CCTV and alarms
You can buy CCTV cameras on their own or as part of a security system. Costs vary but start at approximately £20 for a basic camera to hundreds of pounds for more sophisticated systems.
Outdoor cameras need to be weatherproof and positioned high enough so that they can’t be tampered with but at a decent angle to identify any individuals if needed. Remember to accurately time-stamp your CCTV with the correct date and time, just in case it is needed for evidential purposes.
Wireless vs wired:
- Wired systems are the usually cheaper, but can be difficult to install. A wire connects directly from the camera to a recording device such as a PC or standalone digital video recorder (DVR).
- Wireless systems transmit images to a computer, tablet or mobile phone using analogue or digital technology. You can purchase smart security cameras that link to an app on a smartphone or tablet which you can use to monitor your home while you’re out. There are some that even double as a wireless doorbell so you can communicate with genuine callers to your door too.
The image needs to be sufficiently clear for someone to be identified. The image quality is determined by the camera resolution and the light sensitivity (“lux”). Look for CCTV with the greatest resolution and lowest lux within your price range.
Other options to consider are cameras with night vision and motion detection. Night vision cameras are more effective in low light as they record in black and white and make use of infrared illumination. Motion detection sensors automatically turn on when they detect movement, which is useful to reduce the amount of footage you’re storing.
Your CCTV cameras should only cover your property and not public spaces or other people’s houses or gardens. Speak to your neighbours about your plans and the positioning of your cameras. Consider putting up a sign to declare that you have CCTV for your neighbours and potential intruders to see.
Please see additional guidance published by the Government:
Domestic CCTV: using CCTV systems on your property.
Intruder alarms can be used to compliment the physical security measures in your home. They should be used as a deterrent and means of summoning help if physical security is breached. There are many alarm systems on the market ranging from fairly cheap alarms, which you can fit yourself, to more expensive sophisticated systems, which need to be installed by professionals.
If you are thinking about installing a burglar alarm, you should do the following:
- Get at least three quotes and specialist advice from companies that supply alarms.
- Use companies registered with either the National Security Inspectorate (NSI): www.nsi.org.uk or the Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB): www.ssaib.org.
Types of alarms:
When the alarm is triggered, it sounds an internal and/or external alarm to attract attention to the property but do not contact anyone. They rely on the homeowner or neighbours to look for suspicious activity and make contact with the police.
- Dialler alarms
When triggered, these systems automatically dial your phone number, or that of a nominated friend or family member to alert you even when you are not at the property.
- Smart home-security systems
These contact you or a nominated person via a smartphone or tablet when triggered. They allow you to control your smart security from your phone, even when you’re away from home.
- Monitored alarms
These require a monthly/annual contract with a company to take action or call the police if the alarm is triggered.
Wireless vs wired:
- Wireless alarms use battery-powered sensors that communicate with a control panel using radio signals. They are generally more expensive to purchase and you will need batteries for all components. However, you may be able to install them yourself and have the ability to add additional sensors or relocate them when needed.
- Wired alarms need wires running to each of the sensors to work. They are cheaper to buy, but usually require a professional to install them so labour costs are higher.
You should also consider the types of sensors you need – motion sensor, pet friendly motion sensors, door/window magnetic contacts, vibration sensors or glass break sensors.