Security cameras are generally considered a reliable and cost-effective way to prevent theft. But before making any sizable investment, it’s worth looking at the hard data. Which begs the question, do security cameras actually prevent crime?
An Electronic Security Association study found that 83% of burglars look for a security camera before breaking in and 60% would simply avoid homes with cameras. So the short answer is, yes. Security cameras are going to make your home more secure.
While having cameras is a good start, some security camera installations are better than others. The correct technology, placement and use of supporting technologies all contribute to their effectiveness as a deterrent.
Let’s look at each of these factors and how you can get the most out of your home’s security cameras.
Your home security cameras are only ever going to be as good as where they’re placed. Getting the locations right is going to require careful planning and a thorough awareness of how your home is situated.
Your first consideration, of course, is visibility. Carefully walking the perimeter of your home is a crucial first step. Bear in mind that your average security cameras have a wider field of vision and can encompass 120 degrees or more of activity around your house.
Having at least one camera overlooking your doorways is always good, as it’s likely to be the first place a potential intruder is going to look.
Bear in mind that you can use cameras to send a message as well. Having security cameras visible as you approach your house loudly broadcasts the idea that you have security measures in place.
You’re also looking for placement which prevents tampering. Even if you have some cameras low, it’s important to have others prominently placed but well out of reach. When professionally installed, most security cameras are difficult to circumvent. However, placing them out of harm’s way gives you an additional layer of security from tampering.
Finally, take some time to imagine that you were scoping your home looking for vulnerable points of entry. Look for entry points which have limited street visibility, don’t get much light or which would provide easy access from a difficult to sight location.
These are ideal positions for prominent cameras.
Cameras come with an impressive range of features. But if you’re looking for a simpler and more cost-effective solution, here are the key desirable features to shoot for.
With a smart notification enabled camera, your equipment will use AI to actively decide whether an incident is noteworthy. This gives you the luxury of not being constantly notified of unimportant events like wind or animal movements.
Obviously, this will make your life easier, but it also means you’re more likely to pay attention when a meaningful notification does come in.
You also want to ensure it provides a live feed you can check at any time. Smart cameras are vastly superior to old surveillance cameras that simply recorded to a hard drive.
For most uses, a good rule of thumb for resolution is 720p or greater. Lower than this and you’ll likely find the graininess of the image is enough to make it hard to distinguish faces or smaller movement.
Unless the area is very unchanging, you’ll also likely benefit from night vision and a lens which is capable of operating regardless of weather conditions.
Bear in mind also, the larger the area you need to cover, the better the resolution will need to be. Otherwise zooming in on areas of interest won’t work very well.
Finally, spending a little more on cameras which provide decent motion detection is a good idea.
The key consideration here is actually less about raw sensitivity and more about how much control you can exercise in setting your motion detection levels to one which minimizes those motion triggers you can happily ignore.
It’s here that a qualified installation technician can really help by carefully configuring your equipment for you.
Then there are supporting technologies to consider. A typical security system these days would have cameras as just one component. It’s good to choose cameras which work alongside these supporting technologies.
Often cheaper and less sophisticated than a full-blown camera, video doorbells offer the distinct advantage of being close to the door and highly visible. They can also hook up to neighborhood security apps, allowing you to become part of a neighborhood-wide security mesh.
Having internal cameras and sensors is a great addition. It means you have a second line of defense, but also a way to verify if anything is happening. And of course, if you get notification of activity first outdoors and then indoors, you can be confident something is worth your attention.
Security cameras will make your home safer, regardless of their configuration or features. However, the correct product, placement and supporting technology will greatly enhance their effectiveness.