The blog

Roger Hunt is an award winning writer and blogger specialising in sustainability, old houses, housebuilding and traditional and modern building materials. He is the co-author of Old House Handbook and the companion volume Old House Eco Handbook.

Choosing CCTV security

Choosing CCTV security

So what do you need to know about installing CCTV to guard your home? Until recently it wasn’t something I’d though much about but, after a relative was subjected to a number of doorstep cons and various other crimes had been committed locally, a CCTV installation was suggested by the police. These systems not only act as a deterrent but provide hard evidence should it be needed.

CCTV (closed circuit television) has come a long way in recent years. The cameras are better, the pictures are not bad and the ability to monitor and record them is reasonably sophisticated, although you obviously get what you pay for.

One thing to be clear about at the outset is that the average criminal is knowledgeable about these systems. They know a dummy camera when they see one, they know the cameras that don’t provide great pictures and they know if a system is up to scratch; so there’s no point being half hearted about the installation.

The system

There are three key components to a CCTV system: the camera, the monitor and the hard drive that records the images. The camera can be remote from the hard drive and it’s best to site this recorder well away from the front door so that thieves or conmen won’t easily be able to remove it – and the recorded evidence – if they do get into the property. The monitor – basically a computer screen – is used to see what the camera is seeing and to view the images recorded on the hard drive. Cameras range hugely in the quality of picture they offer, the range they operate at and how well they perform at night. Most switch to black and white mode when it’s dark. Increasingly, systems allow remote monitoring of the pictures via an app on your phone or computer which is useful if you want to keep an eye on your property while you’re away.

Siting the camera

Importantly the camera, or cameras, must capture the faces of the criminals, so there’s no point pointing them at the front door where they will only see the back of heads. Much better to aim them down the path so you catch faces as they glance up towards the door. Where possible it’s worth having the camera high up to avoid it being tampered with but there’s a trade-off here because, if it’s too high, you will only see the top of people’s heads. In any case, it should be vandal resistant. Another consideration is extraneous lighting: it’s important to avoid having a light in vision that may flare or one that will backlight the subject so faces go dark. The other thing to remember is that the camera must not point into your neighbour’s property. There are also aesthetic consideration, especially with older buildings, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the camera needs to be visible if it’s to deter trouble. On this point, it’s important to ensure a notice is displayed – possibly in a window or on the front door – saying that CCTV is in operation.

Which system

The range of systems is immense. The cheapest option is a DIY system, some of which are quite respectable but obviously rely on your ability to install them successfully. Professional installers vary greatly in what they offer, both in terms of quality of system and professionalism, so care needs to be taken before inviting them into your home. If you already have an intruder alarm you may find that your alarm company installs CCTV. Beware though, some sign you up for a long term contract with a monthly maintenance fee.

Image: CCTV cameras provide added security. Credit: Roger Hunt

 

One Response to Choosing CCTV security

  1. Thanks for sharing such nice article.
    There are numerous types of surveillance cameras in the market today. In reality, sleeker and even more effective versions are presented to the market practically every month.

SPAB Working Party

For the last 25 years conservation experts and volunteer heritage enthusiasts have come together to join the annual Working Party run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). I went along to join them and created a video about the Working Party at Sullington Manor Farm near Storrington, West Sussex. They were working…

Listed building allure

Listed building allure

Every year, many of the estimated 450,000 listed buildings in the UK change hands on the property market. In England and Wales these properties are designated Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II having being deemed to be of historical, cultural or architectural interest. All buildings built before 1700

Environmental Pocketbook

Environmental Pocketbook

If you’re going to invest in just one book on sustainable, low carbon building I’d strongly suggest that you make it The Environmental Design Pocketbook. Now in its second edition, this useful volume by Sofie Pelsmakers should be essential reading for architects, designers, developers, planners, students, clients and anyone else involved in the construction and operation of buildings….

