Deter break-ins, especially local ones. 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.
Choose cameras specific to your needs.Tony Stompanato, sales director at Chicago-based Alert Protective Services, says his company offers two types of cameras. One type uses a digital video recorder (DVR) and allows homeowners to record continually. These camera systems can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 for one camera, because you must purchase the DVR.
The other camera type records short clips, such as a 30-second video. Stompanato says the clips are valuable for young families, because parents can record when their child comes home from school and have the clip sent to their phone by email or text message. These systems cost $300 to $400 for a single camera.
Verify your alarm system. 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.
No guarantee someone won’t break in. 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.
It doesn’t mean you’ll catch them. 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. Stompanato 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.