If you are looking at protecting your family and property, there are many options available. From home security alarm systems to video cameras, making a choice can be difficult. If you aren't technologically savvy, the task can be even more stressful.
We're Partial To Video
Video recordings tell the whole story and show who is involved when it comes to crimes. The video is better than an eye-witness and is excellent when it comes to documenting the crime, and pursuing after the suspects. While alarms are a great deterrent and can notify you and us of a crime, a video shows us the crime and/or the criminals.
Although we can not endorse a particular product, we would like to offer some tips when selecting a camera.
Look for a camera that requires little to no installation. Some come with stands to allow you to place the camera on a desk, bookshelf, counter or fireplace mantle, while at the same time having the capability to be installed on a wall or under a ledge.
Power and Connectivity
Wherever you plan on placing the camera, make sure you have a power source nearby. Since many of the cameras we are describing in this article are wireless, make sure the WiFi signal at the point where you are placing the camera has a good signal.
Smartphone or Computer Accessible
Want to view your camera from a remote location? If so, you will need one that has that capability built into it. The cameras we've played with have smartphone apps which you can download for free, and operate your camera from anywhere you have cell service or an internet connection.
Live Video and Audio
Some systems have the capability to monitor the camera in real-time, as well as listen to anything going on inside the location where the camera is installed. One particular camera we've seen has the ability to allow the user to speak through the computer or cell phone app and into the room where the camera is installed, through a little speaker on the camera.
Look for a camera which will send you an alert when there is either motion or a sound heard in the area where the camera is installed.
It would be pretty bad if your camera and the recording device was stolen or destroyed during a crime, right? Look for a camera which sends the recordings or backup files to an off-site location or a cloud server. This way, if they steal the camera, you still have the recording.
Compatible Video File
There are two problems we encounter with video recordings of crimes. The first problem is the format of the video file. Although it appears this issue is diminishing, please purchase a camera which will render a common video format, such as .mp4. This will allow us to view the video on almost any type of electronic device.
Camera Angle or Position
While we understand many people mount cameras high up on a wall or under a ledge, we would prefer a location more level with a person's face. We know this can be difficult, however, there are plenty of options which will allow you to install the camera in a secure housing.
Although many cameras can record during darkness, we have found the better recordings are those in which there was a light illuminating the area. Motion sensing lights are excellent for an exterior location where your cameras will be recording. However, make sure to test the location first to make sure you don't get a glare in the camera from the lights.
Sometimes purchasing one or two cameras for the same price as a bundled 4, 6 or 8 camera package is far better. We would rather have a great, crisp and clear recording from a high-quality camera as opposed to multiple, poor-quality recordings.
Reveal or Hide?
Should you hide the camera so no one sees it, or should you put it out for all to see. Our suggestion is to place the cameras in plain view and place plenty of signs and/or stickers on the property notifying people you are recording. We have known plenty of people who have avoided being a victim because the criminals didn't want anything to do with a location which had video cameras. Patrol officers have literally heard criminals say, "Why would I hit that house with all the cameras they have?"
There are plenty of websites you can visit to give you more in-depth information about cameras. We wanted to simply tell you what patrol officers see and know when they are investigating crimes with video evidence.