Fire in old buildings

Fire in old buildings

The devastating fire at the Grade I listed, 18th century National Trust mansion at Clandon Park, Surrey, once again highlights the need to do everything we can to protect old buildings. Whatever the size of the building, there are simple measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of fire, ensure early warning of a…

Adapting old buildings

Adapting old buildings

The need for fresh air and light in buildings is something I’m often talking and writing about because it’s central to creating a good home, but the theme is nothing new. I was reminded of this when I recently visited the King Edward VII Estate, near Midhurst, West Sussex. Here, the former sanatorium is being…

Building lime knowledge

Building lime knowledge

Lime, in the form of mortars, renders, plasters and paints, is a key component of old buildings and essential to their repair – or at least it should be. Today lime-based materials are also emerging into the mainstream and being used within low carbon construction systems, employed in everything from homes to superstores. All this…

Drain problems

Drain problems

A blocked drain is not a pleasant thing to wake up to. What’s worse is the realisation that it’s something that can generally be avoided by doing what I’m always talking about: maintenance. The drainage system is easily forgotten because much of it is hidden away underground but, as with any element of a building, it…

Building remembrance

Building remembrance

Visiting Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the poppy installation at the Tower of London, reminded me that the built environment frequently plays an important part in both remembrance and memory. Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies that flood the moat of the Tower depicts a death in the British forces in the First…

Materials testing

Materials testing

New techniques and materials aimed at producing low carbon solutions mean this is an exciting time to be involved with new build and retrofit. There are dangers though, in the rush to innovate there may be failures along the way so it’s vital that there’s scrupulously testing and monitoring at all stages. This is why…

Hidden London

Hidden London

Impending development often means there is a chance to step back in time because archaeological investigation may be undertaken as part of the work. This is especially true in London where layers of history have been laid down by successive generations as the city has evolved. Visiting Barratt London’s Landmark Place site close to the…

SPAB Working Party

For the last 25 years conservation experts and volunteer heritage enthusiasts have come together to join the annual Working Party run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). I went along to join them and created a video about the Working Party at Sullington Manor Farm near Storrington, West Sussex. They were working…

Listed building allure

Listed building allure

Every year, many of the estimated 450,000 listed buildings in the UK change hands on the property market. In England and Wales these properties are designated Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II having being deemed to be of historical, cultural or architectural interest. All buildings built before 1700 Tweet

Environmental Pocketbook

Environmental Pocketbook

If you’re going to invest in just one book on sustainable, low carbon building I’d strongly suggest that you make it The Environmental Design Pocketbook. Now in its second edition, this useful volume by Sofie Pelsmakers should be essential reading for architects, designers, developers, planners, students, clients and anyone else involved in the construction and operation of buildings….

Fire in old buildings

Fire in old buildings

The devastating fire at the Grade I listed, 18th century National Trust mansion at Clandon Park, Surrey, once again highlights the need to do everything we can to protect old buildings. Whatever the size of the building, there are simple measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of fire, ensure early warning of a…

Adapting old buildings

Adapting old buildings

The need for fresh air and light in buildings is something I’m often talking and writing about because it’s central to creating a good home, but the theme is nothing new. I was reminded of this when I recently visited the King Edward VII Estate, near Midhurst, West Sussex. Here, the former sanatorium is being…

Building lime knowledge

Building lime knowledge

Lime, in the form of mortars, renders, plasters and paints, is a key component of old buildings and essential to their repair – or at least it should be. Today lime-based materials are also emerging into the mainstream and being used within low carbon construction systems, employed in everything from homes to superstores. All this…

Drain problems

Drain problems

A blocked drain is not a pleasant thing to wake up to. What’s worse is the realisation that it’s something that can generally be avoided by doing what I’m always talking about: maintenance. The drainage system is easily forgotten because much of it is hidden away underground but, as with any element of a building, it…

Building remembrance

Building remembrance

Visiting Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the poppy installation at the Tower of London, reminded me that the built environment frequently plays an important part in both remembrance and memory. Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies that flood the moat of the Tower depicts a death in the British forces in the First…

Renovation tale – Part 1

Renovation tale – Part 1

This is the tale of my first major renovation project some years ago… On the table is the surveyor’s report; yellow Post-it notes stick from its pages in such profusion that they no longer have any relevance. Phrases like “needs attention”, “must be thoroughly overhauled” and “a fair amount of dampness” are highlighted by marker… Continue Reading