions.