CCTV monitoring is everywhere these days. Over the last decade or so CCTV has become a common fixture in practically every shop, office, public building, car parks and public space. They offer security, reassurance and a degree of comfort for the owners of commercial property, because they know if the cameras won’t always deter thieves and vandals, they will be able to identify the culprits should thefts or damage occur. Although we’re blasé when we see these cameras in our towns and cities, and have come to accept, albeit grudgingly in some cases, their ubiquitous presence, surprisingly of us have followed the lead of commercial property owners and installed CCTV in our own homes.
Why has the take-up of CCTV been such a slow-burner? Well, it’s difficult to pin down. Some people believe the costs are too high and the level of protection is unnecessary and over-the-top in a domestic setting. Whilst you can understand these concerns, the available evidence would suggest that such fears and beliefs are unfounded. The costs of CCTV technology have significantly fallen over time: installation costs have reduced and prices have tumbled thanks to greater competition. At the same time the value of the goods, appliances and audio-visual equipment we keep in our homes has increased dramatically. Few people would bat an eye these days at paying out a few thousand for a widescreen smart TV, or shelling out hundreds on the latest smartphone. The irony is, we take precautions and buy mobile phone and home insurance so that we’re protected should our property be stolen or damaged. Yet we rarely think about investing in what many would see as the ultimate protection for guarding our most precious goods – CCTV.
Why should you consider installing a CCTV system, and how much is it likely to set you back?
CCTV is an effective deterrent against intruders and burglars. Many would argue that if every security-conscious home owner invested in a CCTV system then the rate of burglaries would reduce dramatically. Installation costs are now pretty reasonable, and probably far more affordable than you might have imagined. The price of a single wired CCTV camera with a night-vision range of 5 metres is minimal comparatively. Even more sophisticated security surveillance systems with several vandal-proof cameras won’t necessarily break the bank. However, it’s fair to point out that the costs don’t end there. Homeowners will incur additional costs and expenditure to get their systems up and running, and it’s important to bear this in mind when considering the total budget. CCTV owners will need to install additional equipment like connectors and a digital video recorder (DVR) to store and view the camera, although this does depend on the type of camera chosen.
Wired or wireless CCTV: which is preferable for your property?
Wired home CCTV systems are the most commonly used type of camera and, therefore, the cheapest. The connection between the camera and the monitor is achieved using a direct wiring link. The advantage of hardwiring is that signal will generally be consistent, and will only fail if there is a power outage or failure at the property. However, the downside to hardwired cameras, as well as their extension cables and connectors, is that they can be difficult to install, so a technician’s expertise might be required, making the initial outlay expensive.
With a wireless home CCTV system, cameras transmit images to a computer, tablet or mobile phone, using either analogue or digital technology. Many smart security cameras can even link to an app that you can use to monitor your home whilst you’re elsewhere. Digital cameras are generally higher quality and produce better images than their analogue counterparts, but they are consequently that much more expensive.
Wireless systems are not without their faults, however. They can be plagued by interference from devices like routers, cordless phones and microwaves, and can potentially be blocked and have their signal impeded by heavy masonry or metal objects. The ability to record and transmit film is also dependent on signal quality and consistency: so filming might be interrupted if an internet connection is lost. What’s more, wireless home CCTV systems will need to be encrypted, to prevent anyone within range with access to a suitable receiver viewing the homeowner’s images.
8 reasons why you should have a CCTV system at home
If you would like to improve the security of your home, and are not put off by the cost of CCTV, but still aren’t convinced of its value or necessity for your own property, then you might want to consider the following points before you write if off entirely:
1 – CCTV can play a significant role in reducing the rate of crime
Research has shown that having a CCTV camera installed in your home or on your property can impact on burglary rates and effectively reduce the crime rate. The reason for this is relatively simple. Burglars don’t like being caught, and will therefore avoid properties where they might be caught on camera and later identified. Police forces all over the world agree that criminals are always deterred from committing offences if they feel they’re being watched or monitored.
2 – Vandals don’t like CCTV cameras
Vandals are a constant scourge on our society. They damage and deface property, often for no logical reason. They do, it seems, simply because they’re either bored or don’t fear the consequences of their actions. The damage they cause can be very costly for homeowners, because they’ll either have to foot the bill for fixing the damage from their own pocket, or claim on the home insurance, pay an excess and then face higher premiums.
