Home Surveillance System Tips
Home Surveillance Systems
Chances are, you’ve seen our posts seeking public assistance with identifying suspects. Suspects such as DeWalt Dave, Worst Fan Ever, Cat Man, Dear Chris and many others were all identified with the assistance of security cameras and public assistance.
With that said, there are many surveillance system options for your home. Finding the right one for your residence and knowing where to properly place the cameras makes a huge difference for an investigation should you find yourself the victim of a crime. Camera surveillance systems are essential components to assisting our investigation when you have been the victim of a crime.
Ring, Arlo, Nest and Blink are the four big ones most people are familiar with and ones that are often reliable versus knockoff brands and versions available online that are cheaper.
Wired vs Wireless
Most major name brand systems come with two options. Wired and wireless systems. Both have their pros and cons. In terms of ease of use and DIY installation, wireless systems are very easy to install with nothing but a screwdriver and they get up and running very quickly. Wired systems require more technical knowledge and skill to install overall and take longer to install. For most people, we recommend a wireless system that runs on batteries due to their ease of installation and flexibility that they provide should you need/want to move your cameras to a new location.
Motion Detection and Scheduling
Most systems offer motion activation so that they are always on but only recording when activated by motion. Many systems allow you to set the zone for the motion detection within the frame view of the camera. Wind, wildlife and other things may set these off causing you to turn them off to avoid the false alarms. Remember to always turn them back on if you manually shut them off. Also remember to keep an eye on the battery and to keep them charged. Most camera systems offer a scheduling option to which allows you to set times for when you cameras are active such as when you’re away at work or sleeping.
When you’re looking to put the cameras up, the layout of your property plays into the placement. The cameras must be within range of your WiFi. Before mounting the camera, turn the camera on to make sure it’s in range and that the signal is strong enough. If you have a large yard or property, this comes into play more so than a typical house in a residential neighborhood. Also be sure to check for obstructions such as bushes, railings or other objects that may block the cameras point of view before you spend the time to install the camera mounting bracket only to find out it won’t work in the initial location you had chosen. Other areas such as spots where a tarp, vehicle cover, tall vegetation or other objects may blow in the wind or from a lot of movement from pets such as an outdoor kennel are not ideal spots for cameras if you are using the motion detection feature. In these spots, try to mount the camera in the best location to where you will be able to see the area you’re concerned with and set the motion detection zone to just that area to avoid false alarms.
Make sure that the cameras are placed high enough that they can’t be tampered with by burglars or trespassers but not so high as to not be able to capture everything you need it to. A camera placed high on a porch wall or house wall will only capture the top of someone’s head. Having it at a lower but unreachable height without the assistance of a ladder or stool will assist with capturing better footage.
We have had burglars steal home surveillance cameras in the past. The plus side was that we got a super closeup of their face since the camera sent the footage via WiFi to the cloud.
If you have a gated property, having coverage at any typical points of entry is of great benefit. Placing “Under Video Surveillance” or other similar signage at entrances and around your property acts as a potential deterrence for some but not all criminals.
Typically, you want to have the following areas covered.
Garage or Storage Shed
Overall, anywhere there is an access point to your residence, where you vehicles are kept or where you store items outside in garages or sheds should be covered. Most modern camera systems let you use multiple cameras either for free or for a monthly fee. Some systems also offer home alarm monitoring and have all-inclusive packages to monitor your cameras, alarm system and fire alarm system. The more you add in, the more it costs but the more coverage you have.
Help Us Out
If you have a camera system or are thinking about getting one, consider joining the Ring Neighbors app. The Neighbors app works with all camera brands and does not have to be Ring specific camera(s). User’s identities and exact locations are kept anonymous on the app. There is a feed similar to Facebook where you can post your footage and information/concerns. We actively monitor this app and also put out requests for footage on it when we have incidents in which surveillance footage might be of use to our investigations.
Surveillance footage is always an extremely valuable piece of evidence for us from the most minor of crimes to the most major of crimes. It gives us a starting point for our investigations and if an arrest is made, gives us the crime itself on video to present with the case to the prosecutor for charges.