Guards vs. Security Cameras for Warehouse Security

by | Dec 13, 2023

Guards vs. Cameras for Warehouse Security

Loss of warehouse inventory can be devastatingly expensive. However, when investing your security dollars, you’ll need to make decisions. An important one: Should you hire a team of security guards to patrol your warehouse? Or would your money be better spent on warehouse security camerasBelow, we compare using guards vs. cameras for warehouse security.

Why Warehouse Security Matters

Unfortunately, warehouse crimes are becoming more common.

According to Verisk’s CargoNet 2022 report, the number of cases jumped from 1,502 in 2020 to 1,778 the following year. That’s an 18% increase, with losses estimated at just over $223 million. Given the average value from a single cargo theft event was $214,104, added security will likely save you much more than it will cost.

Need some real-life examples? In 2022, a warehouse manager pled guilty to using his access to the warehouse tracking systems to locate and steal packages. The losses totaled $273,000. Then, in early 2023, a distribution center employee pled guilty to stealing $95,000 worth of wide-screen televisions.

Both crimes came from the inside, showing how complicated warehouse security can be. Not only do you want your guards or cameras to protect your building from break-ins, but you also need to keep a careful eye on employees who might augment their salaries by nabbing high-value items and re-selling them.

It’s not a question of whether your warehouse needs stronger security. It’s a question of which warehouse security option will be most effective.

Warehouse Security Guards vs. Warehouse Camera Surveillance

Let’s define a few terms.

Live video surveillance: You’re probably familiar with basic video cameras that record footage. These passive systems do little to prevent theft. Their primary purpose is to provide helpful footage to law enforcement after a robbery has already taken place. Instead, we’re examining live video surveillance with remote monitoring. This means someone or something (in the case of AI) is always watching the feeds for suspicious behavior.

Security guards: These hired professionals patrol your property on foot. If you have a video surveillance system, onsite guards can also watch the feeds in lieu or in addition to their foot patrols.

Warehouse Security Comparison Chart

Use this chart to compare onsite guards vs. cameras for warehouses. Below, you’ll find an explanation of our methodology and estimates.

  AI-Assisted Video Surveillance Onsite Security Guards
Service Costs Average: $750–$3,200 per month
$100 for the first camera
$50/month for each additional camera
Average: $9,000–$100,000 per month
$25–$50/hour per guard
More for benefits, vehicles, and supplies
Coverage Every inch of your property Depends on the number of guards
Response Speed 10 seconds to intervention
30 seconds to police contact
Depends on a guard’s reaction time and whether the guard is aware of the problem
Management Hands-off
Doesn’t require user input
Time and effort to recruit, hire, train, and manage
Liability Satisfies legal requirements
Provides evidence for claims
Satisfies legal requirements but adds new liabilities
Accuracy AI with human verification
No downtime or false alarms
Possibility for human error
Depends on the number of guards and shift coverage
Deterrence Verbal warnings over 2-way audio
Possibility for additional deterrents
Verbal warnings given in person
Possibility for additional deterrents

Deep Dive: Guards vs. Cameras for Warehouse Security

The chart above outlines everything you need to know, but if you’re not convinced, read more about each factor.


For after-hours patrols, you’ll likely need one guard for every 500 square feet of warehouse space. For a smaller 15,000-square-foot warehouse, that means you’d need to hire about 30 guards.

With an hourly wage of at least $25 per guard, the price tag can add up quickly. At the lowest end, you’re looking at a $9,000 monthly investment, which doesn’t include the costs of uniforms, training, vehicles, or any other supplies. Plus, if you employ your own guard force, you’ll also need to provide employee benefits. At the higher end, you’re spending well over $100,000 a month.

That’s steep.

A live camera monitoring service falls at the other end of the pricing spectrum. Depending on your warehouse size, you’ll probably need somewhere between 16 to 64 cameras to have eyes on every inch of your property. Even at the high end, you’re paying a third of what it would cost for the bare minimum of onsite guards. You might encounter higher upfront costs for hardware, but the break-even point will come quickly.


Even if you hire a crew of guards to patrol your property, they can’t be everywhere at once. Sadly, managers and employees have also been known to leak guard patrol schedules to others who use that information to break into a warehouse undetected. When you rely on onsite guards, your only solution to poor coverage is to hire even more guards.

