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What are the downsides to CCTV cameras at home?

Your home is your safe haven. It’s a place where you can let your guard down and just be at ease with your family and close ones.

The thought of something bad happening to it is extremely worrying. It makes you do all that is in your power to protect it from harm’s way.

If you could, you would personally guard every nook and cranny of your home, but let’s be real, that’s not very plausible or possible. However, thanks to technology, and basic home security measures, you can achieve all of that and more.

CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras are one of the most effective components of home security systems that you can install in your home to keep it safe and protected.

Previously seen only in commercial properties and the wealthiest of neighbourhoods, CCTV cameras are becoming more common with homeowners realising their benefits in maximising their security.

According to Surveillance Camera Statistics, the UK has itself surrounded by CCTV cameras, with London being the third most surveilled city in the world.

With so many people using CCTV cameras for home security, have you ever wondered if there are any downsides to them?

Read on to find out what makes them so effective, how they work, why are burglars so put off by the mere sight of them, their advantages, and the negatives associated with installing CCTV cameras at home, along with how to overcome them.

WHAT ARE CCTV CAMERAS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

CCTVs are used to provide you with an extra pair (or more) of eyes to monitor your property. They use cameras, recorders, and monitors that transmit video through a closed circuit to provide immediate access to security footage.

The systems allow you to view the footage as a live stream and also save it to a digital video recorder (DVR) where it can be viewed later.

There are various types of CCTV cameras to choose from. They are generally small and unobtrusive and can be placed both inside and outside your home.

You need to choose the right type of CCTV camera for your home since that, coupled with how effectively you use the system, is a huge determining factor in the advantages and disadvantages that it provides.

The most popular types of CCTV cameras for homes include:

  • Bullet CCTV cameras
  • Dome CCTV cameras
  • C-Mount CCTV cameras
  • PTZ Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras
  • Day/Night CCTV cameras
  • Infrared/night vision CCTV cameras
  • Network/IP CCTV cameras
  • Wireless CCTV cameras
  • High Definition (HD) CCTV cameras

BENEFITS OF HOME CCTV CAMERAS

The top benefits of installing CCTV cameras in your home include:

Crime deterrence

The thought of being caught on camera red-handed makes burglars think twice, maybe even thrice, before targeting a home under CCTV surveillance.

CCTV cameras act as one of the biggest deterrents for burglars with former professional criminals saying that they would prefer to not target properties with a CCTV system in place. If criminals themselves are saying that, then it must be true.

However, be wary of installing dummy cameras to keep burglars off of your property since most of them can easily tell a real camera apart from a fake one in a minute.

Evidence gathering

If the worst comes to the worst and a burglar, intruder, or vandal does get access to your property, you can count on your CCTV cameras to record all evidence of the break-in, along with the identity of the perpetrator.

The footage captured by the CCTV cameras makes catching the criminals much easier and can also be used as evidence in the court of law.

Law enforcement agencies encourage the use of CCTV cameras in all kinds of residential and commercial properties since it not just reduces crime but also makes their job easier.

Remote monitoring

You can’t be in two places at once, but with CCTV cameras you virtually can be! The systems come with a remote monitoring feature that allows you to view what’s happening in your home from absolutely anywhere in the world.

This can come in handy when you’re away from home such as at work, at the supermarket, or on a vacation. It takes away a lot of the stress and worry about what’s happening back home and if everything is okay.

If you have family members, kids, or pets that you’d like to keep an eye on while you’re away, you can use remote monitoring to watch live footage on your smart device, provided you have a good internet connection, and also receive notifications of any sort of activity.

Reduced insurance premiums

Installing CCTV cameras is one of the best security measures you can take to secure your home since it greatly reduces the chances of your property being broken into, burgled, or vandalised.

This, in turn, reduces the chances of you making a claim which is what your insurance provider wants, and which is why they encourage the idea and offer deductions in home insurance premiums for people having CCTV cameras in place.

Insurance companies just want to be sure that you have done all that you are required to do to make your home secure and deter all such criminal activities.

NEGATIVES OF HOME CCTV CAMERAS

CCTV cameras are largely beneficial to homeowners and their security. There are a few negatives associated with using them in homes but there are easy ways to overcome them and reap their full benefits.

Privacy issue

CCTV cameras are lawful to use and you are permitted to record the footage, however, there are certain laws that you must abide by to respect others’ privacy.

There are certain places where you must not install security cameras, such as the bathroom and bedroom. Even for other places inside the house, you must mention it to family members and friends visiting if they are being recorded since they might not be very comfortable with the idea.

When using outdoor security cameras to monitor the front and backyard, extra care must be taken to place the cameras in a way that they record only till the boundary of your house and do not intrude on your neighbour’s privacy.

Read these home CCTV legal requirements to understand what you can and cannot do and how you should install CCTV cameras outside your home.

Hacking

Is hacking as easy as they show in the movies? For them, it’s just a matter of typing aggressively on their keyboards for a few seconds to easily bypass all the firewalls and encrypted files and have control of everything.

Well, they’re called movies (and fiction) for a reason. It might not be that easy, but it’s also not impossible, especially if the preventive security measures aren’t taken.

As is with everything digital these days, CCTV cameras are also at risk of being hacked and used to spy on you. Someone with access to the system will have access to the entire footage along with the controls to disable and enable it.

Just as you take measures to secure your data online, you must also ensure to keep your CCTV cameras safe from the wrong hands too. This can be done by regularly updating your router password and choosing cameras with advanced encryption.

Physical vulnerability

CCTVs are vulnerable to being stolen, damaged, disarmed, and tampered with. They also have blind spots that can easily be used by a burglar to their advantage.

