When there’s an incident in your parking lot, construction site, or roadway, there is a critical focus on catching who did it. Security teams comb through surveillance footage, share the information with the police, and attempt to catch the bad guys.
There are literally hundreds of hours spent trying to track down the criminal.
But why don’t more organizations spend that time or money on deterrence? What deterrence methods can organizations use to stop crime before it starts?
1. Lighting—Whether on a construction site, in a retail parking lot, or in a public space like a park, simply having more and better lighting deters crime. Some studies indicate that a well-lit area is 60% less likely to have crime than a dark area.
2. Visible surveillance—There are surveillance cameras everywhere you turn—on street corners, on buildings, hidden in trees. We’ve gotten comfortable being recorded in nearly every public area. But the problem with many of these surveillance cameras is they are designed to catch the criminals, not to stop them. They are hidden. Hidden cameras don’t deter anyone, they catch people AFTER a crime has been committed.
A camera hidden at the top of a pole in a dark parking lot will probably help you catch the person who is breaking into cars or robbing people at gunpoint, but it won’t stop the person. A camera hidden in a tree in a city park will probably help you see drug deals after they happen but won’t deter them from happening in that public park next to the swing set. A hidden camera on the side of a building will help you catch the shoplifter but won’t deter him from going inside to begin with.
This is a backward approach. Surveillance should be visible and overt. Deterring crime should be the primary goal, catching criminals should be secondary.
3. Signage and Graphics—Occasionally having signs that indicate the area is under surveillance and that people are being watched is a great way to deter crime.
The purpose of your security and surveillance efforts should be to deter crime AND to catch criminals. But most organizations, instead, focus on just catching criminals after they commit crimes. Deterring crime is far less costly, far less time-consuming, and far less intensive than merely trying to catch criminals.
Using tools like the surveillance options provided by LVT—big cameras on mobile, remote trailers—are proven to deter crime. These are overt, visible surveillance systems that will actively stop crime. And the best part—they can be moved anywhere and deployed in mere minutes.
Remember, the main focus should be to deter crime and not merely try and catch the people who committed it.