Advantages & Disadvantages of Video Cameras


The use of video cameras for surveillance purposes is one that often starts debates. People in favor of their use cite greater security and safety as well as lower insurance premiums as some of their main reasons. People against their use often cite invasion of privacy and the actual cost of the equipment versus the results they achieve. Using video cameras for surveillance purposes can increase levels of safety but often at a cost.

Crime Deterrent

  • With the presence of cameras, crime will likely drop. Often criminals and other perpetrators will refrain from committing acts of violence, theft or even vandalism if they fear that their actions will be videotaped. If a crime does take place, the establishment has evidence that they might not normally have without the use of video cameras.

Lower Insurance Premiums and Overall Costs

  • Installing video cameras for surveillance can translate into lower insurance premiums as well as other savings. With reduced incidences of crime, insurance premiums will likely fall. Some companies might even offer a small discount just for having the equipment installed. With the use of video cameras, security teams can concentrate on other job-related tasks as the video cameras will be watching designated, common areas. This can potentially lead to better efficiency and reduced costs.

Start-Up Costs

  • According to the Video Surveillance Guide, the initial start-up costs for video cameras can be more than $500,000. The daily maintenance of the equipment also adds to the costs. Such heavy start-up costs make affordability very difficult, especially in places such as public schools, which are large and operate on limited budgets.


  • Invasion of privacy and loss of civil liberties are two concerns that surround the use of video cameras for surveillance purposes. According to the Video Surveillance Guide, to comply with federal and state statutes, it is recommended to only use video images. Depending on the state laws, it could be an invasion of privacy to record and store audio files. Limitations are also placed on where cameras can be placed. In schools, they are not allowed in private areas such as locker rooms or bathrooms. They are allowed on school grounds and most other common areas of the school. In workplaces they are not allowed in bathrooms or changing rooms.


  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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