When buying a good a home security system generally speaking it is a good idea to ask yourself the following three questions:
1.) Am I trying to prevent and intruder?
2.) Am I trying to apprehend and intruder?
3.) Where can I get help me after I leave the store?
There are literally thousands of different home security system types, makes and model reviews. Yet there are very few suggestions on installation strategies.
Over the years, I have installed hundreds of systems and experience has taught me to incorporate these basic principles into my purchasing decision when shopping around for a home security system.
The following process can be very helpful while saving you valuable time and money along the way.
Often times there is a life changing event or situation in or around our home that makes us think about home security. For me it was a combination of three things, increased crime in our area, a stranger walking into my neighbors home and having children.
Growing up, I am sure that many of us have been exposed to crime in one shape or the other. For me, it was not uncommon for someone to say their home had been broken into so we were told to make sure to lock our doors and secure our windows at night by our parents.
As an adult working and living on my own, I could not help but feel uneasy about my wife being home alone when I was away at work.
One day when I got home from work, my neighbor came over and told me a stranger walked into his house. He looked at the stranger and told him to get out, but the stranger sat down on his couch and acted like he had been there before saying things like “Don’t you remember me? I was here before.”
Fortunately, after repeatedly being told to leave by my neighbor the stranger left his home without incident. As you can imagine this was a scary situation for him and everyone in our immediate area. It was even more scary to think that my neighbors wife is the one who would normally be home at that time and for some strange reason she just so happen to have had a swap and change in schedule that day leaving my neighbor home instead of her.
As a security system installer I decided I had to secure our area as best as I could and I had to do it soon. In our situation I wanted to minimize the likelihood of an intruder and prevent this from happening again.
Simply put, prevention basically equates to camera positioning and presentation.
Placing your cameras in an area where there is high visibility will have a greater preventative influence over in intruder than a camera that is not clearly visible.
The saying “when one door is closed, many more are open” reminds me of how to get inside the mind of an intruder. If they see a house with an open or unlocked door it will be easier for them to get into than a house that has several cameras in plain sight and signs that say “THIS AREA MONITORED BY VIDEO SURVEILLANCE.”
We walked by a house like that the other day and my son said “Look at all the cameras Daddy, they must be watching us walk by.” I smiled and explained to my son that an intruder must think the same thing when they see this type of house.
In addition to camera placement, if you are able to purchase signs this will add an extra layer of psychological security that basically places a grain of doubt in your intruders mind.
A home that has numerous security cameras and several “Notice: All activities monitored by video” signs in plain sight can convey the following message into the thought patterns of anyone who sees them:
“I am currently being recorded right now.”
“Someone may be monitoring these cameras right now.”
This is a powerful message that acts as a mental barrier and strong mechanism for prevention.
For my home, because I live in a high crime area with a homeless camp situated in close proximity to my home. I placed my cameras and signs in plain sight so no one can not miss them as soon as they approach my house.
Disclaimer: I have nothing against the homeless and security cameras alone will not guarantee that an intruder will not enter your home. The strategy here is merely to create numerous layers of prevention in an effort to deter a potential intruder no matter their current living condition.
Parenting is difficult, there is no question about it. In this day and age there are literally thousands of potential threats to your family both inside and outside of your home.
Being that this is the unfortunate reality of our times, being able to capture someone doing wrong in or around your home can play a major roll in their apprehension.
To accomplish this task place your cameras in covert locations rather than right out in the open. Seems simple enough in theory but application of this strategy is also dependent upon the numerous variables of the potential wrong doing.
Here are a few examples of situations where you may need to position your cameras inconspicuously:
A.) You are wondering if your baby sitter may be hurting your child.
B.) You suspect that someone may be taking items out of your home.
C.) You have teenagers who are often home alone.
Being a parent you have many rolls one is providing the other is protecting. As a father for me one of the most critical things I found I need to do was ensure that my family is safe. Inconspicuous or hidden cameras help us protect our families.
A close friend of mine went through a very difficult situation in which their baby did not seem right after they returned home from work and took over for their baby sitter. His baby was only a few months old and could not say what was wrong. The only clue they had was unusual sleep and crying patterns.
