CCTV - installed by a professional, loved by a homeowner 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 criminals! They know that poorly installed security cameras are less likely to work properly, and so they have less chance of being caught...
In fact, your DIY cameras could even be illegal! Did you know that there are rules about what you CAN and CAN'T capture footage of - e.g. if your CCTV happens to be capturing your neighbour's property, you could be infringing on the Data Protection Act.
Professional CCTV installers know how to set-up your cameras so the recorded footage ticks all the right boxes. But it's not just the legality of your footage either, a professional can also ensure you have the best picture quality - something that comes in handy if you need to prosecute a burglar!
More Reasons To Hire A Professional Installer
Professionally installed CCTV means 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.
While the DIY kits out there can be decent quality and offer you similar features, if they're not properly set up then you might not get the best out of them - and they could even be a security risk.
For example, 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 that 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 as vulnerable because the security settings, such as default passwords and port numbers, will be changed on installation.
Along with other altered settings (like not using the manufacturer's server), this means you're less likely to be spied on by anonymous internet users or used as part of a mass DDoS attack.
So 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?
For example, take a look at the following before and after images of some CCTV footage. Can you tell which was adjusted by a professional?
With a tweak of a few settings, the blurred image was corrected so that the features of the man walking into the building are clear rather than blurred. The original default settings mean motion blur, difficult to use footage and in extreme cases, failed prosecution!
Such is the difference of using a professional CCTV company.
Setting Up CCTV Is Easy, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
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!), and not understanding them could make your footage almost useless.
Imagine an intruder breaks into your home late on a Friday night - they know you're out because your car is never on the driveway at this time... or they saw you post about your 'night out on the town' on social media!
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 and you know that the thief walked right past the cameras.
But when you replay the video, the camera is too high to see the burglar's face, and all it captures is an image of a hooded figure walking into your home, only to stumble out again 10 minutes later holding a large, bulging rucksack and your favourite bottle of red.
You start to worry, hopefully 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're panicking now, you can't identify the intruder or their car.
But the police have arrived and 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, but you know deep down that you'll never see your valuables again.
A horrible story that happens too often.
Professionally installed CCTV could give you a lifeline - so you might see those treasured items again. Especially if your cameras were linked to a monitored alarm system.
How Do I Ensure Professional CCTV Installation?
Filtering the cowboys from experts is actually very easy. The NSI and SSAIB accreditations are a great way to see if the company that you're considering has got the expertise to install your CCTV system correctly.
These industry standard accreditation bodies check their approved companies regularly to ensure the systems they install are up to scratch. You can easily check on their websites to find your installer. If they aren't there, they aren't accredited.
Beat the burglars once and for all!!!