Avoidable Home CCTV / Security Cameras

Jules

Distinguished Member
I want to catch or at least deter the theiving scum bags from entering our home.

We are very isolated with no neighbours. It's a very nice place to be, but unfortunately we are not far enough away from an area that has more than its fair share of thieves.
This makes us easy targets, and after an incident at the weekend, I want to do something about it.

So does anybody know much about surveilance systems?
I'd like to install about 4 cameras around the outside of the house, and use an existing PC to capture the footage on a 2 or 3 day cycle.

I'm sure I have the technical ability to install and use such equipment, but I don't know where to begin, what to buy, and how much it should cost.
I can't afford much, so I'm hoping that doing the job myself will make it relatively inexpensive.

I'd really appreciate any help or advice you can offer me.

Thanks in advance.
 

TOM ALLEN

Active Member

IronGiant

Moderator
I'm popping in a few myself, I'm sure you will get a fair bit of help, come the morning.

Dave
 

skelk

Active Member
I am looking for something like this too. I have been doing some research and have come to the following conclusions/requirements (and in your case perhaps recommendations as to what you might find handy).

The first is that you need quality cameras. Steer clear of CMOS based cameras - look for CCD cameras.

The second is make sure the camera has infrared built in. Burglars like darkness. make sure your cameras do too.

The third is that you should always try and have motion ftp'd to another location or at least have the option. Whats the point of a camera system plugged into your PC when the PC is probably what they are going to steal? The software you use should allow this - just ftp it to your ISP webspace in a private folder if you have no other choice.

Consider a dedicated system. A dedicated system should allow remote access from another location (it should have ethernet in other words) and also have email/ftp facility on motion detection. This one looks okay and is cheap:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/COMPLETE-CCTV...ryZ48632QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
or this one (longer cables, seemingly better cams)
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CCTV-COLOUR-C...ryZ66738QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Don't quote me their suitability though - it is just one of many options I am considering.

I am thinking about getting something like the above - or perhaps just an IP cam.
 

lurcher

Well-known Member
Maplins had a Hard drive 4 imput camera recording system the other week 1/2 price about £99.
 
Think you need to contact the police before you put cameras up. I had a friend who did it. I'm not 100% sure but it's something worth looking into.
 

benwillcox

Active Member
When I was looking around for a similar setup, I found that the outdoor cctv cameras available from suppliers in the UK were incredibly overpriced. Have a look on ebay and you'll find loads of suppliers in Hong Kong selling cctv equipment very cheaply. I ordered one of the 48 led 1/3" CCD outdoor cameras from a HK supplier and am very pleased with the build and image quality, and it arrived in only a few days.

I use zoneminder which is a free linux based recording system that does motion detection and can email alerts etc, and allows you to monitor your cameras over the web, or wap on a mobile phone etc.

I use a linux compatible 120fps capture card, which allows 4 channel recording at 25fps for each camera. Some of the cheaper cards are only 25fps between all 4 channels as they are multiplexed, although in practice you'll probably only need to capture around 4fps each camera anyway. Any more than that and the motion detection becomes very cpu intensive and the video requires a lot of disk space to store.

Camera was around £35, capture card around £15, then you'll just need some co-ax cable and power extension cables to run to the cameras, so you should be able to put something together pretty cheaply if you have an existing PC to use.

Cheers,
Ben
 

jrh_james

Active Member
Think you need to contact the police before you put cameras up. I had a friend who did it. I'm not 100% sure but it's something worth looking into.

Under the Data Protection Act, CCTV operators have to register with the Information Commissioner as a data controller and have various responsibilities concerning the storage and handling of the data.

However, this does not apply to private individuals so you are free to install the cameras and would only be in trouble if they were causing annoyance to your neighbours (e.g. by overlooking their property), which of course you don't have :D
 
Under the Data Protection Act, CCTV operators have to register with the Information Commissioner as a data controller and have various responsibilities concerning the storage and handling of the data.

However, this does not apply to private individuals so you are free to install the cameras and would only be in trouble if they were causing annoyance to your neighbours (e.g. by overlooking their property), which of course you don't have :D

Interesting. So what legal application would a home users CCTV have then? For instance could it be used as evidence if you were burgled?
 

Dave

Distinguished Member
Interesting. So what legal application would a home users CCTV have then? For instance could it be used as evidence if you were burgled?

Yes it could indeed.

