Surveillance For The Homeowner

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So you’ve paid off the loan, and the mortgage, done the renovations, the paperwork and now your home is finally your own house. You can’t help feeling, however, that you aren’t quite ready to sit back and rest easy. What if someone breaks into your house, damages and steals your property? What can you do to safeguard your space against burglary?

For a medium or large residence, surveillance just might be a good idea. Before you start picturing Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in Stakeout, let’s define our terms.

Surveillance is, quite simply, the process of monitoring people, objects or processes for conformity to certain expected norms. More specifically, it consists of monitoring for deviations from safe, non-threatening behaviour. It may or may not interest you to know that, in French, the word means ‘watching over’.

Surveillance includes any form of observation from afar by means of technological devices. This refers to phone tapping, directional microphones, bugs, subminiature cameras, closed-circuit television or CCTV, GPS tracking, airborne or satellite reconnaissance as well as computer and internet surveillance.

CCTV is perhaps the most relevant device for you, as a homeowner, so let’s look at it in some more detail.

CCTV consists of a camera, or cameras, linked up for the purpose of surveillance. The cameras are all directly liked and viewable through monitor screens. CCTV was first pressed into service to help watch against bank robbers, but the applications have increased to the point where the technology is easy to use, and relatively affordable enough to be used in home security set-ups.

CCTV is supposed to aid in crime fighting in two ways -deterrence and detection.

It’s assumed that the presence of clearly visible cameras in an particular location would serve to scare of would-be thieves. But the criminal mentality is notoriously hard to fathom, and this isn’t always the case. Interestingly though, CCTV systems do seem to be most effective as safeguards against car theft. Still, it’s worth assuming that the presence of a CCTV system should put off a fair number of would-be burglars.

CCTV has made a remarkable difference to crime detection, that’s for sure. Several prominent murder cases worldwide were solved with the aid of CCTV footage, and CCTV has also been useful in locating missing persons and runaways. Look at it this way – if it comes to the worst, and your house is burglarised, CCTV footage can provide crucial clues to the police and help in capturing the criminals and recovering your belongings.

CCTV technology has developed to the point where you can use wireless or USB still cameras to take high-resolution pictures at intervals. You can either program the cameras to take pictures on a time-lapse basis or to be triggered by unexpected motion. The quality of these images is superior to other surveillance cameras, and provides investigators with a wealth of useful detail. Models like Canon’s S2iS, Nikon’s P1 or Kodak’s Easyshare One are all affordable and reliable options. You can easily download these images onto your PC and share them with the authorities, all in a matter of seconds.

This is in fact the best option for you as a homeowner. Traditional CCTV is more adept at providing a flow of images to be constantly monitored by security personnel, while this new technique, dubbed Closed Circuit Digital Photography (CCDP) does not require around-the-clock observation, and produces high-quality images that can be used in the event of a burglary. As in the case of CCTV, it is worth considering that the presence of a surveillance system will itself serve as some amount of deterrent, if clearly indicated.

Used in conjunction with motion sensors, as well as anti-burglary devices such as alarms, high fences, trap wires and the like CCDP can form the basis for an effective and reliable home surveillance system. One that lets you finally kick back and relax in the comfort and security of your own home!

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