CCTV will not stop vandalism or thefts from property, but it will act as a discouragement and deterrent. If a vandal thinks they can be easily identified from camera footage, they will think twice before committing an offence. It won’t necessarily be much comfort to homeowners as they’ll still probably have to foot the bill for the damage, but at least they know there will be a good chance that the police will be able to identifying the culprits and bring them to justice.
3 – Remotely accessible CCTV can give you peace of mind when you’re out of the home
The majority of burglaries, as you might expect, take place when a home is unoccupied or where the home owner is not in their property. So it should bring some comfort to homeowners to know that even when their property is unoccupied, someone or something will still be keeping an eye on the place. The knowledge that you can also watch what’s going on in and around your home remotely from your smartphone, tablet or laptop should bring even greater comfort and peace of mind. You might be miles away from home or on holiday, but can still watch your home, and if you happen to see any suspicious activity at your home, you can then notify the police and hopefully catch the burglar red handed.
4 – CCTV can help you keep an eye on tradesmen remotely
It is hard to keep an eye on everything happening around your house, that’s particularly the case when you’re out at work or away on holiday. The problem is made worse when you’ve got workmen in the property. How do you know what they’re getting up to when you’re not there? How can you be sure they’re doing the job you’re paying them for and not getting up to any mischief? The answer is CCTV monitoring. Although that might sound a little sinister, like Big Brother is always watching, it pays to be careful. If the workmen or the cleaner are made aware of the fact that the property is monitored by CCTV and can be accessed remotely by you when you’re not at home, then they will treat your home with respect and do their jobs properly and efficiently.
5 – CCTV can help to reduce your home insurance costs
When you buy an insurance policy for your property, the overall security of your property will play a significant role in determining what sort of premium you’ll pay. The greater the level of security you can demonstrate to the insurer; the smaller the premium will be. So if you’ve installed high security locks on all the main entrance and exit points of the property, fixed locks to all openable windows and patio doors and installed a burglar alarm, your premiums will be cheaper. If you then add CCTV as well, then your premiums should reduce even further. Insurance companies will know that your home is monitored at all times of day, and that this will act as deterrent to thieves. They’ll also know that any burglar of vandal will be identified should they threaten the property in any way. This knowledge should, all things being equal, result in a further discount, and therefore an even cheaper insurance premium.
6 – CCTV can help to identify burglars and bring them to justice
There’s probably very little satisfaction to be had if your house has been burgled. You’ll feel violated and upset. Who wouldn’t if some stranger broke into their home, stole valuable property and manhandled their most precious personal possessions? However, there is some comfort to be had from knowing that even if the CCTV camera didn’t prevent the burglary taking place, the footage taken by the camera in your home could help to identify the criminals, and could play some part in bringing them to justice. It is now a generally accepted legal precedent that CCTV camera footage is permissible and can be used in court.
7 – CCTV can help you keep an eye on your children – and pets – at all times
There’s no greater worry for a parent than not being at home when your child is in the home. There may be a nanny with the child or older brothers and sisters or relatives, but that doesn’t diminish the worry. There’s no substitute for being there in person, to keep an eye on things and make sure that everyone and everything is safe and well.
If you can’t be there in person because you’re at work or at the shops, the next best thing is to be there remotely. With CCTV you can watch and monitor your home and children from any location. You can tell when they’ve returned from school, where your child is playing and whether they’re OK and healthy. With this knowledge you should be able to relax a little more freely.
CCTV is also fantastic for keeping an eye on your pets when you can’t be with them. You can monitor what they’re getting up to during the day, check on their behaviour and spot if they are getting distressed for whatever reason. Knowing you can keep an eye on your best friend at all times of day, wherever you are, can really give you peace of mind.
8 – CCTV systems require little maintenance post installation, so the costs are minimal
The real beauty of a CCTV system is that most of the costs are paid upfront. Once the installation is completed, the system itself requires very little maintenance. As long as the camera is robust, and can, if mounted externally, stand up to anything the elements might throw at it, then apart from the occasional clean to keep the lens clean, there is little else that you’ll need to do to keep everything shipshape. The upfront costs might be a relatively expensive outlay, but the low costs of maintenance should recoup some of that outlay.
There are a number of good reasons for installing a CCTV system in your home, some of which have been discussed here. However, the principal reason for installing CCTV is the extra layer of security and peace of mind it can bring. Knowing your home is monitored and watched over every hour, every day, even when you’re not at home, is reassuring, and no-one can ever overestimate the value of peace of mind. It truly is a priceless commodity.