Home Defense: Surveillance Cameras
Having surveillance cameras is all good but oftentimes people are not quite sure when it comes to choosing a system. Below you will find some things to consider when choosing the best surveillance cameras for you.
The front and back doors are the main areas in which a burglar will enter your property which makes them prime candidates for your camera installations. Another common entry point for a burglar are windows. If fitting the cameras outside, place them high enough that potential intruders cannot tamper with them.
Quality of Image
Your surveillance cameras are not much good if the image quality is poor. There is no proper video evidence against somebody if you can’t tell what they even look like. When purchasing, be sure that you only go for a camera with HD capabilities to ensure that you get a much sharper and reliable image.
When positioning cameras, angles are everything. You need to think about which direction(s) you would like to aim the camera, as well as what type of zooming or panning capability you plan to employ in your surveillance. Cameras that have smaller fields of vision should be trained upon very specific areas such as a single door or window, while cameras that can rotate, zoom or pan to cover larger areas should be positioned to monitor more open places.
Hidden or Visible
There are always arguments as to whether you should hide your cameras or make them visible. If an intruder doesn’t know that they are being filmed, they won’t be focusing on trying to cover their face so it will be easier to get a clearer picture. At the same time, if you make them visible, they are a great deterrent as intruders will usually think twice about trying to break in to your home. It is a matter of personal preference, and it’s up to each individual to determine what they think will be the right move.
It’s important to test cameras to see which models work best in the lighting conditions present at your property. Thankfully there are a variety of technologies which will ensure you capture usable footage in a range of lighting conditions. Light filtering technology such as IR filters and artificial illuminators can amplify or reduce the amount of light reaching a sensor, creating clearer images during the day and night.
Do you Need Audio?
This is another one that is down to personal preference. With audio capabilities, you will not only get a clear image of an intruder but also hear everything that is said. Even if an intruder has their face covered, enough evidence could be gathered against somebody just from audio alone.
Having a flexible and scalable surveillance system is important. The problem with traditional surveillance systems is that they are a closed circuit meaning that everything is hard-wired and difficult to scale.
It is therefore important to choose IP cameras which connect over a wireless network allowing you to easily grow and scale any installation as you need. Adding IP cameras to a network works in much the same way as adding a phone to a VOIP network – it’s simple and easy and there’s no wiring to change or update.
If you’re thinking of getting a home surveillance system for the outside of your property, you must comply with privacy laws. This means making sure that your cameras aren’t pointed at public spaces, or other people’s houses or gardens.
It’s a good idea to discuss any surveillance plans that you have with your neighbours. Most will be fine with it as sharing a surveillance system is a great way of keeping a wider area covered and cuts costs too.
Best Places for Your Home Security Cameras
The effectiveness of a security camera is only as good as its placement. Poor placement makes even the best security cameras fairly useless but correctly positioned and they are almost guaranteed to stop the bad guys. It is pointless putting a camera in a location where nobody would even enter or pass by.
Before installing your cameras, always be sure to complete a risk assessment so that you can determine the best place to put your equipment. In order to help you with these considerations, we are going to take a look at the best locations to place security cameras in and around your home.
A big concern here in the UK has come about after figures suggested that 95% of burglaries and robberies across the UK are going unsolved. 95%? That is a staggering amount. However, with a little bit of knowledge, we can better protect ourselves, and our properties. So where should we place our security cameras?
The most common entry points for an intruder are the front and back doors to your property. Now, you actually have two options for covering your main entrances. You can have the camera on the outside of the property and this can be a good deterrent. You want to install the camera high enough that it can’t be tampered with while also being low enough to get a good clear image of an intruders face.
Avoid pointing outdoor cameras directly at the sun. Doing so means that anytime the sun is at an angle, you won’t pick up anything.
Your second option is to install the camera on the inside of your property facing the front door. If an intruder breaks in, they are less likely to know it’s there and so you should get an image of their face.
First Floor Windows
The ground floor windows of a property are the next most common entry point for an intruder. The best position for this camera would be on the inside of the property on a bookshelf or table facing the window at an angle. The reason we want it at an angle and not directly in front is that there would be too much backlight making the camera unable to pick up a picture of the intruders face.
Once the main entrances and first floor windows have been covered you need to consider monitoring any hallways leading to bedrooms. These are hot areas for intruders as bedrooms will usually hold valuables such as jewelry.
It’s rarely practical to point multiple cameras at every entry point to the house, especially in larger homes. The best alternative is mounting a camera in a “bottleneck”. This can be a hallway, stairway or living room.
The position of the camera is extremely important here. You obviously want to capture an intruders face coming in, not the back of their head as they are making an escape.
Stairways can either be inside or outside of the property but are both good locations for a security camera. These are points in and around the home, which are used to get around the property. External stairways are often used by a burglar in order to avoid your security. When you use your cameras to view these stairways, you will be one step ahead of the criminal.
Burglar’s want to be in and out as quickly as possible, the whole burglary is often over within a few minutes. The stairs are an area that forces a person to slow down, especially on the descent so placing a camera to cover this area is a good idea. You will also be guaranteed to get two looks at the perpetrators, as they will need to go up and down.
Garages are at most times unoccupied which makes them an easy target for burglars. This is usually an easy place for guaranteed expensive items such as bikes and cars, not to mention potential weapons such as shovels or pitchforks. Most garages have electricity running to them and plenty of shelving so placing cameras here is easy. Remember earlier how we mentioned about backlight as the same goes when the camera is located in your garage too. Point the camera at an angle towards the door.
Burglars like what they think are easy targets and as such, prefer to avoid homes with any type of security so making cameras visible from the street a great deterrent.
If you have a large front yard, the cameras mounted above your door may not be visible from the street. For larger homes you should consider placing additional cameras on either side of the house to cover any side entrances or alleys.
If your back yard backs onto other properties, fields, waterways, bushland, parks or lanes, you should think about placing a camera or two to cover this area also. These kinds of yards are easy to access and easy to escape from. If you have children it is highly recommended that you cover this area to watch over them. While one security camera can capture a large area of your backyard, you may need multiple cameras to help identify an intruder. A good location for a camera is at the entrance point to your backyard.
When it comes to placing your security cameras, you have lots of options. We looked at indoor and outdoor camera positions for the most popular break in locations:
- Front and Back Doors
- First Floor Windows
- Front Yard
- Back Yard
We also took a look at some things that you should consider, such as:
- Avoid pointing cameras directly into the sun. Consider where the sun is at dawn and dusk
- Position cameras at an angle to avoid backlight from windows and doors
- Avoid positioning cameras too high, especially close to walkways and entrances
- Consider multiple cameras for large areas like backyards
Please feel free to contribute your own tips below so we can get them added and above everything else, stay safe out there!