Security Camera Monitoring 101: Active ss. Passive Surveillance

Learn the difference between two types of security: active vs passive

Last Updated:
May 20, 2024
| ~
min Read
Kailey Boucher
Marketing Writer

If you are looking for security camera monitoring solutions, it's important to know the difference between passive security and active security. In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each approach to help you determine which is best for your unique needs.


Passive monitoring is focused on record keeping for later review. In the event of a crime or unwanted intrusion, passive surveillance cameras document important evidence like faces, license plates, and other critical details. Recording this information makes it easier to investigate events and prosecute criminals after an incident occurs on your site. If you are primarily looking for ways to monitor and document activities on your property, passive security camera monitoring may be a good option.


When considering passive security solutions, several options stand out. Some of the most popular options include: 

  • Fixed cameras that diligently document activities within one specific area. This documentation is specifically useful in scenarios that require evidence or detailed incident reviews. 
  • Motion sensor cameras, designed for efficiency—they only spring to life when movement is detected, ensuring that only essential activity is recorded. 
  • Time-lapse cameras that capture the progress of a long-term project from start to finish. This kind of footage is ideal for analysis, record-keeping, or even marketing.

To make the most of these passive surveillance solutions, be sure to follow these best practices:

  • Regular maintenance: The backbone of passive surveillance is consistent performance. As such, it’s crucial to reduce the potential for gaps in your recorded information by regularly checking and maintaining your equipment.
  • Optimal placement: Because passive surveillance systems largely function without human interference, positioning cameras to reduce blind spots and capture the most critical footage is a must.
  • Backup power: A security system with a built-in backup power solution should be at the top of your must-have list. Crime doesn’t stop during unforeseen power disruptions; you need cameras that won’t miss a single crucial moment. 
  • Durable equipment: Effective passive surveillance requires equipment that is built to last. Choose equipment that's resistant to tampering, vandalism, and severe weather conditions.


Active monitoring, on the other hand, gives you total peace of mind. When you choose an active monitoring solution, you ensure that you can check on your site any time, from anywhere. You won't be tied to a particular location to review footage—whether you are out with your family, in a meeting, or even on the other side of the world, you will have the ability to check in on your property.

An active security camera monitoring option gives you more control. Upon detecting a threat, you can instantly intervene by calling the cops, speaking to the intruder directly via two-way speakers, or turning on flashing lights to scare off the criminals.


CCTV monitoring plays a crucial role in active security surveillance by providing continuous video surveillance of a specific area or location. By linking CCTV cameras to a dedicated monitoring center staffed by trained security professionals, any unusual activity or alarms triggered by the CCTV system can be promptly responded to. This enhanced level of monitoring not only acts as a deterrent to potential criminals but also ensures that any suspicious or dangerous activities are quickly identified and addressed. The ability to capture and store details and images of events that occur in the monitored area provides valuable evidence and information, ultimately enhancing security and safety for businesses and communities alike.

The Benefits of CCTV Monitoring Security

  1. Increased deterrence and crime prevention: CCTV monitoring security systems act as a strong deterrent against potential criminals. The presence of visible cameras can discourage trespassing, theft, and other criminal activities. Knowing that their actions are being constantly observed and recorded significantly reduces the likelihood of crimes occurring in the first place. Moreover, with the ability to remotely monitor these cameras, security professionals can alert authorities and intervene in real-time, further deterring criminal behavior.
  2. Quick detection and response: One of the key advantages of CCTV monitoring security is the ability to swiftly detect and respond to any suspicious or dangerous activities. Trained security professionals in the monitoring center can promptly identify any unauthorized entry, suspicious behavior, or safety hazards captured on camera. By monitoring the footage in real-time, they can take immediate action by dispatching security personnel or contacting relevant authorities to minimize any potential threats.
  3. Remote viewing and accessibility: Thanks to advancing technology, CCTV monitoring systems can be accessed remotely via smartphones, tablets, or computers. This means that business owners can have peace of mind by keeping an eye on their premises or property even when they are away. Whether it's monitoring employees, checking on the safety of the location, or simply ensuring the security of valuable assets, remote viewing allows for constant surveillance and instant access to live or recorded footage.


Active surveillance also presents a variety of options. Here are a few to consider: 

  • Mobile surveillance units stand out due to their dynamic nature and real-time monitoring capabilities. They are especially effective in large outdoor spaces such as construction sites and parking lots. 
  • Integrated alarm systems are another option that give you a distinct edge—they detect unusual activity and send you real-time alerts. This ensures that potential threats are addressed without delay. 
  • Two-way communication is a game changer. Cameras that are equipped with speakers and microphones allow you to communicate with people on your site and defuse potential threats or misunderstandings from a safe distance. 

To get the most out of your active surveillance efforts, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Visibility and signage: In retail environments especially, conspicuously placed cameras, along with signage indicating surveillance, can act as deterrents, discouraging shoplifting or malicious activities.
  • Instant alerts: Ensure that your system is set up to send real-time notifications for unusual activity. This will allow you to intervene before incidents escalate or result in significant damage.
  • Proper lighting: Especially for construction sites that may be dimly lit after hours, ensure that surveillance systems are integrated with lighting solutions. Adequate lighting not only deters trespassers but also ensures high-quality video capture.
  • Remote access: Equip key personnel with the ability to access surveillance feeds remotely. This is invaluable for construction site managers who need to monitor multiple areas or for retail managers overseeing several locations.


Now that you know the difference between passive and active security camera monitoring, it's important to understand the difference between remote video surveillance and live video surveillance. While the two can overlap, there are some key differences.

Remote video surveillance refers to the ability to access camera footage from a remote location. This could include reviewing recorded footage from the past week or tapping into a live feed while off-site.

Live video surveillance means visually monitoring your property via real-time camera feeds as events unfold. This allows for active observation and intervention to manage unfolding security situations.

The important distinction here is that remote video surveillance cameras could be passive or active, offering recorded footage for later review or live feeds for real-time monitoring. Live video surveillance is what empowers active monitoring and threat response for maximum control.


At LVT, we take pride in offering security camera systems that empower you to protect your customers and employees. Our mobile surveillance units enable 24/7 live remote video monitoring, and are equipped with game-changing features, like:

  • Real-time alerts
  • Intrusion detection
  • Powerful video analytics
  • Two-way audio 
  • Deterrent lighting

Plus, LVT Units are equipped with backup smart generators to ensure optimal uptime, so you can rest assured that your lot is protected 24/7 regardless of inclement weather or other unexpected issues.

Whether you opt for a passive or active approach, we’ve got what you need to keep your people, property, and assets safe. Ready to take control of your security operations? Contact our team today to learn more. 

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