Outdoor Security Cameras 101

Outdoor security cameras are surveillance cameras that are placed to monitor your garden, the streets, and other areas outside your house or place of business.  They are often equipped with night vision capability and are usually weatherproof.

There are many reasons to use an outdoor security camera.  The most obvious is to observe and record what happens outside your home or office.  Some people install an outdoor camera to allow them to see who is at the door or gate without having to come out of the house, or to keep track of their backyard.

For others, they put up outdoor security cameras to discourage potential thieves from even thinking of entering their homes.  Outdoor security cameras are also useful in checking out any disturbances that might happen.  If you hear a sound or come home to a muddled backyard, simply check on the footage to see who or what caused the disturbance.

Depending on the features available, there are also other uses for an outdoor security camera.  There are outdoor security cameras that can detect motion and start recording moving objects immediately even if it is not well lit.  Using infrared illumination, can generate security footage with a clear shot to help you identify burglars.  So if you have a monitored area that is not very well lit, you can still be protected.

Because they are going to be placed outside, outdoor security cameras need to be durable enough to withstand changing weather conditions and even vandalism.  They are usually made of sturdier materials, such as metal or aluminum.

 

Where should you place outdoor security cameras?

Generally, a camera must be strategically placed in a position that gives it a clear, unobstructed view of the area you want to monitor.

However, if your aim is to prevent thieves from intruding into your home or office or to see their faces, check out some statistics from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

The InterNACHI found that around 8 out of 10 burglars enter through the first door, while more than 3 out of 10 enter through the front door.  Around 23% of thieves gain access through a window on the first floor, while another 22% enter through the back door.  Other points of entry are the garage (9%), basement and unlocked entrances (4% each), storage areas (2%), and any opening on the second floor (2%).  In the United States, about 4 burglaries occur every minute; that’s about one every 15 seconds.

If you have limited resources, installing outdoor security cameras allows you to monitor your front door, first door, first floor windows and backdoor – as these are the points of entry that burglars are more likely to target. It’s also a great idea to place a security camera on your front door to be able to see who’s knocking without having to open it.

According to Alina Bradfrod at CNET.com, outdoor cameras should be placed above the window or door frames and angled downwards, making sure the window or door area and the few feet surrounding it, are visible.  Ensure there are no blind spots where burglars can hide and stay out of the camera view as they make their way further inside the house.

Also, check your camera’s focus range.  There are cameras that have limited focus range of 45 degrees to 75 degrees.  These cameras should be trained specifically on the area you want to monitor, for instance, right at your front door.  Other cameras have a wider range and can monitor anywhere from 75 degrees to 180 degrees.  Place these cameras in areas where there are no obstructions and can keep watch over a larger area.  Better yet, get an outdoor security that rotates as it gives you the chance to view a larger coverage area.

Most importantly, keep your outdoor security cameras out of reach.  That way an intruder would not be able to smash your camera.  A good height to place your cameras at is around 10 feet or higher, making it difficult for most people to reach and smash your camera.

 

Hiding your camera or keeping it in plain view?

As mentioned before, having an outdoor security camera is a good deterrent for criminals.  This is because crimes, such as theft, are easily solved if you have a visual on the burglar.  According to the Chicago Tribune, public security cameras set up in the city helped solve approximately 4,500 crimes over a span of seven years.

An outdoor security camera makes a burglar think twice, in short.  And if they do go through with their plan, you can capture their faces. This makes it easier for the authorities to identify who they are and can be used as evidence against them.

If you want to deter criminals, there is no question that the camera should be kept in plain view.  A bullet camera is more noticeable and could serve this purpose very well.  However, doing so can make the camera vulnerable to vandalism.  Thieves would stand out of the camera’s range and reach for it or throw things to disable it.  A dome camera could possibly prevent vandalism as it is much smaller and more discreet than a bullet camera.

Another advantage of using dome cameras is that you can pan, tilt, zoom, or rotate. Outsiders would not be able to easily see where the camera is pointed. This makes it harder to tell the camera’s blind spots; for all they know the camera could be looking directly at them.  If you want to take advantage of this benefit, put up signs around your property to announce your camera, making dome cameras more noticeable.