If You Can Buy Just One Security Device, Make It a Camera

If You Can Buy Just One Security Device, Make It a Camera


Home security devices are more common today than they have ever been. People all over the country are investing in home security based on the understanding that it protects their homes against crime and other risks. But not everyone can afford complete systems. Some can barely afford a single security device.

If that sounds like you – you can buy just one security device – make that device a camera. Better yet, make it an exterior camera that offers a clear view of the front of your home. Why? Because cameras are one of the most effective deterrents to burglary and other property crimes.

No home security device can prevent every crime from happening. But as Vivint Smart Home points out in their 2023 guide to mastering burglary prevention, video cameras are effective deterrents simply because they make it harder for criminals to conceal their activity.

Studies Show They Deter

How do companies like Vivint know that cameras deter property crimes? Because numerous studies have shown as much. The people behind the Security.org website ran an analysis of six well-known burglary studies and discovered that burglars admit being deterred by video surveillance.

One of the most cited of those studies is one done by the University of North Carolina. It found that 60% of burglars would immediately leave a house if they discovered it was equipped with a home security system, while 50% would take a hike if they noticed video surveillance cameras.

On a larger scale, an Urban Institute study concluded that video surveillance cameras placed in downtown Baltimore had a significant impact on reducing crime. Likewise, Chicago saw a 12% reduction in crime after installing cameras downtown.

In fairness, Security.org also cited studies showing that cameras have very little impact. But with each of those studies, researchers looked at municipal cameras designed to keep an eye on streets, parking lots, etc. All the cited studies surveying burglars and their habits show a tendency to avoid homes equipped with video surveillance.

It Just Makes Sense

I am not a burglar and never have been. But it just makes sense that video cameras would deter property crimes. If I were a burglar walking up to a house, you can bet I would be keeping my eyes open for anything that could lead to me getting caught. If I noticed a video camera pointed at the front door, I would not take my chances. There would probably be other houses in the neighborhood not equipped with security cameras.

The thing about security cameras is that they provide evidence. They produce images investigators can use to track down criminals. In many cases, those images can be used as evidence in court. Why would a criminal take his chances with video cameras if there were other houses to hit?

Just One Component

Full disclosure requires acknowledging that not all burglars say cameras deter them. That is why it’s unwise to rely exclusively on video surveillance to protect your home. Buy a camera if you can only afford one home security device. But if you can afford more, consider investing in a complete system that also includes window and door sensors, motion sensors, some extra cameras, and professional monitoring services.

A camera might be your entry point into the world of home security. But any additional security devices you can install will only make your home that much more secure. Remember that the main goal here is to deter criminals. If you make crime hard on them, they are more likely to leave you alone.

Home Improvement