Security Guards vs. Camera Monitoring

Any business that requires some level of security has a plethora of choices in today’s environment of physical assets, personnel, and technology-driven solutions.

Once a thorough Risk or Threat and Vulnerability Assessment has been conducted that recommends active camera and alarm monitoring or on-site security personnel, there are further considerations. These can include, but are not limited to, are there employees on-site that may be at risk for robbery or assault while arriving at, working at, or leaving the premises? Are valuable assets and materials secured appropriately and difficult to reach by unauthorized individuals? Has your business evaluated and implemented policies and procedures recommended by Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)?

These and other factors contribute towards the basis of a security program that needs to be designed to “Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay, and if need be, Defend.” Security cameras and live alarm monitoring provide valuable, real-time intelligence to business owners regarding the status of their property and assets. There is, however, an anecdotal saying in the security industry that “a camera will watch you get robbed while a security professional will attempt to prevent it from happening.”

One of the challenges with security cameras and system monitoring is identifying security threats in time. Dead alarm contacts, blind spots in the camera layout, or other factors may not detect a bad actor entirely. If an adequate system and a monitoring company receive an alarm, they will then view the live camera feeds and verify the alarm condition. By this point, particularly in the dead of night, the criminal element might have already been on-site and gained access to the facility for several minutes.

The final obstacle for camera-monitoring-only solutions becomes dispatching local law enforcement to interdict. In many cases, law enforcement officers (LEO’s) respond to calls by priority, where an imminent threat to life and limb takes precedence. Medium to low priority calls, such as a middle of the night burglary where there is no threat to employees on-site, can delay response by officers by 15, 30 minutes, or more. An unfortunate reality is that sometimes, when LEO’s make it to the site, the property damage and theft have already occurred, and the criminal element has fled the scene.

An armed security officer on-site can complement existing security systems and provide a real-time response option when an active threat is detected. Where a delayed police presence may or may not be able to stop criminal elements from making it off-site with valuable assets and property, an armed security resource can be directed to the source of the break-in by a dispatch center that is actively viewing the camera feeds.

Beyond this, if there are employees on-site when an attempting break-in or robbery occurs, the armed security guard often has the ability to guide employees to shelter in place while they confront the threat. Protecting property is an integral part of the security role, but defending life is paramount. Criminals will often choose a soft target and the path of least resistance. An armed, vigilant security operator can provide a visual deterrent, causing a nefarious individual to select a different business to target.

Evaluating the right security solutions for your business should be an ever-evolving process as your business grows and changes. Consult with trusted advisors, ask experts for recommendations, and it will significantly lessen the chance of being the target of criminal enterprise.