Passive vs. Active Security—What’s the Difference?

Learn the difference between two types of security.

September 6, 2023
| ~
min Read
Kailey Boucher
Marketing Writer

If you are looking for security and surveillance solutions, it's important to know the difference between passive security and active security. If you're wondering which of the two is best for your unique needs, this article will help you decide.


Passive monitoring is all about record keeping. In the event of a crime or unwanted intrusion, passive monitoring cameras may record faces, license plate numbers, and other important details. Recording this information will make it easier for you to find and prosecute criminals after a crime has occurred on your site. If you are simply looking for a way to monitor a lot or a retail location, passive monitoring may be a good option for you. 


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

  • Fixed cameras diligently document activities within one specific area. This documentation is specifically useful in scenarios that require evidence or detailed incident reviews. 
  • Motion sensor cameras are designed for efficiency—they only spring to life when movement is detected, ensuring that only essential activity is recorded. 
  • Time-lapse cameras 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 surveillance 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 monitor your property. 

Active security gives you more control. With an active monitoring option, not only will you be able to detect crime and record important information, but you will also be able to deter crime from happening in the first place. In the event of an intrusion, you can react immediately by calling the cops, speaking to the thief or intruder directly via two-way speakers, or playing warning sounds or flashing lights to scare off the criminals.


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.


At LiveView Technologies, we take pride in offering surveillance options that empower business owners to protect their customers and employees. Whether you opt for a passive or active approach to surveillance, we’ve got what you need to keep your people, property, and assets safe. 

With our mobile surveillance units, you can interact with people on your site, activate lights to deter intruders and improve visibility, get real-time alerts about unwanted behavior, and intervene—from a safe distance—before incidents escalate. Plus, LVT Units are equipped with backup 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.

Your business is unique and your security solution should be, too. We take pride in offering custom security options that allow you to detect and deter crime from anywhere in the world. Ready to take control of your security and surveillance? Contact our team today to learn more. 

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