How Well Do Deterrents Deter?

Posted by Indigo Hansen on Nov 27, 2018 2:38:23 PM
Indigo Hansen


Let's dive deep into the world of deterrents

It is an age-old method of keeping our belongs, homes, businesses, and families safe. But, does this method actually deter intruders?

The basics

According to our friends at Wikipedia:

Deterrence is a theory from behavioral psychology about preventing or controlling actions or behavior through fear of punishment or retribution.

It boils down to a psychological battle, and each passing day without criminal activity is a victory for security teams.

The question then arises: what works and what doesn't? How do I scare off those teens that get their Friday night thrills by hopping the back fence and hanging out in the parking lot? How can I keep my property safe from overnight vandalism?


You Shall Not Pass


The Old School Method

If you were to ask the average person about security measures, something along the lines of barbed-wire fences, no trespassing signs, security cameras, and bright lights would probably be mentioned. And they aren't far off. These old fashioned ideas around deterrence still warrant some merit, but new research in behavioral science has proven more effective means.

Gated Fence


Nonetheless, the classic approach to security has inherent value. Security cameras are still critical for surveillance and you'll see a handful of no trespassing signs on every construction site. However, we've learned that barbed wire fences and no trespassing signs can actually indicate an absence of personal control over an area, in the same way that the broken windows theory addresses the snowball effect of disorderly conduct.


Broken Window Effect


The New School of Thought

The term "new" is relative in this instance. In the 60s and 70s, new studies showed that environmental design centered around basic human behavior had a big impact on crime prevention.

Simple concepts could weld massive impact on crime in an area. For instance, rather than building large outdoor parks in a neighborhood, creating smaller, communal courtyards encourages residents to identify and approach an unfamiliar guest. Other small (but mighty) deterrents can be manicured landscaping, well-light areas around the perimeter of a property, and even architecture makes a difference. All of these elements show the area is properly maintained and controlled.

Intruders will always pick the path of least resistance. Whether you're a bored teenager looking to impress your friends or a gentleman criminal, the plan of attack is based on a cost-benefit analysis.

If the risk of being caught is too high, they will either find another path or move on to a new opportunity. An intruder can easily be put off by a high walls, motion-activated lights and CCTV cameras. From the perspective of the intruder, a poorly-lit and unmaintained building looks like a much sweeter (and easier) deal than the brightly-lit, well-manicured, restricted-access office space next door.

It's a matter of finding the right balance between psychological and physical barriers. Deterrents are further supported with detection, observation, and reporting.


Detect, deter, observe, report


Need to manage exterior security and deterrents? We got you.



What does all of this mean for my business?

Long story short, there is no perfect, universal answer for deterring crime. However, with the right recipe of physical and psychological barriers, you can mitigate the risk of crime significantly.

Smart technology is making that recipe easier than ever. According to the World Economic Forum, cities are investing heavily in "agile security": data-driven strategies for tracking, predicting, and responding to events at lightning-speed.

Building automation alongside AI-powered tools (smart cameras, video analytics, and robotics) offer users the all-in-one package: the ability to create deterrents and barriers to entry, smart surveillance and observation of vast areas, and rapid responses to events.

These technologies are not only for enterprise-level security, companies are bringing these tools to the mainstream consumer and SMB market at affordable prices. Rather than building a ten foot wall surrounding your house or office, consider these solutions:

  • Motion-activated lights around the perimeter
  • CCTV smart cameras covering vast areas and the nooks and crannies of your building
  • Simple, manicured landscaping and facades
  • Crowd-sourced crime watches (Citizen, LiveSafe, and Ring Neighborhood)
  • Implementing access control to restricted areas
  • Build a security culture amongst your team


The Wrap-up: deterrence doesn't have to cost a fortune

Thanks to technological advancements and supporting research studies, we can make our security systems work smarter, not harder. Automation and AI provides the foundation for revolutionary security to be accessible to companies and homeowners of all kinds.


Nothing says "Crime isn't welcome here" like smart cameras and patrol robots.




Topics: Deter, Deterrence, Automation, Small Business, Affordable Security, Smart Security