Exploring the Effectiveness of Home Security Cameras

Written by | Updated July 22, 2016

If you already have a security system, it may seem redundant to have security cameras. After all, if a security system is supposed to keep out intruders in the first place, ideally, you wouldn’t have to use cameras to catch any burglars. Unfortunately, sometimes intruders do break into your home, even when you have a security system. Sometimes you forget to arm your system but your camera’s on, or sometimes thieves don’t realize you have a silent system, or sometimes thieves are just plain arrogant. There are also many other uses for security cameras, besides catching burglars, such as seeing who’s at your door or checking up on kids or pets. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and uses of security cameras.

Security Cameras at Work

In some cases, security cameras catch intruders right away, and in other cases it takes more time and police investigation to catch an intruder. Here are a couple examples in which home security cameras have proved useful:

UPS thief caught on camera.

In December, a UPS worker in Texas was caught on camera stealing an iPad, which was a father’s Christmas gift for his daughter. This savvy dad, Al, had put up a camera, monitoring his front door, and when he later reviewed the footage, it was clear what had happened. When UPS didn’t respond to customer service calls, Al posted the video on YouTube, which got their attention, and ultimately, the iPad was returned.

Burglar caught almost instantly.

While the video of the UPS thief wasn’t seen until after the crime, when you have a live camera feed that alerts you when it senses motion, you can sometimes catch burglars in the act. One day, New York City resident Levent Centiner was sitting at his office desk when he starting receiving emails with live images from his wireless infrared camera that he had set up with motion detection. Upon receiving the images, Centiner called 911 and the burglar was caught then and there. Centiner is now an open advocate for everyone setting up security cameras in their homes.

Tips for Using Cameras

There are certainly ways to maximize the effectiveness of your security cameras:

-Get a camera with a live feed and instant text or email alerts

-A motion-sensor security camera often works best

-A night camera will allow you to see crooks at night

-Invest in a good camera, so you can get high-quality images

-Put cameras on both your front and back doors

-Place cameras in areas of the home where burglars would have to walk

-Use both discreet and obvious cameras

-Supplement your real cameras with fake ones if you’re on a budget

Uses for Cameras

With the right security package, you can view live surveillance footage from your smartphone or any other web-enabled device, no matter your location. Your camera can prove useful in many instances besides home intrusions:

-Make sure your pets are okay while you’re at work

-Check in on the nanny or babysitter while you’re out

-Say hi to your kids when they get home

-Check on your baby from another room in the home

-Keep an eye on the kids while you’re busy cooking or cleaning

-See who’s at the door before getting up to answer it

When it comes to home security, extra measures never hurt. Sometimes, a thief will completely avoid a home because of the dreaded security cameras and home security system. Other times, a more arrogant burglar might try to break into your home anyway, but if you have instant notifications, you’ll know about it immediately, you can notify the police, and you’ll have video evidence in case it’s needed. Please let us know what your experiences have been with security cameras in the comments.

Written by Hillary Johnston

A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more

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