Recent data reveals that 3 out of 4 American homes will be victim to burglary in the next 20 years. As such, securing your home with state-of-the-art gear is of critical importance. One of the most common forms of security for any home is a security camera. Security cameras positioned around your home can act as a deterrent to burglars whether you are home or not, and – more importantly – provide evidence in the event your home is burglarized.
Whether you choose wired or wireless security cameras, having the right placement and position for your gear is paramount to its success. To aid with this, we have put together this simple guide for security camera positioning around your house, explaining the do’s and don’ts of security camera installation and positions.
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Focus on the vulnerable points of entry
Not everyone is able to install security cameras that cover every single part of the home, which is why you should focus on the most important points of entry first. 79% of break-ins happen via either the front door, a first floor window, or the back door. These are the most vulnerable areas, and statistically the most likely to be the point of entry.
If you install cameras that cover all of these areas, you will be able not only to monitor what is happening, but provide evidence in the event that someone does burglarize – or attempts to burglarize – your home.
- Do: Do install cameras at the most vulnerable entry points, which include the front door, back door, and first floor window.
- Don’t: Do not put them low enough that a burglar or vandal can easily reach them, cover them, break them, or vandalize them.
Cover the right angles at the right height
When you install cameras, you need to make sure they are high enough, so that burglars can’t just reach up and knock them down, cover them with spray paint, or vandalize them in any other way. A good rule of thumb is to install cameras eight to ten feet off the ground. They also need to be installed in an area where they can be angled to provide the best coverage. This might include the apex of an A-frame garage to cover the front yard, or installation on a supporting beam opposite of your front door, in order to provide coverage of the front door.
If you are unable to cover every single potential point of entry in your home, and remove any potential blind spots, one method of reconciliation is to install a camera at second-story height – it will provide a much wider field-of-view. However, take note – placing a camera too high can make it hard to figure out details such as the physical appearance of the person, or their behavior.
- Do: Install cameras high, so they not only provide a better vantage point and angles, but they are harder to reach. A rule of thumb is to install at a height of eight to ten feet off the ground.
- Don’t: Don’t place a camera inside your house looking out: if it is behind a glass window that gets direct sunlight, this can create a great deal of glare or even block out the footage.
A common mistake is to invest in cameras and install them at the right angles and the right height, only to realize too late that the cameras don’t have night vision features. If your cameras don’t have night vision, they won’t be able to clearly record anything happening at night. If this is the case, you can compensate with additional lighting around your property.
Incidentally, the more lighting you have around your property at night, the better your overall property security will be. Similarly, if your cameras are placed too closely to bright lights, it can disrupt the picture and distort the surveillance you receive. So make sure you test the cameras and the camera angles to account for lighting. It might benefit you to review the data that is recorded at various hours of the day, and if the lighting becomes problematic, consider installing the cameras in different places, depending on the season.
- Do: Give enough lighting and enhancement features to the security gear you choose so that you can record clearly.
- Don’t: Do not forget that, unless you have night vision settings on the security cameras, they won’t be able to record data properly.
Visible vs Hidden
A question that gets asked a lot is whether to keep your video surveillance clearly visible or hidden. The answer will mainly depend on what is the primary function of your cameras.
Visible cameras can be a great deterrent for potential burglars, making them reconsider your property as a burglary target. They can also offer a wider view range, and are much less likely to have their view obstructed in any way. On the flip side, they are an easy target for vandalism, especially by burglars disabling them to record the crime.
Hidden cameras are discreet and can provide footage of unsuspecting perpetrators. They are great for providing proof of illegal actions, but you need to consider the legal implications of recording people without them knowing – especially if you are monitoring a workplace.
- Do: Consider the primary function of your surveillance system and choose visible or hidden cameras accordingly.
- Don’t: Install hidden cameras without considering your local laws and regulations for video surveillance systems.
Decoys can be useful
If you live in an area that has a main hallway or a long staircase leading to your home, it might be more difficult to get the right lighting, ideal installation height, or possibly a good Wifi signal strength for wireless cameras. In situations like these, it might be good to consider decoy cameras.
If you do install decoy cameras, it’s important to couple them with serviceable security cameras.
While there may seem to be advantages with dummy cameras, there are some significant disadvantages to keep in mind, one of them being that they are easy to detect, and that they are useless in the event of a break-in.
- Do: Have backup measures in place, be it an on call security team or hidden cameras.
- Don’t: Rely only on the cameras as your sole source of security. Consider other security parameters as a backup.
When securing the gear, you might notice the structures around your home are not as tight or strong as you thought, especially window frames that have pulled away from the structure over the years, or doors that stick out a bit. Now is the time to make minor improvements to the security and structural integrity of your home, to ensure the security gear is able to do its job while your points of entry do theirs. This will go a long way toward securing the cameras safely for the long-term.