September Crime Prevention Blog

CCTV by Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride.

cctv The number of CCTV cameras installed at our homes continues to grow apace, and for my September crime prevention blog, I’d like to provide you with some information, which you may find useful when choosing a CCTV system for your property.

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 anti-social behaviour and reduce crime, because offenders don’t want to be caught on camera.

Some of the most common failings with a domestic CCTV system are:

- Incorrect lens size chosen for the particular application, resulting in image sizes of suspects being too small to enable identification and recognition.
- Camera positions are often too high, capturing tops of heads rather than facial features.
- Camera positions are too low; this can result in the camera being easily tampered with.
- Recording equipment (DVR, NVR) in an easily accessible location within the home. Choose a location that can’t be easily found by an intruder.
- Cameras are sited where the image could be affected at night by nearby lighting.

DIY or professional install?

If you are a competent DIY enthusiast then you might want to consider installing a kit. You can buy these from a number of the well-known shopping sites, however, read the various reviews to ensure that the kit will meet your expectations.

They are fairly simple to install, inexpensive to buy and the quality of the images obtained is mostly very good, much better than grainy CCTV images.

The modern kits generally consist of a number of cameras, interconnecting cables and recording equipment. The cameras are often ‘plug and play’, meaning that they will work as soon as they are powered up and 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. There are some kits that connect to WiFi but still need a power supply cable, and others that are simply powered by a battery, meaning no wiring at all!

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 that they intend to fit for you. You should look for a company with the relevant accreditation; they should be a member of the NSI or SSAIB.

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 e-mail, which contains video clips or still images of the incident.

Consider how you will monitor your CCTV, 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. e.g. 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, make sure that your cameras can be seen, this is an added visual deterrent. 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 playback software needed.

 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 and put aside any fears they may have with regard to their privacy.

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

You may also want consider joining Cleveland Connected, to receive advice and information about crime in your area. www.clevelandconnected.co.uk. Anyone with information about crime, can contact Cleveland Police on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.