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  • Vince Torres

Security Officer vs. Security Camera


If criminals approach a building and see a security guard, there is a fear of being caught, as opposed to appearing anonymously on film.

Many times, decision makers are faced with making choices during security planning between investment in security officers or Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) systems.


It is easy to understand that with today’s competitive environment, organizations seek to save money any way possible. Emerging developments in camera technology, combined with inexpensive high-speed internet connections, makes CCTV coverage better and less expensive technology than ever before. While wages and bill rates for security guard services have remained consistent over the past few years, a camera is still cost-competitive especially when compared to high-quality security staffing.


With the new artificial intelligence, the surveillance camera system software can even effectively interpret motion, sound alarms, alert remote monitoring stations, play messages over a loudspeaker, turn on lights, etc. This makes them a real alternative in many ways. So those are the pluses, but what about the downside?...


While it may be true that CCTV has come a long way, it still has its limitations. Can it hear glass breaking? Can it smell smoke from a fire? Can it get that “feeling” a good security guard gets when someone or something “just isn’t right?” Can it tell a slow driver from one who’s “casing the joint?” No, of course not. Can it help a customer? Answer a phone? Wave (or not wave if the case may be) to the passing police vehicle to signal everything is OK, or not OK… if the case may be? No, certainly not.


Cameras do deter some small percentage of criminal activity, but many crimes are committed on camera. Cameras cannot escort unauthorized parties from the premises or take notes from a witness. Perhaps most importantly in higher risk areas, a camera cannot stop a violent criminal act before people are harmed. A highly trained professional security officer can intervene to stop criminal activity, and in the case of American Alliance Security Agency’s past performance, this has benefited our clients on many occasions.


CCTV is a very valuable tool in many security applications. However, it cannot be considered as a replacement for capable “live” security staff on site protecting property, assets, people, and the interests of the client. Cameras are good for documenting events that may assist in the prosecution of criminals, but they cannot stop the events from taking place.

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