Should I Install Security Cameras In My Home?

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This article comes from Angie’s List.

Should I Install Security Cameras In My Home?

If you’ve considered adding cameras to your home’s security arsenal, check out the different kinds of camera options available.

DVR, Wi-Fi and other security cameras

These are some of the different kinds of cameras you can use to watch over your home:

DVR-based cameras: DVR-based security cameras can cost as little as $70, or several hundred dollars. The cost depends on the number of cameras, and whether they include additional features, such as high definition and night vision. Keep in mind that a burglar could potentially break in and take the DVR console, gaining access to the footage.

Cloud-based, Wi-Fi cameras: Cloud-based cameras connect to a Wi-Fi signal and store images in the cloud, which you can stream on a smartphone or computer. Cameras sold by companies such as Nest Labs and Samsung cost between $180 and $200. Nest Cam lets users stream feeds for free, or purchase storage for a monthly fee. Ten days of storage costs $9 per month, while 30 days of storage costs $30 per month.

Hidden cameras: Hidden cameras keep your recording devices inconspicuous. Options include pen cameras that fit in a shirt pocket, or cameras that resemble alarm clocks, water bottles and light bulbs. Prices range from less than $100 to several hundred dollars.

Security camera pros

Adding security cameras can provide extra layers of protection for your home.

Greg Barker, president of San Ramon, Calif.-based California Security Pro, says cameras will likely deter local neighborhood burglars. If someone living in your area was going to rob you, they’d probably steer clear of cameras because homeowners will recognize them.

When you do choose a security camera, be sure to have it verified.

According to Barker, most alarm companies won’t send police unless it’s verified through audio that it’s a true emergency. It’s easier and quicker to confirm a break-in if you have cameras, so you or the alarm company can call the authorities with confidence.

Security camera cons

But security cameras can’t guarantee no one will break into your home.

Barker says many break-ins aren’t perpetrated by local residents, so those burglars are less concerned about cameras. He says he’s seen many cases where thieves look right at a security camera, but still burglarize the home.

Cameras also don’t guarantee you’ll catch the thief.

Barker says a lot of customers want cameras so they can find out who’s breaking in, but even if the footage captures their face, that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be caught. “Most people want to get cameras because something happened,” he says. “If you’re doing that, you need to look at your purpose of having it. If you’re trying to protect your home, what [else] have you done?” He says it’s much more effective to first install an alarm system for basic home security, then add cameras.

Loss of privacy can also be a concern.

Tony Stompanato, sales director at Chicago-based Alert Protective Services, says posting cameras in and around your home, even if you’re monitoring them yourself, could make some family members feel like they’ve lost privacy in a “big brother is watching you” kind of way.

However, Stompanato adds that people are so accustomed to cameras being everywhere, he thinks the benefits of the systems outweigh this.

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