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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • Jan 26, 2021

Security Cameras vs Security Staff

There will always be debatable questions:  “Coke” vs “Pepsi” or “Team Jacob vs Team Edward” or  “Senators or Maple Leaf’s”, but for condominium security systems one could be “Cameras vs Security Guards & Concierges”…  

So which one is better? 

It is a simple question that defies a simple answer.  Why?  Because at the end of the day, both of them (when used together) compliment each other and make the condominium more secure.  One issue that we continually emphasize is system integration/harmony.  A well-designed security system has components that works in conjunction with each other, and sperate security systems do not act independently.   As a simple example of this, security audits have been completed where the condominium’s fobs system timing is not synced with the cameras system (daily savings) time stamp.   Without these systems acting together, how can a condominium reliably match an entry record to a screenshot of who entered the building?

Contrary to popular belief, Security Cameras are not the end-all answer to all a condominium’s security woes, and neither is Security Staff.  What is important is that the condominium, as much as allowed by physical limitations and budget, implement a proper Physical Protection System or PPS.  A PPS is a comprehensive collection of components (in the case of most condominiums:  Lighting, Perimeter Protection, Access Control, Security Staff, etc.) with the designed purpose of effecting deterrence or a combination of detection, delay and response.   In the event that deterrence is not achieved, the total time for the detection and response must be less than the time remaining for the intruder to complete his/her goal (delay). 

It seems to be a simple truth that cameras are not seen as an effective security deterrent by would-be intruders.  In the current environment, this is doubly true as everyone is wearing masks which, when combined with winter clothing, makes identification very problematic.  In most cases, all a condominium is left with is a movie of the person breaking into the building.

A security guard seems to be a more reliable deterrent, within the limits of his/her training, post orders and location.  A security guard in high-visibility clothing standing by a condominium entrance will deter more would-be intruders than a camera mounted in the same location.  However, if the security guard is in the front entrance, they are not watching the back area…. and if they are posted in the back area, then they are not watching the garage entrance…. etc.  

When a professional concierge / security guard (one who understand her/his post orders and is confident in their ability to respond to emergencies) is paired with an effective system of cameras, that is when the condominium achieves proper balance in their PPS.  This would mean that the guards are monitoring the cameras in real time and have the ability to respond if they see anything unusual (such as someone following a vehicle into the garage or tailgating into the lobby).   This real-time monitoring will cut the assessment / reaction time down from a system that relies on remote (or no monitoring) so that the incident may be contained before the intruder achieves their purpose. 

As you can see, there is no clear answer if security cameras are better than guards.  A potential answer is that, when used together they achieve the true purpose of a Physical Protection System:  To protect the condominium residents and their property!