This is especially the case with the ones placed outside your home since access to them is much easier than to the ones placed inside. Toying with the systems is a rather easy feat for a clever and tech-savvy criminal, however, you can one-up them by taking all the necessary steps to foil any of their attempts.

To cover blind spots, you can use a PTZ camera that comes with a 360-degree view of your surroundings. This way, you can keep an eye on all areas of your property, leaving no blind spots for criminals to benefit from.

To prevent physical attacks, place the camera at a height where they can’t easily reach it. If they have to use reinforcements to damage or steal the camera, chances are that they might not do it for the fear of getting caught. Investing in tamper detection can also help in keeping your cameras safe from such attempts.

Can’t stop crime

CCTV cameras prevent burglaries and deter criminals from targeting a property from the fear of getting caught later. But what happens when they break into a property despite the presence of cameras? Nothing. The systems can’t stop the crime when it’s in progress.

CCTV systems do not alert the police or other law enforcement agencies to take action, making them kind of useless in trying to stop a burglary.

There are countless times when you can’t respond to the notifications sent to your phone via the CCTV system. You might not have internet access, you might be travelling, sleeping, or your phone might be on silent or vibrate.

However, there is a solution to this – professional CCTV monitoring.

CCTV monitoring ensures that your home is being watched over by professional monitoring staff when it is unoccupied or most vulnerable, such as when you’re asleep. Immediate action is taken, such as notifying the police and nominated keyholders, as soon as a break-in is detected.

Integrating your CCTV system with a home security system such as a burglar alarm can help maximise protection against intrusions and burglaries since the burglar alarm will make a noise to alert everyone around of the break-in, also potentially scaring away the intruders, while the CCTV cameras will record them in the act.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT CCTV FOR YOUR HOME

To reap the full benefits, and to avoid the downsides to a CCTV system, you need to ensure that you have the right camera to fulfil your needs while also staying compliant with the law.

You must learn as much as you can about the product you plan on buying and do the proper research beforehand. Certain features make up a good CCTV camera and choosing which ones you need depend on your usage of the system.

Here are a few important things to consider when choosing a CCTV camera for your home:

Video quality

The quality of the video your CCTV camera captures is one of the most important factors to consider. It’s like choosing the right kind of camera and lenses for professional photography. You wouldn’t want blurred and hazy pictures ruining the quality of your work.

The higher the video quality of a CCTV system, the better, clearer, and crisper the footage will be. If you wish to be able to see all the details, such as the faces of people around your property, and not just look at blobs, the minimum you must go for is a 1080p resolution.

Night vision

The security and protection of your home are not just limited to daytime. At night, it becomes even riskier because of the dark since it gives intruders better coverage.

CCTV cameras with night vision, also referred to as infrared or IR, enable clear footage being captured despite the low-light conditions, even if there are no external lighting fixtures to help the camera see better. It is especially useful for outdoor cameras placed on the front and back of the house.

Power supply

A CCTV camera is an electronic device that needs power to operate which can be supplied either through wires or by using a battery. In either case, an uninterrupted power supply is necessary for the system to work without fail.

To ensure that the CCTV is always operational, you must use a backup battery if the system is receiving power through the main supply. That way, even in the event of a power outage, the system can receive power to do its job. Be mindful of always changing or replacing your batteries when they reach their full capacity.

Storage

The footage captured by the CCTV cameras needs to be stored somewhere. There are different storage locations, such as the cloud, an external SD card, or a USB drive, where you can save all your files to be viewed later.

You must be careful about choosing the right type and an adequate amount of storage space for your system. The type of storage you choose depends on your usage. The higher the quality of the video, the larger the size of the file to be stored. If there isn’t enough space on your storage device, the system either overwrites the existing files or is unable to save the recorded footage at all.

Field of view

The field of view of the camera is basically how wide of an area you wish for the CCTV camera to cover. Typically, the field of view ranges from a 100-degrees to about 180-degrees. As a bottom-line, the wider the area of protection, the better.

Some cameras can be manually positioned in a way to cover the certain angles you wish to cover, while other more advanced options include the PTZ camera that can be digitally controlled via an app to pan, tilt and zoom according to your needs.

Camera placement

It all comes down to where you install your CCTV camera and how you position it. To get the most out of your system, it is necessary for the instalment and positioning to be done perfectly.

To find out the areas around your house that can be break-in points, it is always best to run a risk assessment of the main entry and exit points. You must make sure that vulnerable areas are all under CCTV surveillance and that the fields of view are all set to cover the maximum area.

Also, make sure they are placed high up and as far away as possible, without sacrificing the video quality, to minimise the risk of them being damaged, stolen, or tampered with. Install the cameras in a way that if intruders try to disable them, they are recorded while doing it.

ARE CCTV CAMERAS EFFECTIVE FOR HOME SECURITY?

Now that we’ve been through all the benefits that CCTV cameras offer, along with all the downsides, are they an effective choice for home security?

Yes, CCTV cameras offer great protection to homeowners, considered that they choose the best type for their security needs and are aware of all the great features that come with them.

They work as both a deterrent and a recovery tool with burglars staying as far away as possible from homes under CCTV surveillance. From break-ins to property damage and vandalism, CCTV cameras capture all kinds of crimes and provide valuable evidence to catch the perpetrators and remedy the situation.

However, CCTV cameras work best when integrated with a home security system such as a burglar alarm. The alarm not just deters and scares away potential intruders, but also alerts the homeowners, neighbours, and passers-by of the intrusion.

Coupled with professional monitoring services, CCTV cameras and burglar alarms pack quite a punch in keeping your home protected.

Contact Calder Security for state-of-the-art home security solutions!

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

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