CCTV has been a common fixture in shops, pubs, car parks and other public places for years. Now, thanks to easier installation and falling prices, it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for security-conscious homeowners. It’s not for everyone though as although cameras can be bought on their own, they can be pricey! Cameras can also be bought as part of a whole security package. Costs can range from low to high for a vandal proof camera with a great night vision range. You of course also have to purchase equipment to accompany the camera, depending on which type you choose, such as connectors and a digital video recorder to store and view the footage. You can also buy dummy cameras quite cheaply as deterrents. CCTV is just one line of defence against crime and works best when combined with other measures, such as a burglar alarm, door and window locks, gravel around the property and security lights. Bear in mind that the measure you take have to be legal: there’s no requirement for Home Alone style prank set ups!
Indoor CCTV cameras come in three types:
- Wired: Wired home CCTV systems are the most common and cheapest type of camera, where a wire plugs directly from the camera to the monitor. The downside is that the wires which includes the extension cables and connectors, can be difficult to install. With wireless systems, images can be transmitted using analogue or digital technology to your computer, tablet or mobile smartphone. Many smart security cameras link to an app that you can use to monitor your home while you’re out and about. Digital cameras are generally higher quality but more expensive. Wireless systems can suffer a bit of interference from devices such as routers, cordless phones and microwaves and can be blocked by heavy masonry or metal objects. Your filming may also be interrupted if you lose your internet connection.
- Wireless: Wireless cameras are not recommended inside the home unless the signal can be encrypted as anyone within range and using a suitable receiver would be able to view the images. CCTV image quality is linked to the size of the chip is uses and cameras with tiny chips also tend to be able to pick up less light, and therefore produce lower quality image so make sure you choose a camera with bigger chips for better image quality.
- Powerline networked and these plug into your electrical sockets and transmit images to a storage device.
Companies such as http://www.afass.co.uk can advise on the right systems you should use for your home and if you are choosing to use CCTV cameras outside the home, make sure they are weatherproof – an international protection (IP) rating of six is recommended here. Wireless cameras are available but you’ll still have to run a cable to a power source (make sure you get an EICR report). Position cameras where they cannot be tampered with, but can be accessed for maintenance and cleaning. You can buy vandal-proof cameras but these tend to cost more