However, the problem here lies in the fact that CCTV is not very good at stopping you being burgled.

If it happens to get someone's face there's a decent chance they will be caught but it won't stop you being burgled in the first place and probably won't get your stuff back either.

Then of course there's always the option for the burglar to steal the recording device too making the whole exercise worthless.

If you haven't already then spend the dough on a good alarm with remote monitoring and upgraded security. All IMHO of course.:)
 

jrh_james

Active Member
Interesting. So what legal application would a home users CCTV have then? For instance could it be used as evidence if you were burgled?

I don't see why not. Evidence can be disallowed if it was gathered illegally, but it's not against the law to photograph or film people in a public place. There may be an issue if the quality of the footage is too low to be considered reliable evidence. However, it may still help the local plod to track down the burglar, and they may be more inclined to investigate if you've got a photo of the suspect.

IANAL, this is just my layman's understanding of the law.
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
yup if your JP you can point a camera where ever you like. as long as your not using it to constantly go back and look at what your "neighbours" have been upto then your fine. infact you are even allowed to have your neighbours garden and windows in your cctv view. as long as its not the focus of the cameras attention and any actions happening in windows are not clear then you will be fine.

RE: infrared cameras, beware most are rubbish, what you really want is an IR sensitive camera and seperate IR illuminator.

as Dave said. a camera will not deter a thief and wont protect you from crime. all you can hope for is that you will be able to catch them
 

southdownswolf

Novice Member
For anyone that does use CCTV, you must have signs informing people that they are being recorded. This could just be a little sticker in the front window, or a big neon sign, whichever way, you must inform people. If you don't, it may be deemed as being unusable in court.

If you are to go with a CCTV system, you really shouldn't skimp on how much you spend on the cameras. The old adage, Rubbish IN, Rubbish Out really does apply. Maplins do some OK cameras starting at about £100 each. You can search on Ebay for a PCI card to input into a PC. Good idea to store the PC in the loft if you have one (and it hasn't been converted into a Home cinema!)

If you were to go with four camera system, make two of them obvious and high up, but hide the other two, maybe in a flower pot etc. Any potential thief is likely to avoid looking at the obvious cameras, but will not be as wary of the camouflaged ones.
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
For anyone that does use CCTV, you must have signs informing people that they are being recorded. This could just be a little sticker in the front window, or a big neon sign, whichever way, you must inform people. If you don't, it may be deemed as being unusable in court.

If you are to go with a CCTV system, you really shouldn't skimp on how much you spend on the cameras. The old adage, Rubbish IN, Rubbish Out really does apply. Maplins do some OK cameras starting at about £100 each. You can search on Ebay for a PCI card to input into a PC. Good idea to store the PC in the loft if you have one (and it hasn't been converted into a Home cinema!)

If you were to go with four camera system, make two of them obvious and high up, but hide the other two, maybe in a flower pot etc. Any potential thief is likely to avoid looking at the obvious cameras, but will not be as wary of the camouflaged ones.

IIRC that only applies to businesses. if you are Joe Public you dont have to display such warnings. and if it is criminal evidence they must accept it anyway
 

Geege

Well-known Member
Interesting. So what legal application would a home users CCTV have then? For instance could it be used as evidence if you were burgled?

The law accepts that private individuals will want to have CCTV to protect their own property/detect crime. The CCTV cannot be gather illegal in this way.

CCTV mainly becomes an issue for public bodies (such as local authorities, the BBC, police) where the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act comes into play, in particular where private information could be obtained from the footage and how the Surveillance is used. With regards this ( for example let consider intrusive surveillance) then relevant authority must be obtained otherwise the evidence would be inadmissible.
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000023_en_1.

The whole point of CCTV is to hopefully deter criminals, however god forbid if you did get broken into the police will be interested in viewing and seizing the footage.

So it is important to ensure the quality of the footage and recorded footage is of a high quality, ideally good enough to identify the suspects description along with any vehicle descriptions (if used) and the index number.

The police would also need to be able to take away a disc of the footage, so being able to record the footage onto recordable media, such as DVD-R etc.. would be good too.
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
The police would also need to be able to take away a disc of the footage, so being able to record the footage onto recordable media, such as DVD-R etc.. would be good too.

OMG YES! dont forget this. you wouldnt believe how much grief the masses of DVR's in this country have caused police forces just because they cant get the footage off them easily if at all!
 

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