Do I need CCTV at home?

Nowadays, with the cost of technology continually dropping in price, it has never been cheaper to install a home closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. Although prominent figures in policing have encouraged homeowners and businesses to install their own system to aid the fight against crime, do you really need it and it is something that every homeowner should consider? We briefly outline the case for and the case against having your own CCTV system in your home.

CCTV means that any images recorded by your security camera cannot be picked up by other transmitters or receivers. A basic CCTV system can be installed relatively cheaply; a starter system can be installed for approximately £50, although it is not uncommon for top-of-the-range CCTV systems to cost as much as several thousand pounds. Modern CCTV cameras will usually allow a homeowner to record the captured footage straight to a DVD, or more commonly to a hard drive, for subsequent storage. Whilst modern CCTV systems are accurate and will record good-quality footage, in order for any recorded footage to be useful, homeowners are advised to pay careful attention to the location of installed CCTV cameras. However, reputable CCTV installation companies have experience of successful installations and will be happy to advise you of the best location for cameras. One thing to bear in mind is that whilst both wired and wireless CCTV systems are now available, if you go for the wireless option then it goes without saying that a quick and reliable internet connection is a must – a dropped internet connection might mean that all of your footage will be lost.

An advantage of having a CCTV camera actually appears to be that it most useful as an effective deterrent, where criminals are more likely to avoid targeting your home, should a CCTV camera be visible. Additionally, some home insurers are said to look favourably upon the installation of a CCTV system, which has the added benefit of reducing your home insurance premiums. However, it has been reported that other security features are said by police to be more important than a CCTV system, including upgrading lighting, having stronger locks, or an advanced alarm system.

Although the most obvious advantage is that any recorded footage can identify the culprit of a crime, should you happen to be the victim of a burglary, it is not commonly known that the installation of a CCTV system has important legal implications. In the worst-case scenario, this can mean that any recorded footage is inadmissible in court. For example, should your CCTV system film the road or pavement, or film a neighbouring property, then you may be at risk of breaching legislation including the Data Protection Act, harassment laws, or even the Human Rights Act. Should you install a CCTV system, you are also required to put up a sign informing individuals that you are recording footage. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that homeowners seek advice to ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation.