Home security cameras are great at deterring crimes and capturing evidence, providing peace-of-mind that, if someone does break-in, they’ll be recorded. But once the camera gets to your house, you’ll need to find just the right spot to set it up.
Understand the criminal
To figure out where to set up your cameras, it helps to understand break-ins. If you’re buying a camera after a previous break-in, you’d be smart to point the camera at the point of entry, if you know it.
However, covering any entry doors and large windows is always a good place to start. Most burglaries are started by entering through a first-floor door or window, so if you can afford cameras to cover the major entryways, you’ll be well covered.
Play to the camera’s strengths
You’ll want to look at your camera’s specs before you place it. Cameras with wide field-of-views (FOVs) are great for covering large banks of windows or rooms, but they can lack the necessary detail for capturing far-away movement. However, tighter FOVs mean it’s easier for criminals to avoid the camera’s watchful eye.
Nightvision is another consideration. Most camera night vision works with infrared light, which is produced by the camera. However, it doesn’t always travel well across larger rooms, which means your camera may miss movement in the far corners of a room.
Similarly, consider the dynamic range of your camera. On a sunny day, a camera pointing toward a window may adjust for the outdoor light, making a criminal’s face a blurry, dark mess when reviewing the footage. If your camera's vision is washed out, try moving the camera to not look directly out of a door or window.
One camera or many?
One way to alleviate a camera’s technical limitations is to double up on devices. Getting multiple cameras means you can record more entry routes and offer more targeted coverage. However, that adds costs — not just upfront for the hardware, but also for the cloud-recording costs.
If you want to stick to one camera, consider going wide and covering valuables instead of entryways. This could be an entertainment center, a home office, a jewelry box or a theater room. While this won’t cover every item in your house, it may capture the faces of those going for highly sought-after items.
Secure the camera
A camera in and of itself can be an attractive target for thieves. While putting in security screws can deter some thieves, not everyone is so easily put off. So try mounting cameras up high, making them hard to get to without a ladder or extra work.
You can also try hiding them so criminals won’t spot them when casing or robbing your home. However, make sure your desired view is still visible. With cloud-recording tech, even if a camera is yanked off the wall, it will likely send its last bit of footage to the cloud before it goes offline.
Before you place any camera, consider testing the camera out for a weekend to make sure it’s in the right spot. You don’t want to be redrilling holes a week after you’ve set your camera up just to move it a few inches and get the right door in view.
Still shopping around? Read our review of the best home security cameras.