Protect those CCTV cameras!

Case Study

A few days after installing a new CCTV system for a client, the system was attacked. The client had previously had a CCTV system installed. The previous system was stolen during a recent break in.

The new system comprised of a new Swann DVR (digital video recorder), four cameras, and a number of existing cameras. We had given options for the pricing of the installation, with the client ultimately choosing the cheapest option available.

The afternoon after the system was disabled one of the clients tenants suffered an assault by a gang. The gang had arrived in convoy of vehicles at the property moments before the tenant. The assault was caught on the existing CCTV camera’s which were installed to the new box – and remotely backed up. After the assault the property where the CCTV box was located – was broken into and the DVR etc was stolen – but the recordings were secured remotely in the cloud, in addition to being downloaded using the Swann HomeSafe Windows application. After reviewing both the cloud storage videos, and the downloaded backups, it is clear that there had been people “looking” at the cameras after the installation. The backup files clearly showed the faces of many of the gang outlining that the attack had been planned for a number of days.

Recommendations

Obviously nothing is perfect. There is always a danger that your equipment will be stolen, or damaged. But what you want to do is protect against it – making it as hard as possible to damage.

Secondary Recording Method

During a robbery intruders are always aware that there are CCTV cameras. They are on the look out for a CCTV recorder, or wifi cameras. They usually find the recorder, and take it with them – along with any potential evidence. So where does this leave you?

We always recommend a secondary recording medium – even if you buy a second NVR (Network Video Recorder) that is located in an hidden location. The location doesn’t need to be “easily accessible” – the harder it is to access the better it is. Although, you may need to access it occasionally. The NVR will connect to the primary source (IE: your Swann DVR system) and duplicate the recording.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is offsite storage, such as Dropbox and Google Cloud. You can get a free account on Dropbox which will provide around 2GB of data storage – this will be sufficient for approximately two hours of surveillance. Most CCTV systems allow you to link to the cloud at the click of a button. However, if the internet goes down, then your connection to the cloud will also be disabled.

Protect those cables and cameras

It’s always important to protect your cables. Your CCTV cables are potentially the weakest link in the system. At a minimum it is recommended that your CCTV cables are protected by being enclosed in conduit and simply being out of reach (3m+ high). Ideally, the cables will exit the building at the camera location.

Cables clipped to the wall securely using p-clips and screws.
Don’t use simple cable clips. Even if you aren’t using conduit – always opt for the more secure p-clips. They will prevent the cable simply being pulled down the wall so easily like cable clips will once somebody manages to get their fingers behind them.

Camera Cages

CCTV camera and connection box enclosed in a CCTV cage.
Sometimes, you need to take extra steps to protect your equipment. They aren’t the prettiest looking things – and are clearly visible, but cages around your cameras will add one of the best layers of external protection you can. In this instance the camera is vulnerable from an attack around the corner. The cage helps to prevent this sort of attack.

Always backup your recordings if something seems strange

Burglars like to “case a joint”. A group may be acting suspiciously in your area, or outside of your home. If you have any worries – always save the recordings. It takes moments to save recordings from your devices – but it’s even easier to use a long term cloud backup option. It may be nothing – but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. One of the questions police may ask is whether you’d noticed anyone acting suspiciously recently. If you have serious genuine concerns you may even want to contact your local police regarding the suspicious behavior.

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