alarm or CCTV advice

5 Jul 2006
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United Kingdom
I fitted an infinite prime wireless alarm in our house about 5 years ago. The external bell box is playing up so I need to replace that along with some batteries in the PIR's. The alarm has the gsm module fitted so it calls if the alarm is activated etc.

I'm undecided whether to spend the money on sorting the alarm out or whether a new CCTV system would be a better option. What are peoples opinions - is cctv better than an alarm these days?

I would want a cctv system with remote viewing, motion detection etc. My concern with cctv is that external access is through my home broadband. As it becomes more common, are potential burglars not just going to look for the BT cable coming into the house and cut it, steal the dvr, then the CCTV is useless?

At least with an alarm that has a gsm module, you've got a chance that the siren will deter the burglar or the alarm will call you alerting you to the activation before the burglar manages to disarm the alarm?
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At least with an alarm that has a gsm module, you've got a chance that the siren will deter the burglar or the alarm will call you alerting you to the activation before the burglar manages to disarm the alarm?

Personally from a non technical point of view I'd prefer an alarm with GSM. I had a break in last year whilst at work, break in happened aprox. lunch time but I didnt find out till I got home at 6:00, the alarm had sounded (and silenced), scared the burgular off but my kitchen window was left wide open all day.

I've now fitted a GSM dialer not so I can rush home to intercept potential burgular's but for the piece of mind knowing that whilst I'm not receiving a call the house is secure.
We fitted both an alarm (with GSM) and CCTV after we were broken into.
I would say a working alarm with GSM is the preference. A well fitted alarm can be a visible deterrent and is more accurate to alert when an alarm condition occurs.

While a CCTV system can be set to a motion sensing mode an send out emails (or trigger an alarm if it is connected up to one), they are more prone to errors/false positives.
A CCTV would be better if you wanted to ensure you had evidence of any crime that may occur - and also cover other areas just outside the property like the car/driveway and garden

Is a difficult one to answer.

CCTV has come along way and with video analytics over motion sensing there is less chance for false alarming.

The advantage of a CCTV false alarm is you can view the footage, however there is a good chance on motion sensing you will get many false alarms and you just aren't going to want to view it every time a notification comes through.

I wouldn't rely on CCTV motion sensing for alarm notification, I would be tempted to look at CCTV notifications with video analytics.

The next issue is budgets, so if you have a budget in mind for CCTV or and alarm and what you want it do or cover may be a better question.
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Assuming that the burglar doesn't steal your dvr, cctv just shows you your stuff getting nicked. IMO alarms are a much better deterrent (but the cctv is a better toy!).
I have a GSM router and UPS for network and cctv. Alarm and CCTV via IP.

If the broadband goes down, then the backup IP path is available for comm's. The alarm IP path is also monitored and I am notified if there's a problem.
For me its a no go down the path of two seperate systems....

Yes there are manufacturers such as visonic offering the powermaster with cameras built into PIR's but it is a very costly way to have an average system....

You can buy a basic 4ch samsung or hokvision cctv system for 400UKP which is gthe cost of just two visonic pir/cams....

Alarm/cctv systems are still evolving and now is not the right time to jump in - IMO.


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