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Does crime happen less often when cameras are present?

You walk into a hotel in Las Vegas, and you instantly notice that they have security cameras all over the place. Behind the desk. In the lobby. Near the elevators. In the halls. Everywhere you turn, you see cameras watching your every move.

You decide that this must mean the hotel sees a lot of crime and doesn't offer a safe place for you to stay. You switch to another establishment, where you don't see any cameras. You take this as a sign that crime levels remain low and they don't need the cameras, so you feel safer and you book a room.

Have you actually made the right decision?

Deterring crime

Probably not. What you must remember is that cameras help to deter crime, but they can only do so when they are visible to anyone who comes into the building. A hidden camera may record footage that can help in a criminal case, but it does not stop the activity from occurring. A visible camera makes people think twice.

That's why you often see posted signs at gas stations and even in the liquor aisles at the grocery store, telling people that cameras are watching them. In many cases, the cameras themselves stand out obviously on the walls or the ceiling. The owners know that theft happens often, and they know that making it clear that a theft will be recorded actually makes it far less likely. A hidden camera doesn't do that.

Crimes of opportunity

One thing to remember is that crimes of opportunity go down drastically with cameras around. These are crimes people commit when they suddenly see they have a chance they didn't expect, and they act impulsively.

For instance, someone comes into the hotel with no plans to do more than book a room, but they notice that your room door got jammed open as they walk by. Your computer and camera bag are sitting on the bed. They slip inside, grab the bag and take off.

If they see a security camera at the end of the hall, that opportunity no longer exists. It is all based on the fact that they think they can easily get away with it. A camera makes that impossible.

Proper security

So, your choice to switch hotels may mean you just chose the one that does not have proper security in place. Crime rates, especially for crimes of opportunity, could be far higher. This is a serious risk.

After all, high crime rates lead not only to property loss, but to potential violence. If you get injured in a hotel because they did not have adequate security and they did not keep you safe, you must know what legal options you have.

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