What’s Better: Live Video Monitoring or Security Guards?
Business owners and business managers obviously want to protect their properties as much as they can. Criminals can cause serious financial issues for companies, and they can cause significant damage and disruption as well.
According to FBI statistics, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.0 billion in property losses in 2019 and the average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,661. However, while these numbers are large, they don’t take into account the other disruptions caused by these crimes.
If a property needs to be repaired, that takes time and energy away from other business tasks. It can also disrupt staff productivity. In addition, visible property damage (even damage that is being repaired) can negatively affect the reputation of a business. This can hurt a company’s bottom line for a long time.
How do business owners typically protect their properties? Traditionally, security guards have been common, but live video monitoring companies are becoming considerably more popular thanks to advances in technology.
Live remote video monitoring is a powerful and cost-effective alternative to security guards.
This means that the business will have to make a significant decision. Will the company be better served by security guards or CCTV monitoring? Finding the right answer depends on understanding both options, learning about their strengths and potential drawbacks, and determining what works best for the business.
What Do Security Guards Do?
Security Guards provide many different services. Traditionally, they have been used to help prevent theft, vandalism, property damage, and much more. However, the way they handle these roles depends on several factors.
Security guards may be stationary. This means they might sit at the entrance to a property (behind a desk, near a gate, etc.) and work to ensure that only authorized persons are allowed to enter. Other guards may make their rounds throughout a property. Sometimes this is done on foot while, in larger properties (truck yards, warehouses, factories, large parking facilities, etc.), guards may drive through the site in either marked or unmarked vehicles.
There are also security patrol services, where guards drive-by or around a property periodically to check for suspicious activity.
One benefit of security personnel is that they are an active type of security. This means they can work to prevent crimes before they occur. Consider a situation where a guard notices someone lurking around outside the fence at a truck yard. The guard can act and deter the criminal before they can cause any damage.
Stopping crimes before they happen is important. This is because, as mentioned, criminals often cause significant damage when they attempt a break-in, even if they are unsuccessful. Preventing them from even trying can save a business a lot of money and hassle.
What Does Real-Time Security Monitoring Work?
For many years, security cameras were passive tools. This means that they primarily worked as a way to capture video that could be used as evidence later on. This was even the case with those that were connected to a monitoring station. These services were not offering live monitoring.
Instead, the station would be alerted to trouble conditions, such as a motion detector being tripped, and agents could then watch the video to know what had happened. This was typically used to verify that a crime had actually taken place before calling the police. They wanted to know that it wasn’t a false alarm.
But passive monitoring does not prevent crimes. This is where real-time security monitoring comes in.
A live security camera monitoring service is always watched by trained security personnel. These trained agents can see exactly what’s happening at a property as it happens. In addition, live video monitoring companies typically pair these cameras with other live security tools, such as two-way speakers.
The result is that trained agents can work as proactive security personnel to spot suspicious activity and react to prevent crime from taking place. As mentioned, preventing a crime before it happens has significant advantages for a business.
For instance, consider the same situation listed above, the one where a criminal is lurking outside the gates of a truck yard. Live monitoring agents can spot this person as soon as they get near the property. If the site was being protected by security guards, there would have to be a guard nearby to witness the suspicious person before they broke in. With live remote monitoring cameras, agents can see an entire property at once. This means they don’t miss anything.
In fact, a live monitoring security camera can become even more powerful if it is overlaid with artificial intelligence (AI). AI can be trained to spot suspicious activity, including very small movements before a human notices them. This means the AI can alert the security team the moment something unexpected happens. The agent can then communicate with the suspicious person immediately using the two-way speaker system.
Typically, this means informing the person that they are being watched live and that the police will be dispatched if they do not leave immediately. In most cases, the criminal will leave the scene right away rather than risk being caught. If the police need to be called, this call will be made before the criminal even starts a break-in attempt.
That drastically increases the likelihood of the criminal being apprehended by police. Criminals know this, and they’d rather leave the scene than risk being caught.
These examples show the significant power of live video monitoring and how it can make a significant difference to the security of truck yards, construction worksites, large residential complexes, retail centers, industrial buildings, cannabis businesses, warehouses, and much more.
How Does Live Video Monitoring Help Businesses?
In addition to spotting criminals before they can strike, there are many other ways that a security camera monitoring service can help a business. For instance, as mentioned, at some properties a security guard is stationed at the gate to control access. This service can be provided by a live remote monitoring agent.
In these situations, cameras are installed at the gate. When someone arrives, they’ll be asked to show their identification to one of the cameras. The agent will then verify if they are authorized to enter while also using the second camera to confirm that their face matches their ID. The agent can engage in a live conversation with the person if they have any questions. If the person is not authorized, the agent will not open the gate.
However, in addition to providing access control, live monitoring agents can also handle parking management. For instance, in a secure facility, visitors may only be authorized to park in certain areas. In a truck yard, for example, drivers will typically be instructed where to park their trailers so they can be easily found.
