Should My Security Cameras Be Hidden?

Home surveillance systems are becoming increasingly popular among residential homeowners. The price of security cameras has fallen, despite considerable improvements to both quality and the technological sophistication of the equipment.

In addition, Home automation apps, like Honeywell Total Connect, are helping to improve the effectiveness of home camera systems by putting live video feeds directly into the hands of homeowners.

Security Camera Installation Strategies

As more and more home owners turn to cameras as a source for home protection, many have questions in regards to strategies related to installing home security cameras. One question that keeps popping up is, “should cameras be visible or hidden?

Should I Keep My Security Cameras Hidden?

If you’re thinking about installing surveillance cameras, you might be wondering, Should I keep my video surveillance system hidden? Should I advertise my cameras? There are two camps of thought on this question.

One side argues that a hidden residential security camera is more likely to catch a burglar in the act. The other side argues that advertising that a home surveillance system is set up may deter burglars from breaking into your property. What is the best way to go? This blog looks at the main arguments for both positions.

Keeping Cameras Visible

An Argument for Overt Surveillance Cameras: They Prevent and Deter Criminal Activity

Crime flourishes in hidden places. Most people intending to commit a crime prefer to do so when, and where, no one can see them do it. The reasoning behind this is that if no one sees them and/or nothing videos them doing it, they’ve reduced their chances of getting caught and suffering a penalty.

It’s the getting caught (with proof against the criminal) and the probability of a negative consequence that tends to deter perpetrators. Even homeowners that live out in the country should be thinking about where to install video surveillance equipment on rural properties.

Visible Surveillance Cameras may be a Deterrent in Public Spaces

A camera that is visible is believed to be a deterrent from a crime being committed. In fact, one review of 44 studies found that the installation of closed-circuit TV (CCTV) decreased crime in parking lots by 51% and crime in public transportation by 23%.

However, not all data shows that visible surveillance systems have an effect. There are plenty of other studies that show such systems have no effect whatsoever. However, this is in public spaces. What about residential security video? Is it effective?

Residential Surveillance Cameras may be a Deterrent in Cases of Home Invasion

Research conducted by the University of North Carolina found that most criminals check to see whether a prospective home has a security system before trying to break in. The study also found that potential criminals avoid homes that have security, and if they do try to break in under the mistaken belief that there's no security system, they run away when the system sounds an audible alarm.

Hidden Video Surveillance

An Argument for Hidden Cameras: They are Helpful in Gathering Information

A well-placed, well-hidden camera can provide important details of suspect activity. Your residential security camera can be setup to capture clear views of suspected activity.

If you’re wanting to know more details about an activity occurring in your home or office or if you need more evidence to prove or disprove a specific case, then a hidden camera can be helpful (within legal bounds). You may want to catch people “in the act” because you want as much evidence as you can get - a hidden camera can help with this.

Another Argument for Hidden Cameras: They can be Useful in Catching a Criminal

A step further along this line of reasoning is that hidden cameras can aid in catching criminals. Of course, some people are bent on committing a crime and they don’t care if cameras are around or not. However, most crimes are crimes of opportunity: If criminals think there are no cameras around to catch them in the act and stand as evidence against them, they’re more likely to commit a crime.

The FBI states that burglaries are hard to solve (with only 13% being solved) because of the lack of proof. With a home surveillance system, when a criminal commits an act, the camera may catch them and help build the case against them. This, in turn, helps law enforcement get them off the streets and hopefully stop future acts.

A Third Argument for Hidden Cameras: They can Foil Criminals

Some professional, highly skilled criminals are trained to disable security systems and video cameras; so if they see overt cameras, they will disable them before they begin. This can be done by snipping telephone lines, cutting power cords, dunking the video recording equipment in water, etc.

However, if surveillance cameras are well hidden and there’s no sign of any sort of security, then the belief is that the criminals will do the crime. But you’ll be one step closer to catching them because you’ll have video of them committing that crime.

Make Sure to Weigh Your Options and Decide What's Most Important to You

These are a few arguments for and against hidden cameras. You may even want to consider some combination of both! Just be sure to weigh all your options and decide the position that is most compelling to you.

Regardless of home security cameras you install, we encourage you to pick a system that can integrate with smart home apps like Honeywell Total Connect. You can even connect this smart home system to an Apple watch for freedom and convenience:

Contact us to learn more about the cost of installing, servicing, or upgrading home security cameras, alarm equipment, or smart home features.

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