If you are new to video home surveillance technology, taking the plunge can seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s simple, really. The best, most comprehensive home security systems include video surveillance. Even a single security camera serves as a significant deterrent to potential criminal activity on your property. But the level of sophistication—and degree of security—provided by your system is all up to you.
Home Surveillance Tips
It begins with the security camera(s). We recommend at least one security camera for each point of access to your home. For a modest home, that might mean as few as two cameras; one to cover the front door, and one to monitor the back. Larger homes may require more cameras to cover other potential points of ingress. Burglaries typically involve access through the front or back doors, or a ground-floor window. So security cameras to monitor these windows may also make sense.
Once you’ve decided to upgrade your home’s security by installing video surveillance, you’ll need to choose the security cameras that fit your needs. There’s a wide range of camera types available, from simple bullet models, to PTV and dome cameras.
Cameras range in sophistication from fixed-focal point, indoor-use cameras, to outdoor-use weather-resistant models, to variable-focus weather-proof models. The housing protecting the camera is also an important feature.
The simplest design is the bullet. Bullet cameras may be used indoors or out-of-doors. They generally feature a fixed focus; set the camera to survey a given area of your home and that’s that. Flexible mounting hardware enables you to focus your camera exactly where you want it.
Some include infrared LEDs, which emit invisible infrared light at night. This modern feature allows your camera to “see” clearly on even the darkest of nights. During daylight hours, bullet cameras can provide full-color high-resolution imagery. Bullet cameras tend to be the most affordable options for most home owners.
PTZ stands for “Pan, Tilt, and Zoom”. These cameras provide the flexibility and control to scan a given coverage area in greater detail, at will. Panning, or moving the camera from side to side, allows you to remotely alter what the camera sees. Tilting, or moving the camera up and down, allows you to see objects or people that might otherwise remain out of view. Zooming allows you to adjust your camera’s focal length. When a movie director “goes in for a closeup” he directs the cameraman to zoom in. Zooming works like a telescope, making distant objects appear nearby.
Dome cameras are contained within a tamper-resistant, dome-shaped casing. This offers several advantages. Dome cameras are less obtrusive, provide better weather resistance, and are less susceptible to intentional damage. Most dome cameras offer PTV functionality, too. Other available options include Night Vision and high definition.
The cheapest option of all is a non-functioning fake camera
. While it doesn’t actually work, it looks just like the real thing. Some feature blinking lights to add to the illusion of a working camera that’s recording potential criminals’ every move. In many instances, that may be sufficient to deter criminal activity on your property.