Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is becoming increasingly popular as both a deterrent to crime and an invaluable source of evidence if anyone breaks the law.

“in footage that surfaced on the web and social media just over the past couple of months – capturing anything from mall robberies to hijackings and home break-ins – we’ve repeatedly seen CCTV systems proving their worth and bringing criminals to book,” says Warwick Scott-Rodger, head of Dialdirect.

In Johannesburg, the effectiveness of CCTV systems as a crime deterrent have been supported by a significant reduction in cash-in-transit heists, ATM and bank robberies. According to the City of Johannesburg’s official website, crime has reduced by 40% during the pilot phase of its CCTV surveillance project where only 15 CCTV cameras were in operation.  A total of 200 CCTV cameras are currently in operation around the city and law enforcement officials are able to reach trouble spots in an average time of just 60 seconds.

“This is an incredible timeframe as with criminals, every second counts.  Aside from city and business environments though, CCTV systems are also very useful in residential applications,” says Scott-Rodger, “in cases like the robbery at a Port Elizabeth home in May this year, the footage recorded by in-home cameras serves as indisputable evidence of the crime committed – assisting police in putting these criminals behind bars.”

Though the price of a CCTV system depends entirely on your requirements (image quality, number of cameras, remote connectivity etc.), it remains one of the most affordable security solutions you can add to your home.

Dialdirect shares the following tips* on purchasing a CCTV system:

  • Know your target – the type and price range of camera that you buy will depend greatly on what you would like to keep an eye on – whether you want to monitor a smaller area like the rooms in your house, a big area around the house or right outside your gate.
  • Load shedding – CCTV cameras generally rely on electricity so make sure to have a good back-up power source in place.
  • Decide on visible or discrete – visible cameras may serve as a strong deterrent to criminals, but this can also turn cameras into targets. Cameras that are placed more discretely may not deter criminals, but can continue capturing valuable footage without the criminals even knowing that they are there.
  • Do you need night-vision? – night-vision cameras are recommended for areas that are not well lit. Cameras with night vision are more expensive, but are very valuable in that some systems can pick out a target in complete darkness up to 30m away.
  • Pick a resolution you actually need – lower to mid resolution systems are generally cheaper and work well where high value items aren’t at stake or where a high level of detail isn’t required, but the extra pixels in hd-systems will come in handy when it comes to identifying a face or reading a number plate.
  • Remember storage and viewing – you will need to store footage somewhere for later viewing if need be, so you need to decide whether you want to store the footage yourself (on a local / networked storage system) or make use of a CCTV cloud storage provider.
  • Consider connectivity – how are you going to get the footage captured by the cameras to your phone or computer? Wired systems generally provide better quality, but can be tedious to install and may require lots of drilling and running of cables. Wireless systems are easier to set up but generally can’t carry the same amount of data as wired systems and are more prone to suffering from interference.
  • Position – a camera’s angle and field of view are of critical importance, as there is no use in capturing footage where you can, for example, only see the top of a criminal’s head. Make sure that you invest in a camera that captures the full area that you wish to monitor at an angle where all important details can be seen. Motorised pan, tilt and zoom cameras, for one, enable you to adjust the camera remotely to gain an optimum view.
  • Software matters – many software providers offer solutions that allow you to monitor cameras from your phone or tablet, so you can keep an eye on your home, even when at work or on holiday.
  • Insurance – CCTV camera systems can be insured if you have buildings insurance in place.

“A good CCTV system can offer early detection, an extra layer of security and additional peace of mind,” concludes Scott-Rodger, “taking the time to consult an expert, do your research and buy a quality CCTV system suited to your needs could well be one of the best investments you ever make.”

* Sourced from

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