Ultimate Guide for Installing Home Security Cameras
Security cameras are one of the best ways to help secure your home and protect yourself against theft and break-ins. But are you setting up your security cameras properly?
If you’ve ever attempted to set up cameras on your own, you know that there are plenty of issues to take into consideration. Placement, focus, and lighting are just a few of the keys to properly positioning your cameras.
There are over 2 million burglaries a year in the U.S., but cameras that aren’t installed correctly, or in the right places, may end up being useless in the event of a break-in. So read on to find out the best spots for your security cameras.
Where To Place Your Security Cameras
81% of all break-ins happen on the first floor of homes, so your security cameras should mostly be focused on the ground floor.
The Front Door
The front door is one of the most common points of entry for burglars. It may sound strange that a thief would walk up to your front door, but it’s true. There are often plenty of windows that they can use to see inside, even windows on the door itself. So take your time to make sure that the camera you place here is well-positioned to capture the face of an intruder.
It’s also nice to have a camera at your front door to act as a high-tech peephole. If you’re worried about who that knock in the evening actually is, you can check the camera before opening up.
The Back Door
The back door is another essential spot to cover with a security camera. It also may not be as well lit as a front porch or stoop, so remember to either provide adequate lighting for your security camera or invest in cameras with night vision.
Burglars will often choose windows that don’t face the street so that they can’t be seen by anyone passing by. That might mean a side yard or backyard window, or a window that’s covered by bushes.
Whatever the case, you’ll want to position a camera that can cover these windows. If you have a row of windows on the side of your house, one camera on the corner of your roof can potentially cover all of them.
Many people focus solely on covering all the entrances to their house and forget that thieves might find something they like without even going inside. Patio furniture and other backyard accessories can be a tempting target for thieves, so you may want to consider a camera or two that covers the yard, as well as the back door or windows.
Outside basement access can be convenient, but it can also be a target for burglars. If you have an outside entrance, position a camera over the steps leading down into the basement to get the best view of anyone entering or leaving.
Also, remember that any windows leading into your basement may be targets. A determined thief can slip through a window that you originally considered too small to pay much attention to.
Other Issues To Consider
Just because you placed your cameras properly, that doesn’t mean they’re going to work well. Here are a few issues to consider regarding their placement and use.
We mentioned earlier that it’s a good idea to check the lighting for cameras in your backyard, but the same goes for your side yard or any other poorly lit area. A security camera without adequate lighting may only show a blurry, dark shape instead of a clear picture of the burglar.
The other option is to use cameras specifically made for use in the dark.
However, remember that too much light can also hurt the quality of the video. You may have to use trial and error to get it just right.
Out Of Sight?
There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to security camera placement. One is that you want to leave them in plain view as a deterrent to anyone who comes snooping. They’ll see the cameras and know they’re on tape.
The other argument is that this only makes the cameras easier to break, or even steal. In that case, they say, you should keep your cameras as well hidden as possible.
One way to unite both these arguments is by using dummy cameras along with your actual security cameras. The dummy cameras are in plain view, so they act as a deterrent. But if a would-be robber breaks or snatches them, the thief will still be seen by your subtly placed real cameras.
Out Of Reach
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that your security cameras are out of reach. A camera mounted at nine feet is generally high enough to elude the grasp of a six-foot intruder.
But you can do this yourself by trying to get the camera down on your own. If you can’t do it without a ladder or quite a bit of noise and work, then chances are a thief can’t either.
Also, be sure that your outside cameras are weatherproof and durable. The last thing you want is a storm knocking out your camera when you need it most.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Your camera can’t do everything. Think of taking a picture at a birthday party. If you focus in on the child blowing out the candles, anyone standing farther in the background will end up out of focus.
You have to decide where to focus the camera. Do you want the camera to capture someone’s face or the license plate number of their car parked in the street?
Respect Other’s Privacy
This is an issue that comes up surprisingly often. Many people simply don’t realize that their security cameras are actually pointing outside of their own property. You don’t have the right to train your cameras at your neighbor’s house or yard, and you should be respectful of their requests for privacy.
In most cases, this is simply an oversight by overzealous homeowners who just want to get as much of their property on camera as possible. It might be a good idea to talk to your neighbors and let them know about your security cameras.
You’ll also want to check local and state laws regarding the use of cameras and privacy to make sure you’re in compliance. For instance, many states require both party’s consent when recording audio. You could be in a tricky legal area if your video records both video and audio.
It’s better to take the time to find out the laws before putting up your security cameras.
Mistakes To Avoid
Sometimes what may seem like common sense is actually detrimental to your security camera’s ability to protect your home.
Placing Them As High As Possible
Makes sense, right? The higher the camera the more ground it will cover. The problem here is that the higher you get, the harder it may be to identify facial features–a key reason for getting security cameras in the first place.
Your security camera should be above the reach of any intruders but don’t get carried away with your placement height or the camera won’t be as useful to you.
Using The Wrong Range
A camera with a wide dynamic range may be great for surveying the backyard, but it’s not as handy when it comes to windows or doorways. A wide range camera will only be able to get an intruder’s face if they look directly into it, or approach at just the right angle.
Security cameras with a range of about 45-75 degrees should be used for specifically focused areas. They’re useful for doorways, garage doors, or similar areas.
On the other hand, that wide-angle camera should be able to see about 75-180 degrees without any obstructions. These may be better for large areas like a backyard, driveway, or front yard.
Many people may be worried about a certain area around their house. Perhaps they heard someone trying the handle on the back door one night, or they’ve had trouble with vandals in their front yard or driveway.
Getting one security camera for a specific area around your home is certainly better than having none at all. But you need to cover all your bases if you want to secure your entire home. It might only take a few security cameras to cover all your home’s access points if you do it right.
It’s best to ensure that you’re not missing any spots by planning out the angles, focus, and heights of your cameras instead of just placing one at your front and back door and calling it a day.
Security cameras are an excellent addition to your home’s safety, but only if they’re placed properly. There’s nothing worse than believing you have the perfect setup, only to come home from vacation to find that your video can’t identify the thieves who broke into your home.
If you’re considering buying security cameras or other non-lethal defense products for your home, then call TBOTECH today to learn more about your options for protecting your home.
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