CCTV is doubtless one of the greatest preventatives to avoid illegal entry, thefts and damage to your property.
However, it remains crucial to identify the best positioning to ensure you cover all of the highest risk locations at your premises and have sufficient lines of sight to capture activity in and around your entrances.
You also need to be aware of privacy laws and ensure that your surveillance equipment doesn’t overlook neighbouring properties. Finding the best position isn’t always obvious and often requires a thorough site assessment.
Here the Clearway team explains the key factors to consider when deciding where to install your CCTV cameras.
Why Does It Matter Where I Install my CCTV Cameras?
Even the highest performance CCTV system won’t prove useful if it is positioned in the wrong place.
There are thousands of scenarios where, when you come to rely on your surveillance footage to resolve an incident or assist the police in their enquiries, you’ll find that your system hasn’t produced adequate results.
- Covering the primary entranceways but not back doors, car park entrances, stairwells or windows which can divert criminals to another part of the building.
- Poorly angled cameras might deliver exceptional quality footage of surrounding trees, walls or pavements, and fail to oversee your intended location correctly.
- Obstructions such as vehicles or plants may render CCTV cameras redundant – and therefore, positioning needs to be tamper-proof and not exposed to anything that might block the view.
- If your CCTV installation doesn’t have an infrared capacity, it may need to be installed in a suitable place with sufficient natural or artificial light so that the footage is clear.
- Positioning CCTV cameras where they infringe on privacy rules can result in complaints, fines, and contravening regulations such as GDPR or the Data Protection Act.
All these points considered, it’s vital to think through your CCTV positioning and what areas of highest risk you want to protect before fitting any cameras or recording equipment.
Where are the Best Places to Install a CCTV Camera System?
The best installation location depends very much on the type of property or premises you are defending, where your most significant risks arise, and what you are using your CCTV security system for.
In most cases, say for a business surveillance system out of hours, you’ll want to consider:
- Front elevations, side access and rear entrance points. Many businesses install CCTV over their main entrance but forget that most criminals will try and enter through a back door where they are less likely to be observed.
- Driveways, parking areas and lorry bays – all of which are vulnerable to vehicular intrusions.
- Internal stairwells for properties with public access points that lead inside the building.
Covering doors and windows for specific rooms where high-value assets equipment or materials are stored.
Remember that CCTV isn’t purely used for guarding properties – you might decide to install surveillance equipment at vehicular access points, around your perimeter, at storage yards or delivery points.
For exterior surveillance, other factors come into play, such as:
- How easy it would be to access the cables or power supply for hard-wired CCTV systems (wireless mast-mounted cameras can mitigate that risk).
- The scope of the coverage, whether your cameras provide a comprehensive enough angle view to survey the whole area, or whether you need multiple cameras in several locations.
- Blind spots – it’s always wise to seek professional advice to understand how far your CCTV can see and ensure overlap between two cameras if you have a vulnerable position that needs comprehensive coverage.
Is There an Optimal Way to Position a CCTV Camera?
There certainly is! CCTV cameras come in multiple sizes, capacities and mount types, so it’s important to consider whether you are using hard-wired, wall-mounted, battery-powered, mast-mounted or overhead cameras.
Most CCTV installations are installed at around 2.5m to 5m above the ground, although that depends on whether you are using a CCTV tower and size of nearby walls or buildings.
Installing cameras at lower levels means you get a closer-range view of any activity, but if they’re positioned too low, they’ll be exposed to vandalism and easy tampering by thieves.
Higher, mast-mounted cameras will typically provide a broader angle, such as for open spaces, but may, potentially, risk a lower quality image which may be an issue for crucial risk points, as video footage quality may be compromised.
The camera angle is also crucial, and you’ll almost always find professionally installed CCTV systems at a height, angled down towards the area they are surveilling. A lens angled downwards can focus on objects and provide a greater view across the surrounding area.
Therefore, installing your CCTV for maximum opportunity isn’t as simple as mounting a camera on the nearest wall. There is a lot to think about and multiple options for camera types, power supplies, angles and areas of coverage.
For more advice about the ideal positioning for your CCTV cameras, give the security experts at Clearway a call.