CCTV - installed by a professional, loved by homeowners and feared by the bad guys! At least, that's the way it should be.
Yet many homeowners opt for a DIY CCTV system, which is good news for the criminals! They know that poorly installed security cameras are less likely to work properly, so they have less chance of being caught...
Professional CCTV installers know how to set-up your cameras so the footage ticks all the right boxes. A professional can ensure the best picture quality at all times - something that comes in handy if you need to identify or prosecute a criminal!
In fact, your DIY cameras could even be illegal! Did you know that there are strict rules about what you CAN and CAN'T capture footage of? If your CCTV happens to be capturing your neighbour's property it comes under the GDPR rules and could be infringing on the Data Protection Act.
Professionally installed CCTV means total peace of mind. A security company will assess your specific requirements to ensure the system falls in line with your lifestyle, or the needs of your business, with features that will make a difference to you.
Some DIY kits out there can offer you similar features. But if they're not properly set up then you might not get the best out of them. Even worse, they could actually be a security risk!
One of the biggest advantages of modern CCTV systems is being able to watch your footage on the go using a smart phone, tablet or laptop.
This means that you can keep an eye on your home, even while you're sunbathing in the Algarve - great! The problem is your system is connected to the internet...
Because home DIY kits are often improperly set up, they're vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Professionally fitted CCTV is less likely to be vulnerable because the security settings, such as default passwords and port numbers, will be changed on installation.
Along with other altered settings, this means you're less likely to be spied on by anonymous internet users or used as part of a mass DDoS attack.
And what about the quality of the footage? Will you be able to get the settings right so your image is actually clear enough to see an intruder? Day or night?
Take a look at the following images of some CCTV footage. Can you tell which was adjusted by a professional?
With a tweak of a few settings, this camera was corrected so that the features of the man walking into the building are crystal clear. The original settings caused motion blur, giving difficult to use footage and in extreme cases, failed prosecution!
That's the value of using a professional CCTV company.
If you think it's easy, think again.
There are so many variables when choosing the correct cameras, just take a look at this CCTV guide from IFSEC Global (WARNING: not for technophobes!). Not understanding them could make your footage almost useless.
Imagine an intruder breaks into your home. They steal your jewellery, a laptop and a tablet - three easily accessible items that are often left lying around. So it's to your great relief that you installed CCTV a year ago!
But when you replay the video, the camera is too high to see the burglar's face. All it captures is a hooded figure walking into your home, only to stumble out again 10 minutes later holding a large, bulging rucksack!
You start to worry, hoping you can get some basic details if you slow down the footage... You opted for Night Vision so maybe you can see the number plate of the car the intruder arrived in. But with no ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), it's impossible to read the registration number through the reflective glare.
You spent good money and a lot of work and time to fit your cameras... but you still can't identify the intruder or their car!
And now the police have asked to see your footage - perhaps they can make out some of the details? You go to the DVR and... oops... it's been a few days and you ran out of memory so the DVR recorded over the relevant footage. The police tell you that they'll do their best to catch this person...
You know deep down that you'll never see your valuables again. It's a horrible story, and it happens too often.
Professionally installed CCTV could give you a lifeline - so you might see those treasured items again and be able to assist a prosecution.
Filtering the cowboys from experts is actually very easy. Industry accreditations from the NSI and SSAIB are a great way to see who has the proper expertise to install your CCTV system correctly. You can easily check on their websites to find your installer.
These industry standard accreditation bodies check their approved companies regularly to ensure the systems they install are up to scratch. If they aren't there, they aren't accredited.
Beat the burglars once and for all!