Choosing and locating home security cameras

Security cameras have long been regarded as a reliable way of improving home security. Burglars, vandals, and other criminals are often less likely to target a residence if they know they know they are being recorded. The footage captured by cameras can also be instrumental in identifying perpetrators after a crime has been committed.

In addition, camera technology has seen major improvements in recent years. Cameras can capture higher resolution images, be linked to motion sensors, and connected with smartphones and other technology to immediately inform you if anything is amiss at your home.

Cameras can also have other benefits other than crime deterrence. The home security company Safewise says you can easily monitor children from another room or keep an eye on your pets while at work. A camera feed also offers an easy way to check out who is at the front door or safely investigate a strange noise.

There are several types of security cameras for you to choose from. Kaley Belakovich, writing for Angie's List, says many modern cameras can be linked to a wireless service, allowing you to monitor their feed from the internet or your smartphone. Others can take night vision imagery or alert you when a motion sensor is tripped.

You'll have to decide whether you want the cameras to be visible or hidden. Cameras that are plainly visible are a good deterrent, but bolder criminals may try to tamper with them. Hidden cameras do not have this deterrent effect, but may be more likely to capture footage that can identify a perpetrator. Stewart Wolpin, writing for Realty Times, says cameras can often be disguised in common home features such as light fixtures or sconces.

Camera placement is an especially important consideration. Amanda Li, writing for the home security company Reolink, says you should think about which areas of the home are most vulnerable. Ground level windows are a common way for thieves to enter a home, particularly if they are obscured by shrubs or otherwise provide some cover. Safewise suggests that cameras should also be trained on the front and rear entrances, as well as any high traffic areas where intruders would likely walk during a break-in.

Any home security camera should have a good line of sight. Avoid placing them behind houseplants or in other areas where the image will be obscured. There should also be enough light to capture a clear shot.

If you try to have a camera cover a wide area, the results are unlikely to be helpful. Li says some homeowners locate cameras high up or otherwise place them to try to get a general overview of their property. This placement won't be able to capture crisp, usable images such as the face or a burglar or the license plate on an unfamiliar car.

Don't forget to periodically maintain the cameras. Safewise says the lenses should be cleaned every now and then to keep the images from getting distorted or blurry. Batteries should also be checked and replaced when necessary.

While a network of home security cameras can give you peace of mind, it won't guarantee that your home will be safe from criminal activity. Belakovich says some burglars will even look directly into the camera and proceed to break into a home anyway. It is recommended that you install a home security alarm system before you consider adding cameras.


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