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Do Security Cameras Prevent Crime?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Statistics show that as little as 12% of burglaries are planned, in terms of a specific house being targeted, and up to 88% of robberies are committed to support an ongoing drug habit, without looking at how these numbers are related. It is plain to see in the data that burglaries, break-ins, and home invasions, are largely crimes of opportunity, in the same way, that an unlocked car in a driveway, with the door ajar, is an invitation for that car to be ransacked in search of spare change or anything that might be of value.

With these facts as a backdrop, it is easy to see why criminals are looking for easy targets not hardened compounds. They haven’t thought it through. They are looking for a quick in and out and the least chance of being identified. It is not surprising that somewhere between 35-50 % of ex-burglars, and prison inmates when surveyed, will say that security cameras would be a deterrent, and they would likely move on to the next house.

Installing a security camera will reduce the potential that your home will fall victim to a burglary. It is shown in the data that neighborhoods with more cameras have less crime. But that is not the end of the story.

It is hard to separate out statistics that identify to what degree cameras alone prevent criminal behavior. Most burglars, when surveyed, will say that alarms, sirens, and even lights are more of a deterrent.

Criminals don’t like anything that calls attention to their actions. Any sudden change, motion lights, a new or unexpected sound, maybe all that is necessary to stop a perpetrator from continuing their ill-conceived plan.

Best Practices: Cameras can be an effective tool in your efforts to secure your home, but there are some ways to enhance their effectiveness. Below are some best practices when buying and installing security cameras.

  • Coupling Cameras with other deterrents: Installing security cameras with motion activated lights, and sirens, is best, and there are plenty of cameras with those features in the market, at affordable prices.

  • Landscape Lighting: Incorporate both static and motion-activated lighting as a deterrent in your yard, and to light otherwise dark areas around the property. The bullet point above may let you kill two birds with one stone.

  • Camera photo quality: Traditional cameras need to have adequate yard lighting to get an identifiable image for law enforcement, keep that in mind. Recent tech advancements have made good night vision affordable in many security camera options. Look out for features like inferred or some proprietary night vision branding, like “starlight” in the descriptions. Many of the most popular brands do a pretty good job these days.

  • Cameras that make noise: Many cameras have two-way talk capability, like the now common video doorbells. Many cameras are equipped with sirens, for when it is clear, there is an intruder. Remember burglars don’t like sudden sounds. The louder the better. Consider a video doorbell as one of your cameras. Most burglaries begin at the front door, so getting a nice, up-close mugshot to give to law enforcement is a nice bonus, and hearing a voice at the other end will be unsettling to a burglar, day or night

  • System Visibility Last but not least, allow your systems to be visible. Your cameras should be very visible, well-placed, and look well maintained. Don’t try to hide them in an effort to protect them from the elements. Look for weather-rated cameras (IP rating, 65 or higher are considered waterproof) and put them out in the open.

There are other considerations: do you want cloud storage or local, are you Ok with subscriptions and the fees, do you want home assistant compatibility? Questions that will be answered in another installment.

These guidelines should give you some features to look for when selecting your next camera, I highlight many top brands on

Every time I research to write a new blog, like this, I identify vulnerabilities in my security system. Sometimes it’s a gap I need to fill and sometimes it’s just a more effective way to handle a vulnerability. I view home security as a process. And with new technologies coming online all the time, it’s also an evolution. Don’t be afraid to start on your journey to a safer home using these insights to make better choices.

Plan for Safety

Andy, Senior Editor

Sources:,, surprising truth about security cameras and burglars, resources burglary statistics

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