Ensuring that your business is secure is important. Whether you’ve been victimized in the past or just like keeping an eye on things, you may consider using Closed Circuit Television cameras at some point. CCTV helps prevent personal and property crimes by monitoring, recording and transmitting images. The images are monitored remotely by you or security personnel, allowing your premises to be watched 24 hours a day. CCTV cameras can act as a deterrent to crime and increase the chance of arresting those who carry out crimes. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using CCTVs.

How CCTV Cameras Work

CCTVs transmit video through a closed circuit, meaning the video recorded cannot be transmitted to an outside device. CCTV cameras, monitors and recorders all are directly connected to provide immediate access to security footage. A CCTV camera allows you to watch live streams of whatever the camera is recording. The footage is sent also to a digital video recorder where it is stored for later viewing. CCTV cameras are generally small and unobtrusive. They can be placed anywhere on the exterior or interior of a building. If you don't want the cameras to be obvious, you can get small cameras that are easy to hide in plants or behind speakers.

Advantages of CCTV Cameras

The primary advantage is that CCTV acts as a crime deterrent. Potential criminals who see the camera may be dissuaded from following through with their planned criminal activities for fear of being caught on tape. This leads to another advantage of CCTV – increased safety. Increased safety for you, your employees and your customers is likely a top priority, and a CCTV camera can help achieve that. If a crime does occur, the CCTV camera can provide evidence needed to catch and convict the criminal. This can be especially useful if there are no witnesses to a crime or if witnesses are unreliable sources, since a camera records what actually happens. Another advantage is that you can monitor your business from anywhere. Technology allows you to watch the camera feed on your smartphone or via the internet. That means you can check in on your business during off-hours, on weekends or when you’re on vacation.

Disadvantages of CCTV Cameras

While they do have a lot of advantages, there are also some disadvantages to CCTV cameras. A primary disadvantage of a CCTV camera is the issue of intrusion of privacy. Your employees and customers may object to being filmed under constant surveillance. It may cause employees to feel like you don’t trust them, which is never a good dynamic. Another disadvantage of CCTV cameras is the cost. It is expensive to purchase cameras and other equipment needed for a CCTV system. It can also be expensive to keep the technology upgraded. If you have a small business, this cost should be factored into your annual budget.

If you do opt for CCTV cameras, let your employees know about them and explain that they were installed to increase their safety. It is a legal requirement to tell staff that you're using CCTV in your business in most states, and there are strict rules about where you can place CCTV cameras. Generally, you cannot place them in areas where staff are entitled to expect privacy such as restrooms and changing rooms. Also, some states permit the recording of images but not the recording of sound without your staff's permission. So, do check the rules in your state. If you are debating adding security to your business, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a CCTV system to determine if it’s right for you. It is a major investment to install CCTV cameras. But the investment typically pays for itself, especially if it means you won’t need to employ security guards to monitor your business premises.