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Do I need CCTV at home

The costs of personal security are now low enough for most families to be able to afford some form of extra protection. As a result, people are starting to question whether or not they should be installing domestic CCTV cameras to deter criminals and maintain a record of the activities taking place around their home.

In London, the Metropolitan Police encourage the use of CCTV, as it helps them to solve certain crimes, particularly if installed at eye-level, so facial recognition can be properly utilized. But, just because you can, does that necessarily mean you should? Let’s dive in.

The Costs

A CCTV solution can cost under R3 000, or as much as tens of thousand, depending on how big you want to go, but the buy-in cost for a lower-end setup is cost-effective enough that the expense shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Cheaper CCTV cameras won’t be able to offer high-definition images and might not include the same feature sets as their more expensive counterparts, but they can be enough to at least deter potential burglars and lower your home insurance premiums. Forking out for a top-tier system, meanwhile, will mean you’re more likely to be able to identify a suspect, at a greater initial cost.

The Safest Option?

Official police advice states that smaller, private households should invest in stronger, motion-sensor lighting and alarm systems before branching out into CCTV. Making sure your locks are secure and you have locks on your windows is always recommended.

However, CCTV offers an extra layer of security and is ideal in areas where crime is common and often goes unsolved. CCTV can also be used to capture and drive away antisocial behavior outside your home, which is always a benefit – particularly if you have children you’re trying to protect.

Going Wireless

The advent of wireless security technology has made it easier than ever before for homeowners to install their own security systems – without requiring professional installation. However, wireless systems will typically use the same frequency band as your wifi to operate, which means the signal can be inconsistent.

More worryingly, if your security system is connected to your home network, it can be hacked into if you don’t have the best firewalls and firmware installed. That being said, the sheer convenience of being able to simply hook the cameras up to your smartphone or TV and data to a hard drive can be hard to resist for homeowners not concerned with the threat of cyber criminals.

A Proven Deterrent

Perhaps the best reason to install CCTV at home is that it’s such a proven deterrent when it comes to pre-planned crime. A burglar, for example, will generally do reconnaissance work before a robbery. If your home is clearly being monitored by CCTV, it’s significantly less likely to be targeted as most burglars would see it as not worth the risk. You could always gamble and use a fake camera, but seasoned criminals are unlikely to be fooled.

The Legal Ramifications

If you are recording footage on CCTV, you have to make it clear that you are doing so otherwise you could be breaching the surveillance camera code of practice and the data protection act. The idea behind these laws is to make sure cameras are being used to protect property, not to spy on neighbours. This means you need to consider the direction you’re pointing your cameras in, and notify your neighbours if it might inadvertently capture them or their property.

Finally, it’s also recommended that you scrub your hard drives of any images or video that might feature innocent bystanders who might not wish to be filmed.

Ultimately, this decision should be carefully considered and undertaken with a decent amount of advice from a professional. If you do decide to take the plunge, modern CCTV cameras can either be installed individually or as part of a wider home security package and generally require very little maintenance. If you really value the safety and security of your family, it’s certainly an investment to consider.

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