A surveillance system without audio recording is like a one-armed soldier. But when it comes to home security, you’ll need fully capable protectors free of any such flaws. Items such as surveillance microphones provide an extra pair of ears alongside the eyes that you’ve set up in your home. In most cases burglars don’t expect hidden microphones, and so they may start chatting during the robbery. Being able to record their speech is crucial evidence for the later investigation. Additionally, audio surveillance provides environmental information in places where cameras can’t see.
Combining Audio Surveillance With CCTV Cameras
Surveillance microphones can be used with or without a CCTV camera. The more affordable models usually require a camera, although the cables are compatible with numerous brands and setups. Setting up the recorder is quite simple: cameras have an audio input jack where the microphone’s plug goes into. After that, make sure to hook it up to a power source.
The actual microphone head of the audio surveillance system is small and barely noticeable so it can be hidden below the camera unit. If you intend to use it outdoors, then make sure to purchase a weatherproof model. Conversely, indoor surveillance demands a microphone with has adjustable sensitivity to pick up noises from within other rooms.
Is It Even Legal?
But hold your horses! Before wiring up the whole house, it’s important to consider the legal aspects too. You see, recording conversations without permission is against privacy laws. Just imagine that you manage to get the burglars on tape as they’re standing on the lawn discussing their plan to rob your house, but when it comes to presenting the evidence to the police it’ll be you who end up behind bars.
There are numerous loopholes of course, depending on the state you are living in. In Oregon, for instance, you must ask for the consent of all parties before starting the recording, which pretty much defeats the purpose. However, conversations happening in public spaces – like in a park – can technically be recorded by a machine without need for affirmation, because very little privacy can be expected there. But again, your home doesn’t qualify as a public location, therefore this loophole is useless.
In the end, we highly recommend further researching the laws of your state or asking a lawyer regarding audio surveillance, since it falls under federal wiretapping regulations, and you could find yourself in trouble if the neighbor reports you.
Home Security Monitoring & Advanced Cameras
Naturally, home security companies are aware of the thin ice that they are standing on when selling products capable of audio/visual recording. As a homeowner, there are two surefire ways to avoid accusations of wiretapping. You see, the law says that audio surveillance is only illegal if the other party is unaware of it. In other words, this bullet can be dodged by setting up a sign on the front yard that clearly states that your home is protected by cameras and audio recorders.
The other method is to deploy cameras with two-way communication and motion sensors. When the device sees unauthorized movement, it sends you a notification. At this point you can activate the speaker, and warn the trespassers that the security system records everything, including their voice. After such an announcement you have every right to turn on the audio surveillance so they can pick up the fleeing burglar’s footsteps.
It’s important to mention that home security companies like Frontpoint Security or GetSafe offer a monitoring service where the agents take initiative when the alarm is set off, and they attempt to intimidate the intruders in a similar fashion. They also activate the audio recorder if necessary, sparing you from the trouble of self-monitoring.
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