In these situations, the live agent can not only assign parking spots as people arrive, but they can also verify that these assignments have been followed. This is because live monitoring cameras can be installed so that remote agents can see an entire property. If the agent notices that a driver has parked in the wrong space, they can direct them to the correct spot using the two-way speaker system. This improves security and eliminates confusion.
Having agents that can see and communicate with an entire property 24/7 is incredibly beneficial for many other reasons as well. For example, live agents can spot unsafe behaviors that happen at a property (such as staff not wearing property safety equipment), or they can see if protocols are not being followed (such as a truck driver not conducting a thorough pre-trip inspection).
In any of these cases, the agent can immediately communicate with the site and correct the behavior, keeping the property safe and secure.
A Security Guard vs CCTV Monitoring
When it comes to the choice between a security guard vs CCTV cameras, there are many factors to keep in mind, including:
- Response Times
- As mentioned, one of the major benefits of live remote monitoring is that agents are always watching the entire property. This means they’ll see suspicious activity right away, no matter where it happens. When you add in the fact that cameras are overlaid with AI (which can detect movement and unexpected situations with speed and accuracy that are often greater than the human eye), agents are able to react incredibly quickly.
- With onsite guards, unless there is a guard in the area at the time a criminal arrives, there is a chance that the crook will not be noticed until it’s too late.
- Coverage Area
- Even if many security guards are stationed at a property, there’s a good chance that they won’t be able to see absolutely every inch of the property at once. This is especially true on a large site (such as a truck yard or warehouse).
- Live monitoring cameras can be strategically installed so that agents can see the entire property 24/7. No matter where a criminal goes, they will be on camera and that means someone will be able to see them. This prevents them from learning the movements of a security guard and trying to avoid them. There will be no avoiding the cameras.
- In addition to being positioned so that agents can see everything, a live monitoring security camera can be installed just about anywhere, even in areas that are tough for guards to watch. For instance, think of a distant area that is physically far from the main building (such as the far end of a parking lot, for example). A camera can be installed that will cover this area.
- This means there won’t be a need to station a specific guard in a faraway location, or for guards to spend time walking to remote areas. Instead, remote security agents can easily watch the entire site at once.
- Human Weaknesses
- Obviously, human beings aren’t perfect. For example, it’s often difficult for security guards to see clearly in low-light conditions, such as at night. At these times, guards may need to carry flashlights so they can see. Criminals can easily spot these flashlights and that helps them avoid the security guards.
- Modern surveillance cameras, on the other hand, can capture clear video in nearly all conditions. This means agents will still be able to see at night, in poor weather, or at any other time. The addition of artificial intelligence makes this even more powerful.
- The fact that real-time security cameras are also recording the footage at all times is also critical. This footage is retained and can be viewed later to determine what happened in a situation (such as a collision at a truck yard or a safety violation at an industrial site). Having this footage lets management see exactly what occurred. Without cameras, this review will depend on eyewitness recollection and, potentially, any notes taken by the guard on site. Of course, this recollection may not be 100% accurate. Video footage is.
- Criminal Violence
- Unfortunately, sometimes criminals will try to distract, overwhelm, intimidate, or even harm onsite security guards. This is especially true in situations where criminals arrive at a site in large numbers or where they come armed. This can be a security risk and can lead to serious injury.
- Since live monitoring agents work remotely, they can continue to do their jobs effectively regardless of the situation on the ground.
- It’s important to note that, in many cases, the remote video monitoring service cost may be lower than the cost to have an entire property protected by security guards. Staffing a large property with enough security guards to protect it effectively can be quite expensive. In many cases, the security camera monitoring service cost is lower, even when the costs of installation are included.
- In the long term, it might be more cost-effective to protect a property by putting more CCTV cameras instead of hiring more security personnel, especially when all the other benefits of real-time security monitoring are considered.
- The incredible effectiveness of the live monitoring system is also a significant factor.
How Does a Business Choose the Right Security?
Business owners and managers need to consider all the factors listed above, as well as any additional factors that relate to their specific business when they are deciding how to protect their properties. For a lot of companies, overall effectiveness and cost are two of the main factors.
In many cases, live video surveillance provides the best return on investment as well as the highest security. For several of the reasons stated here, many businesses have started using live remote monitoring services and putting more CCTV cameras instead of hiring more security personnel.
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However, this decision should be made by reviewing your security needs and budget, and speaking with several security companies about their offerings.
There are many different security guard services and live video monitoring companies out there. Looking at the different video monitoring services of America and Canada, you’ll see many options, but not all are created equal. By talking to a company, understanding how they work, explaining your own security needs, and working with them to find a solution that works for you, you can find the right protection for your business.
When you’re speaking with a security provider, ask them how they determine the position of their cameras, how they design the overall layout of their system, what type of reports they provide, and much more. A good security company will work with you to find a solution that is effective, meets your unique needs, and that works within your budget.
For more information on how you can protect your business or speak with our team about the solutions that could be right for you, please contact us today. With years of experience protecting properties, we will be more than happy to speak with you and help you find the right security tools for your company.