Home Video Surveillance – Where do I place my cameras?
So, you’ve decided to opt for video surveillance cameras to ensure your safety and you need to know where best to install them? In this guide, I will detail the most efficient way to install your security cameras.
Determine precisely your security needs and which areas of your home you need to monitor. It would be unnecessary and costly to set up a system of surveillance that monitors every square inch of your home. Here are some examples of places you might want to watch out for:
• An entrance or exit door
• Windows that open directly onto the street
• A living room
• A driveway
• A porch
• A staircase
Buy the equipment that suits your needs. You can buy each item separately or get a monitoring system ready to be installed. Consider carefully whether you’d like a wired or wireless system.
Wireless or Wired?
Wireless cameras are easy to install because you do not have to drill the walls or pull cables in your home. However, the quality of the images they provide decreases as the distance between the camera and the receiving device increases. If your system needs to control a large area, choose a wired device.
In order to ensure perfect and optimal protection of your home, care must be taken to place your surveillance cameras in strategic positions so as not to leave a blind spot. The installation of a camera can be done by a professional installer but it is also possible to install your own cameras by following some simple but effective advice.
The most important rooms of a property differ according to the location of your valuable possessions. Rooms containing such objects must be covered by one or more surveillance cameras. It is also necessary to consider installing cameras in the passages required to enter these rooms.
Surveillance but not too obvious
Unlike external cameras which also act as a crime deterrent, interior cameras are purely used to monitor your property and any intruders. It is therefore essential that they are not too obvious and that they merge into their surroundings. Choosing a camera colour that does not contrast too much against the colour of your walls is also a good choice.
The best places to install security cameras
To choose suitable locations ask yourself what are the areas of your home which require special vigilance. The front door, the back door and ground floor windows are the most common entry places for criminals. Placing a camera at the front door can double up as a digital peephole so as you can identify callers.
Specific areas: record sensitive areas where there is a lot of activity. Make sure that this main area of activity is in the centre of the camera’s field of view.
As a rule, your camera will record clearer images of intruders if it is mounted at head height (or slightly higher). Position the camera so that it faces slightly down. For external cameras install them at least 3 meters off the ground.
Be sure to maintain good air circulation around the camera. Never install it in casing as it may overheat.
Space and Focus
Exactly where you place your camera depends on the type of camera you are using. Cameras with a short focus range should be concentrated on specific areas such as a front door or a window frame.
Place the camera over the door or window frame, facing downwards so that it covers the first few meters in front of the entrance.
Keep cameras out of reach
Burglars love cameras that are easily accessible. Such cameras can be vandalised, or worse, stolen! A height of about 3 meters above the ground is sufficient to stop a person from destroying the camera.
If you want to use your system to monitor your children make sure that the camera and any cables are placed out of reach. A system for monitoring children includes one to three cameras. They can effectively monitor a small room while transmitting data directly to your computer.
Some cameras are fitted with motion detection. The recording is triggered when an object passes through the field of the detector. This is a great way to save on memory. Some cameras come with an on/off motion detector which is perfect for night-time surveillance.
The most sophisticated cameras are now able to transmit a live data stream directly to your desktop or smartphone. This means that even if you’re on the other side of the world you’ll be able to know at any time what is happening in your property.
Fixing cameras to walls
Some cameras come with small adhesive pads that allow them to be mounted to a smooth surface. However, I always recommend fixing with screws so as they cannot be displaced or fall off.
The Protection of Freedoms Act was introduced to regulate surveillance cameras in public spaces. The legislation aims to strike a workable balance between the need for cameras in public places and citizens’ rights to privacy. Home cameras are exempt from the Data Protection Act (DPA), however, if your video surveillance camera covers any area beyond the legal confines of your property, it will then come under the DPA.
Although you have the right to protect your property using video recording equipment it is also necessary that while doing so you respect the privacy of others.
Below are some things to consider ensuring that your security system reduces the risk of intruding on the privacy of your neighbours or the public.
• Position your CCTV to ensure minimal intrusion to others
• How will your neighbours feel about 24hr video surveillance in the street?
• Is the camera out of reach from thieves and vandals?
Advertise your CCTV
• Let your neighbours know about your system
• Advertise that your property is under 24 hours video surveillance. This can act as a great deterrent to potential thieves
Once your video surveillance system is installed it is important that you maintain its good working order from time to time.
• Check your system at least once a fortnight, paying close attention that no cameras are obscured by dust or dirt
• Check the positioning of all your cameras. Ensure they still capture the desired image and that they do not intrude upon someone else’s space.