What to consider before installing home CCTV

We are all becoming much more security conscious, whether it is security online, protecting our identities or security for our homes. It comes as no surprise then, that it has become more popular for people to install CCTV to help protect their homes. CCTV works not just at capturing a perpetrator’s identity, but it also works as a deterrent. There is no doubt, installing a security system is a good idea, but when it comes down to CCTV there are a few things to think about before you take the plunge and have it installed. So, here are the main points to consider before installing home CCTV:

Data Protection

One of the most important things to bear in mind when it comes to CCTV is to make sure that you are informed of all the legalities. If your CCTV camera only captures images of people within the boundaries of your property, then Data Protection legislation does not apply. If your camera is going to capture images of people who are outside the border of your property (such as encroaching on your neighbour’s property or sees a public or shared area) then you are going to need to make sure that you comply with the GDPR regulations and the Data Protection Act. This includes erecting a sign to say that CCTV is in use. A full explanation of your responsibilities as a “Data Controller” and what from a legal stand point you need to consider before installing a CCTV system is available on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Set your budget

Before you start shopping around for a suitable system, you will need to consider your budget. There is such a diverse range of CCTV systems that will cost anything from just below £100 for a video doorbell to a couple of thousand for a full blown all singing all dancing, maintained CCTV system!  

Wired or Wireless?

Wired and wireless covers both the connection to the electricity for power and the method of storing the images

Wired power – these types of cameras are connected to a physical power supply in your home and have a constant power source.  These are obviously the most reliable unless you have a power cut, as they will not run out of charge, but they can be tricky and costly to install.

Wired storage – these are the most economical option and therefore the most popular. Called wired because a wire connects from the camera to the monitor or storage device. However, this might be false economy as the majority of people want the camera outside, which means installation costs could rocket as you will need armoured cable to safely wire electronics outside.

Wireless Power – these are battery operated units which make use of a rechargeable battery.  Most modern wirelessly powered units will have an app which will tell you when to change the battery.  The advantage of these is that they can be installed pretty much anywhere by anyone but the disadvantage is that you will need to consider having a spare battery ready charged.  In addition the unit will need to be accessible to change the battery, making it possible that it can be tampered with.

Wireless storage– wireless CCTV cameras transmit data via your home internet connection to the storage device(s). Whether that’s a monitor/PC, phone or cloud storage system. These are becoming extremely popular as they are dubbed “Smart” devices i.e. controllable from your Smart phone or home hub. If you are hoping to connect your CCTV system to an existing Smart home hub, make sure the technology is compatible.

Placement of Camera(s)

The majority of break-in’s happen through either the front or back door or a ground floor window. You know your home best, where are the entry points, is there a position you can place a camera that will capture all aspects, or do you need more than one camera? Try to resist placing a camera as high up as you can, whilst this might capture a larger area, you may not be able to get a clear view of someone attempting to break in.

Inside or Out?

If you are placing your camera’s externally make sure they are suitable for use outside. Look for an IP 66 rating.

Additional Features

Resolution – in other words the quality of the recording. Should you need to rely on footage in Court you will need good quality, high resolution footage for it to be admissible. There is a wealth of practical CCTV advice including how to judge image quality in this article from Which.

Motion detection – most modern Smart CCTV systems are motion activated, which means they only start recording when motion is detected.

Night vision – as most burglaries happen after dark, it might make sense to opt for a system that has night vision.

Remote access – Smart CCTV cameras allow you to check footage from any internet connection by logging into an account or accessing an app on your phone.

Data storage – Unless you have a home server, you may want to consider subscribing to cloud based storage. For example the Ring Smart CCTV system has an external flood light camera, when motion is detected, the floodlight comes on and the camera records the action. You get a 30 day free trial of this recording facility with Ring, but after that you will need to purchase one of their packages.  Other suppliers do offer free cloud storage by default.

Consider other people

The main reason people install CCTV in our homes is to boost security. It is important that you ensure that you place your CCTV in a location that is going to minimise intrusion into those around you and their privacy but also give you the optimal security coverage. You may want to speak to your neighbours and let them know that you are planning to have CCTV installed on your property and reassure them it will be used responsibly.

And finally…

A CCTV system is a good deterrent; however, it is not infallible. Wireless systems are reliant on a stable internet connection and wired systems can be easy to tamper with. For additional peace of mind, you might want to consider a compatible home alarm system too.