By installing the correct number of cameras, on the other hand, you can have eyes everywhere at all times. Working with security professionals (like Deep Sentinel) you can determine how many cameras you need and where to place them. High-quality cameras cover a wide field of view seamlessly.

The coverage issue is a good reason to use a warehouse security camera system with motion-activated cameras and AI threat detection. The technology is always ready to watch when there’s trouble, even processing images from multiple camera feeds at the same time. A human guard can’t promise that.

Response Speed

It takes the world’s fastest man (currently Noah Lyles) more than 9 seconds to run just 100 meters (328 feet). Given the typical security officer isn’t as fast as Noah Lyles and generally must cover a much greater distance, you’re likely looking at a minute or longer—just to check out suspicious activity. It may go without saying, but it will take longer if the guard doesn’t initially notice the intruder.

An AI-assisted video surveillance system can give you an almost instant response to suspicious activity at your warehouse. With Deep Sentinel, when an intruder steps onto your property, it takes the guards less than 10 seconds to intervene and less than 30 seconds to contact local police. Because the guards visually confirm the crime and provide real-time details, police prioritize the call over non-specific alarm calls.


With security guards, you’ve got two options. You could outsource guard hiring and management to an outside company. If you choose that option, your personnel-related headaches are limited, but your budget goes up and your quality control goes down. The second option involves hiring your guards. In this case, you must recruit, vet, and train the guards. That’s a big undertaking.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll also have to make crucial decisions: Will your guards carry firearms? How will they restrain individuals?

With video surveillance, your management needs are minimal, especially if you go with a company like Deep Sentinel. Though you can watch camera feeds and respond if you want, the Deep Sentinel guard team is ready to intervene on your behalf. And because the system’s AI filters out harmless activity, you will never have to deal with annoying junk notifications. It’s a hands-off security option for busy managers.


Onsite guards can reduce some of your liability, especially if they deter thieves from stealing goods. That said, they can also introduce additional liabilities and risks of their own. For example, you may find yourself the recipient of a use-of-force lawsuit. If the guard is injured on the job, you might have to pay out worker’s compensation claims.

On the other hand, live video surveillance reduces your onsite liability without adding new ones. Comprehensive security coverage protects you from claims and lawsuits. And, if there is an issue, you also get video evidence to substantiate an insurance claim or aid a police investigation.

With both options, you might enjoy the benefit of lower business insurance premiums.


Security guards are human. Like all humans, they can get bored, exhausted, sick, or distracted. They also can’t be everywhere at once.

Security cameras armed with AI identify potential threats in seconds, without fail, every minute of every day. The technology remains alert at all times—and never needs a coffee break. And you don’t have to worry about repeated false alarms, either.


When deterring criminals, onsite guards and visible video are both effective. However, cameras may have a slight edge because security guards can only cover so much ground. Security cameras—especially cameras equipped with two-way radios that allow remote guards to issue verbal warnings—are much harder to hide from, making them greater deterrents.

With both options, you may be able to implement other deterrents. For example, Deep Sentinel can integrate with haze and pepper spray devices. And onsite patrols have a variety of physical tools at their disposal. You’ll need to weigh the benefits and risks of these high-powered deterrents.

Live Video Monitoring: The Best Security Solution for Warehouses

We’re not here to talk you out of hiring security guards. Onsite guards can make a lot of sense for many warehouses.

That said, the pros and cons are clear. In a head-to-head matchup of guards vs. cameras for warehouse security, live video surveillance wins on every important metric.

Deep Sentinel’s live video surveillance is unrivaled. The system’s proprietary AI works seamlessly with highly trained security guards. You should know: We’re picky about who we hire. Our guards bring extensive experience in physical security, law enforcement, military, customer service, and more. Before they begin their duties, the guards undergo more than 40 hours of specialized training in areas like de-escalation and dispatch communication. Then, they receive ongoing training and evaluation so the entire team stays well-versed in current best practices.

By pairing next-generation technology with the best professionals in the business, you get the comprehensive and effective security protection you need—at a fraction of the price of onsite guards. Give us a call. We’re here to answer all your questions about warehouse security cameras and how Deep Sentinel can protect your business.

Need a Solution that Prevents Crime?
Deep Sentinel is the only security technology that delivers the experience of a personal guard on every customer’s home and business. Visit or call 833-983-6006

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