CCTV, the Latest Must-have for the Home

Wander into your local branch of Woolworths, B&Q, Argos or Homebase and you will see boxes of CCTV systems stacked alongside more traditional homewares. Prices start at under £30 for a basic black-and-white device. Clearly, you no longer have to be a celebrity, millionaire industrialist or politician to have cameras trained on your doorstep.

'Probably 90% of our sales are to the domestic market," says James Rankin, a director of IView Cameras Ltd, in London. "The people we sell them to are people that have had their cars scratched, or elderly people who are concerned about strangers at the door, or people with nuisance neighbours'...

IView's most popular systems sell for about £230 and that's self-installed. It also offers a national installation service, for a price. Sales have been steady for the past three years, Mr Rankin says, but the company has seen growing demand since last summer.

"The type of person we get varies from someone who lives in a council estate to someone who has a mansion in the country," Mr Rankin says. "The need for CCTV doesn't depend on how much money you have. It depends on your need for security, and your level of fear."

It's that increasing fear of crime - blamed, by some, on a combination of sensationalist press coverage and ever-more realistic movies and TV dramas - that drives the need for security, says Mike Presdee, a criminologist at the University of Kent in Canterbury."

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