Community / home security advice please (featuring CCTV)

The terrace of houses I live in has a lane down the back, accessed from one end of the terrace, no access at the other end. There are houses on the other side but they don’t have access. It’s just about wide enough for a car and a few of the houses have garages at the back but it’s not frequently used by cars. It’s a nice lane with lots of blackberries and we’ve organised a group clear out of it for July as it’s a bit overgrown and there is some rubbish in it. From a legal point of view it belongs to the properties in our terrace but at some point in the past they must all have agreed to make an access lane.

Yesterday our neighbours had their garage door kicked in (they think to pinch their motorbike) and a woman’s car rear window was smashed. The garage had an alarm (because someone was seen nosing around a few weeks back) and it seems whoever did it just scarpered when it went off.

The whatsapp group for the terrace has gone wild with security chat, talking about putting a sign up saying trespassers will be prosecuted. Initial draft was even talking about giving the lane a name which seemed a bit off given not everyone in the terrace is on the whatsapp group. There’s talk of a gate and putting in CCTV.

The gate I was against initially because I’m not sure how much difference it would make and may actually stop any cars getting in and out, though the latter might not be an issue. I’m less against it having thought about it.

I’m extremely skeeved out by the idea of CCTV down the lane. I think we have too much surveillance as it is and do not like the idea of being out picking blackberries with the kids and being on someone’s screen. There has been mention that it could go onto someone’s wifi which is even worse because there are security issues there. I know i can’t stop people putting stuff up on their own property though.

I don’t know how to put this to the whatsapp group without putting people’s backs up, when it wasn’t our garage or our car that was affected.

Any thoughts?

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Yeah I’d be worried about that in an emergency.

What about fake CCTV cameras? Surely they’re as much of a deterrent as real ones, or are they wanting to hide them?

That’s not a bad idea. The neighbours do have one of those camera door bells (which I’m not wild about either especially as it sees into our front garden) so they may be keener on actually seeing stuff.

I’m not too worried about emergency access wrt the gate - I can just squeeze my golf down the lane if I put the mirrors in, so it’s not like you’re able to rush in / out of it anyway

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Do you use this area much, or about once a year to pick blackberries? If your neighbours are getting their garages broken into I wouldn’t be complaining about cctv there tbh. Can’t they just direct a cctv camera onto their garage and not the other bits?
tbh, don’t know what people think police do with footage from cctv cameras for garage break ins. “oh sure, we’ll get our best detective on it…”

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Round here they put stills up on Facebook and someone advocates hanging and then it descends into an argument between people going AW THAS PAUL JONES THE SCUM and someone going NO ITS NEVA HE’S UP IN BEDWAS STFU DNO WHAT YR TALKING ABOUT :snake:

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I’m in and out on the bike regularly. It’s a nice place for the kids to play too. But you’re right, I can’t take umbrage at people shining it on their own garage. Personally I think CCTV is disproportionate - as you say it’s not actually going to be much use (other than to confirm to the police it’s someone they already know about)

This is the first time anyone can remember this happening, including people who’ve lived here for 40 years.

I don’t think gateing alleys is as straightforward as it used to be. There was a big push on it in GM to reduce anti social behaviour such as you have experienced and to cut down getaway routes for people using motorbikes.

It may be easier for you as it doesn’t sound like a through route.

Your council’s highway dept. Would be first point of contact if you want to go down that route.

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As far as I can tell the most likely outcome of CCTV would be capturing an image of clothing or hat which which the police would then use as an excuse to go round and hassle someone*. Which would not prevent the break in, not get stuff back and not really deter anybody. A fake camera would be just as useful IMO

*(albeit someone who is highly likely to have done it)

yeah the shift to torches and pitchfork mode is setting my teeth on edge

when there was a spate of breakins around me I put some fake ones up on my garage and down the side alley. They look pretty realistic and am not weirdly filming glimpses of the neighbours.
If someone breaking in is worried enough by a camera, they’re not going to get close enough to check it’s real. Or if they have face concealed etc they’re not gonna give a shit either way.
Nobody has broken in yet, but our shit car is probably the biggest deterrent.

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the lane has given us a double advantage here - our already shit car looks more shit because I scraped the sides getting it in and out of the lane!

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This is a really good point I can put to the group :slight_smile:

Quite difficult this stuff isn’t it. Hate the surveillance aspect and a lot of the attitudes around targeting people but understandable that people get emotional after being a victim of crime.

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Being broken into sucks, it makes you feel unsafe at home, and you have to deal with police and insurance being pricks, and the cleanup and getting stuff fixed is a nightmare. I have a lot of sympathy for anybody it happens to, it’s happened to me quite a few times and will probably happen again. It’s shit, and the violation makes you feel like doing something about it.

I do think though, if somebody wants to break into your house and take your stuff they’ll just do it and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Stuff that’s unobtrusive to you and your neighbours’ lives like lights can be effective in convincing the chancers it’s not worth it. Alarms I’m less cool with because they mostly just go off when they’re not supposed to and piss everybody off. When you get into stuff like cameras and shit it all starts making the area feel like a bit of a hostile place to live, and I really don’t think there’s much benefit to them you’re not already getting from the lights… I would guess they also scream that you’ve got stuff worth nicking or feel vulnerable.

I don’t know what the answer is really or what you can say to these people. It’s a bit of a difficult fact of life to accept, but that’s really all you can do.

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Exactly this.

I’m not unsympathetic - I’ve been broken into before and it sucks and I remember being angry and lashy outy in the immediate aftermath.

A couple of people on the group have pointed out that if the lane looked more cared for it wouldn’t feel as safe for a prospective burglar - they came in the middle of the day which says something - but shit grows so fast, so despite there being regular use it doesn’t look it.

I prefer “softer” methods of deterrent like making the lane look nice and often used - and I think that would be more effective.

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Goodness. Pitchforks at the ready guys. Now some cider cans have been found under a tree in the lane. It’s clearly kids ffs.

But the police apparently have told a neighbour they’re going to be regularly patrolling the lane. Which is private property belonging to the houses in our terrace. They can’t do that can they?

Trying to figure out how to say I don’t want the police on our property to the whatsapp group without saying ACAB as I don’t think it’ll go down well