In the course of protecting your home, you have no doubt kicked around the idea of cameras as part of your security system. But do you really need them? And if so, how do you choose which security cameras are right for you?
The following guide will help to break down some of the bigger considerations when it comes to buying and using security cameras, including:
- Determining if you actually need cameras
- Indoors, outdoors or both?
- How many for proper coverage
- Wired or wireless installation
- Video quality and access
- Price points
Do You Need Security Cameras?
For some homeowners, the one thing stopping them from getting security cameras is a concern over privacy issues. It just feels uncomfortable having an electronic eye looking at things at all times. If you find yourself falling on this side of things, there are other ways to keep your home safe.
Otherwise, security cameras can be helpful from both crime deterrent and punishment standpoints. A camera’s physical presence is an indication to potential intruders that they could very well be caught in the act. That could be enough to convince them to move along.
Then, if a criminal does decide to move forward with a break-in, a camera recording the act provides hard evidence of that fact. Video surveillance can be invaluable when it comes to identifying and then convicting those responsible.
Where Do You Need Them?
The most common choice is just on the outside of the home. This is due primarily to the desire for deterrence, as well as having the best of both worlds when it comes to protection and privacy. Plus, most homeowners aim to catch criminals before or as they come into the home.
That being said, there could be cases where indoor cameras could also be useful. They can provide back-up to any external cameras. And if you regularly have third parties coming into the home for whatever reason, indoor security cameras can help you keep an eye on them and your possessions.
How Many Security Cameras Do You Need?
Apart from the general inside or outside, you also need to consider what specific areas you need to cover. With outdoor applications, most homeowners set up a camera to cover the front door. That may be all you need. But starting from that minimal coverage area, you may then choose to also have a camera on every point of entry to the home, or covering the entire property.
Inside, you can choose to install cameras as needed to cover common areas and main thoroughfares. And if you have specific areas where valuables reside, you could have other cameras focused there.
Wired or Wireless?
Advancements in wireless technology have made security cameras a much more feasible option for homeowners. Wireless cameras can be installed fairly easily by a layperson, and can be placed virtually anywhere. But they could be vulnerable to tampering or failure if your wireless system goes down for any reason.
Wired systems will stay powered through a home’s existing electrical (usually with battery back-up in case of power outages). However, they usually require installation by professionals.
Determining Video Quality and Access to Data
We’ve all seen bad video footage of crimes in progress: blurry, black and white and nearly impossible to get any real identifying information. Fortunately, video quality has improved by leaps and bounds lately. As such, you can expect high-definition video from even less expensive camera units.
And you also can choose how to access recorded video and live views. Many security camera systems offer remote access to live video feeds via mobile apps or smart home hubs. Recorded video data could be accessed the same ways or directly from an integrated DVR or other recording device.
Ongoing Maintenance Needs
Before security cameras go up, you should consider the steps you may need to take to keep them functioning properly. Do your cameras have batteries that will need changing? How often will cameras need to be cleaned/dusted for optimal viewing? Will you need to regularly update cameras’ software?
Every home security system requires at least some maintenance over the course of its life. It’s up to you to decide how much you’re willing to do and if it’s worth it to you to do so.
Security Camera Costs
This element actually has two factors: the cost for a camera system and the cost of monitoring. Individual cameras can cost around $30 up to $400 apiece. And complete multi-camera packages can range from just hundreds to thousands of dollars. You can certainly expect more bells and whistles from higher-end units, but the cheaper versions can still provide highly effective protection.
Part of the inherent cost of a single camera or system could include remote access and monitoring. But if not, you will need to factor in additional funds for monthly monitoring services. In short, how much can you comfortably afford to protect you and yours?
Security cameras may not be for everyone. But for those who appreciate and gain comfort from their presence, cameras are the ideal home security tool.
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