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CCTV vs Security Guard: which should you choose?

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Alex, Staff Writer

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Whether you are looking to protect your property, possessions or even a person, getting on top of your security is key. There are lots of security solutions that exist these days, but perhaps two of the stalwarts are CCTV and a traditional security guard. 

One is AI-based and the other is a physical human. So which one should you choose for the job? Let’s find out. 


Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is a popular method of security prevention worldwide. It can be used in both a residential and commercial setting, and is relatively easy to install. By recording the goings on around your property, you are based placed to use this as evidence. This is especially the case if criminal activity takes place while you aren’t there, as otherwise, it would be difficult to describe the culprit.

However, the one drawback with CCTV is for the most part it only captures what is going on. As an AI machine, it cannot detect danger like a human. Some CCTV systems can link to a remote control centre, though this comes at a cost. Even if police are called, this won’t physically stop the criminal until they arrive. To cover large areas (especially with 4K CCTV) this can be very expensive too. 

CCTV pros

  • Provides video evidence for the police

  • Its very presence is often a deterrent in itself 

  • Can cover awkward spaces

  • Transmits images remotely and can link to police

CCTV cons

  • Can be expensive to install and maintain

  • CCTV alone won’t stop a criminal

  • If the camera is obscured by foliage/dirt the image could be ruined

  • Cameras can be stolen or damaged

  • You legally need to declare CCTV is in operation with signage

Security Guard

Security guards are the go-to people when a situation is unfolding. Security guards can be hired for any scenario, whether to guard a building or protect a person of high importance. 

Unlike CCTV cameras, security guards can’t be in all places at all times. However, they can monitor CCTV as part of their duties and respond immediately should trouble be detected. They can also offer verbal warnings and eject people from the premises. If the police need to be called, then security guards can detain a suspect until they arrive, which CCTV can’t do. 

Security Guard pros

  • Can take immediate action if suspicious activity is detected

  • Active lookout is not fixed to a particular camera angle like CCTV

  • Often provides other services such as visitor sign-in or first aid

  • Highly trained, qualified security professionals

Security Guard cons

  • Can’t physically record what is happening like CCTV

  • Hiring the right candidate is key to success

The bottom line

Both CCTV and physical security guards provide a high level of protection against crime. CCTV will record what is happening, and provide a reliable source of evidence if required in court. However, a security guard will be on scene to intercept any criminal activity, rather than showing you what happened afterwards on CCTV. 

While combining both CCTV and a security guard offers the best of both worlds, it pays to have someone on-site to handle the situation in the form of a security guard. This is especially the case if your building is located in a high crime area or contains valuable assets. Likewise, security guards offer the best form of personal protection too.

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