Does CCTV Deter Burglars? (5 Ways CCTV Helps)

Regardless of where you are, it is fairly likely you have seen a CCTV camera most days of your life, they have become ingrained in our society and normalised in our everyday lives. You will see CCTV cameras at retail shops, supermarkets, post offices, banks, schools and even homes. 

The private security and surveillance market has been growing rapidly in the last few years with more and more homeowners looking at some form of home security systems, whether this is outdoor lighting, CCTV systems or even forms of keyless entry to their homes or garages.

Does CCTV Deter Burglary

By the end of this article, you will have a much better idea about how CCTV affects burglary, some of the factors that come into play when a burglar is looking at targeting a home, and if surveillance is a good way to deter burglars in private residences. 

Do CCTV Cameras Deter Burglars?

The short answer to this question is yes, CCTV cameras do deter burglars, in this article, we are going to briefly explore why that is, some of the reasons and explore the topic a little further. 

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras have been around for decades and have become very common across the whole of the UK and a huge amount of the world. 

CCTV cameras are a popular home security method and with the most recent boom in home security and surveillance, they are much more common and accessible than ever before. Due to their prevalence and the amount of competition on the market, their price has become very affordable.

CCTV cameras play a huge part in deterring burglars but they are not the only deterrent that could have an impact on a criminal trying to rob your house.

Some other examples of burglar deterrents could be:

  • Outdoor lights are another deterrent when it comes to criminals breaking into your home, motion activated lights are incredibly popular, especially when paired with a CCTV system.
  • A barking dog, burglars want to operate in silence and remain undetected, having to deal with a dog is an added complication and can draw attention to the criminal.
  • Gravel driveways or paths follow a similar rule, they make noise and draw unwanted attention to a person coming towards or away from the house.

Why Do Criminals Attempt to Break Into Homes?

Obviously, as with everything, they are countless factors as to why someone is committing a crime and attempting to break into your property, some examples could be:

  • You are clearly away on holiday or not at home a lot of the time – finding a house where they know someone is not going to be in the home makes the task ten times easier and allows them to take their time when breaking into your home.
  • There is post or parcels left on your porch or sticking out of your postbox – if it is clear you have not been home in a few days a criminal may look at your home as a potential burglary target. It is always good to get your neighbours to take in any parcels and keep an eye on your house when you are away.
  • The criminal is desperate – this often has a huge weighting on whether someone will commit a crime or not. The need for money for X, Y and Z is often the determining factor behind someone performing a crime. 
  • Valuables can be seen from the windows – if a burglar can see things they can quickly pick up and burgle from the outside of your home they are much more likely to attempt to break in.
  • The house or property looks easy to break into – this can be broken down further by the location of your home, your neighbourhood, what floor you are on (i.e. a flat or apartment), and the direction your home faces. 
  • You do not have neighbours in close proximity – the more remote your home is the more likely it is to be broken into as a rule of thumb because a criminal is less likely to be caught.
  • There are not any streetlights in the area – this is not always an important factor as more and more burglaries happen in the daytime especially between 9am to 5pm, unsurprisingly, as this is when a lot of people are not at home.

These are just some examples of factors that weigh into a criminal’s decision making process when looking at breaking into your home. 

There are so many more extraneous variables that can play into what makes someone commit a crime or burglary, but hopefully, this sheds some light on some of the factors at play.

How Does CCTV Deter Burglars?

There are lots of different ways that CCTV can have an impact on crime rates, and there are a variety of factors that can be involved when it comes to a burglar picking which house to break into. Let’s explore a few of the ways that CCTV can deter criminals and reduce burglaries.

Deterred By Psychology

One of the major studies of human behaviour in different situations is known as the Hawthorne Effect, which, to summarise, found that we change our behaviour when we are being watched. 

It found that we are much more likely to perform kind acts when we know we are being observed, or even conform to social norms. To further contextualise this famous study, another way people would adapt their behaviour would be not committing crimes.

CCTV is a literal manifestation of the Hawthorne Effect and means that the majority of places we go, we are being watched and thus will adapt our behaviour to adhere to social expectations and norms.

Deterred By Fear

To follow on from the above point, criminals often will commit crimes because they feel they can get away with it and will not get caught. If criminals knew they were more likely to be caught when performing an illegal act, they are much less likely to attempt it.

The simple addition of an outdoor camera can be a big enough deterrent to let a would-be criminal avoid trying to break into your property and protect your home, and even your neighbours’ homes too.

Deterred By Evidence 

Burglars do not want any paper trail or way that the crime could be traced back to them, this is why CCTV systems act as a huge deterrent for criminals. Having evidence to show that they were somewhere removes the anonymity of a burglar and makes it much more likely they will be caught.

Anything that increases a criminal’s chance of being caught will act as a deterrent when they are attempting to break into a home, and CCTV systems are one of the most effective security methods to use.

Deterred By Technology 

The further technology evolves and changes, the harder it becomes for burglars to break into homes, whether the property has a CCTV system, outdoor lighting, a doorbell camera or keyless entry, being a burglar is much harder in the age of technology.

One of the best examples of utilising newer technology is the addition of two way audio CCTV cameras, this means you can hear what is happening on the footage and even say something to the person captured by the camera. 

Two way audio cameras can be used to tell a delivery driver to leave a package at X location or even to ward off a burglar before they even attempt to break in.

Deterred By Visibility 

A lot of debate has gone into whether or not security systems and CCTV cameras should be hidden or be in plain sight, and although there are cases to be made on both sides, it is much better to have your cameras in obvious and overt places.

Whenever you see a sign warning about CCTV cameras in operation they are normally in yellow or red, this will draw additional attention to them and thus let people know there is surveillance technology in the area.

CCTV cameras are much more effective if they are placed somewhere they can be seen by would-be criminals. It is also important to set up your CCTV cameras with good sightlines, so you can capture a lot of footage, or evidence to use against them, or in this instance, deter them.

CCTV Cameras and Deterring Burglars Summary 

It is clear that there is a very visible correlation between a home having a CCTV system installed and burglars being deterred from breaking in. With the rise of smart technology used in security and home surveillance, there are even more ways to keep your home secure.

No security method can ever be completely effective at eradicating crimes but they do have differing levels of effectiveness and the rule is that something is always better than nothing. This can be proven by even a dummy camera being an effective deterrent. 

A criminal does not want to risk getting caught, so any factors that will make their crime more risky or increase their likelihood to be arrested will mean they are much less likely to commit the crime in the first place. 

Prevention will always be the best way of tackling crime as it is much harder to catch a criminal after the fact, thus, finding ways to reduce crime and prevent them happening are our best tools in home security.

Interested In Learning More About Security and CCTV?

Here at Upcoming Security, we aim to create helpful security content that is accessible and digestible regardless of your background. 

Whether you are a security professional, a homeowner looking to install CCTV, a business wanting to improve your security or just interested in the industry, we are here to help.

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Steve White

Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.