September Crime Prevention Blog on CCTV

by Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer, Gerry McBride.



For my second crime prevention blog, I’m going to focus on (pardon the pun) CCTV.

There is no doubt that when CCTV is installed correctly, and used for the right purpose, it can be an effective deterrent. It can discourage antisocial behaviour and reduce crime because offenders don’t want to be caught on camera.

One of the most common failings in a CCTV system is having image sizes of suspects that are too small to enable identification and recognition; another is that the camera positions are too high, capturing tops of heads rather than facial features.

The information that follows has been put together to help you choose a CCTV system for your home.

DIY or professional install?

If you are a competent DIY enthusiast then you might want to consider a kit. They are fairly simple to install and many are inexpensive to buy. The modern kits generally consist of a number of cameras, interconnecting cables and recording equipment.

The cameras are generally ‘plug and play’, meaning that they will work as soon as they are powered up, and are connected to the recording device. Many of these kits can be connected to the internet, to allow you to view the cameras from anywhere in the world.

When I was on holiday back in July, which seems like a lifetime away now, it was reassuring for me and my family to be able to view our home CCTV system from the other side of the Atlantic.

If you go for the professional install then you should discuss with your installer the areas of coverage and features that the system brings, you may even be provided with a demonstration of the equipment.

Many of these systems allow alarms to be generated if a picture is lost, or movement occurs in a pre-defined area of view. The alarm might be audible or via an email, containing video clips or still images of the incident.

Consider how you will monitor your CCTV. This could be through a dedicated monitor, through your TV, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or a combination of these.

What do you want to see?

This consideration should include exactly what you want to see and where, for example, your rear garden, your front door, your driveway at the side of your house etc.

The smaller the lens size the wider the angle of view.

Where should I install my cameras?

As well as choosing the best location for the cameras, it is also important to consider the lens size, angle of view and lighting conditions. Additional lighting may need to be installed to achieve good quality images.

Cameras should be fitted within robust tamper resistant housings, and connecting cabling should be out of easy reach.

How long should I retain the images?

A minimum of seven days should be your starting point. Recordings taken from the system should include any software needed to view or replay the pictures, to allow playback to be made.

 And finally…

If your home is rented, you will need permission from your landlord. Discuss the install with your neighbours too, it’s best to keep them onside with your plans.

CCTV systems should be operated in a responsible way to respect the privacy of others. Ensure that your CCTV cameras don’t view into adjoining properties, gardens or areas outside of your property. Read the information in this link for more detailed information on the requirements for CCTV in domestic properties… https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property