Although he has cameras outside of his home, he did not have cameras inside of his home so he only had the word of his baby sitter do go by. As such, he installed hidden cameras in his home.
The cameras helped him discover that fortunately, his child was not being physically abused. Sadly though, his sitter had been neglecting his baby through out the day paying more attention to the phone and Television than his child.
After Purchase Support
Purchasing a home security system being on a budget with a family of six I could not rationalize nor afford the monthly monitoring service that comes with many large home security companies like ADT, Vivint and Simpli safe. Nothing against each company, I just could not justify the extra expense every month when I could do it on my own.
For me, I have found that purchasing a home security system online is a lot easier than from my local Best Buy, Costco’s or Sam’s Club. My decision was based upon the cost of the unit and the cost of the extended warranty.
My goal was to purchase a 16 channel DVR system with 8 cameras. The reason for this is I wanted room for expansion with additional camera channels.
The following is a list of links to support information for the brands of DVR security systems I have personally installed and worked on:
Manufacturer: Lorex Technology
Technical Support Link: https://www.lorextechnology.com/support/
Technical Support Link: https://www.openeye.net/support
Technical Support Link: https://support.q-see.com/hc/en-us
Manufacturer: Samsung Electronics
Technical Support Link: https://www.samsung.com/us/support/smart-home/security
Technical Support Link: https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us
Technical Support Link: https://www.swann.com/us/contact-tech-support
Although this list does not include off market brands or high end commercial grade security systems, for home and small to mid cap installations the above contact information has been very useful. With each link there is additional information and resources in the event that you are seeking information for your existing or more powerful security systems.
Mounting and Pulling Wires
I had to install the system in my home which entailed pulling the camera wires throughout mounting the cameras both inside and outside my home.
For the cameras, each mounting point had to meet two positioning prerequisites:
1.) Point the lense towards the direction of another camera on the perimeter of thehome.
2.) Mount the camera within sixty feet distance of the DVR.
Maintaining constant continuity between my cameras and my DVR system is of the utmost importance to me. Wireless cameras are great, but as with any device that is connected via wireless, it runs a higher risk of being disconnected due to signal interference.
The last thing I want is for my cameras to be out of pair at a time when I need them the most. In one commercial installation I did, to cut cost the owner insisted that they have wireless cameras installed in part of their store rather than pay for extra cabling.
Unfortunately the wireless camera kept losing pair with the DVR due to high interference from other signals in the area. What made matters even worst was their store was robbed during a period where their cameras has lost pair with the DVR and there was no video evidence to help the police identify the suspects.
Whatever installation you choose is up to you. I just prefer wired cameras over wireless cameras.
Installations I have done require the use of a staple gun and or Velcro strips. You could also use sticky mounts and zip ties for additional cable management but that all depends on your preference and the structure of your home.
Drywall may need a different type of mounting mechanism over wood and cement. In my home there is a combination of wood and Drywall. As such I used sticky pads with Velcro in some areas and staples in others.
This is probably one of the most overlooked yet important strategy in camera installation. When positioning the image video feed of your camera trying to ensure that each camera points towards the other cameras blind spot.
For example, in the image below you’ll find a map of a house. You can also, can see that we planned the positioning of each camera around the house so that one camera points towards and covers the blind of the other camera all the way around the property:
Once I purchased and installed my unit, my objective switched to remote monitoring configuration. In my case I purchased a Lorex camera system and setup got tricky so rather than contact Lorex directly, I called Sam’s Club Tech Experts. Costco’s also has a similar service called Costco Concierge.
Tech support is a service that many people do not realize comes with their Sam’s Club or Costco’ s membership. Their technicians assist customers with items that in many cases are not even purchased in there. The reason for this is the paid membership. Free technical support is a benefit of and comes with your monthly membership fees.
Even though I work with computers by trade, I called Sam’s Club Tech Experts to help me setup text and email motion alerts on my system. Yes, I could have figured it out myself, but I am a big proponent of saving time. If I can save a days research and learning by talking to someone in tech support for twenty or thirty minutes, I will do it.
One thing to note with setting up text and email alerts on your own is the motion detection settings of your DVR.
When your motion detection settings are always on, you will receive texts and email alerts as soon as your DVR detects any movement. This may fill your text and inbox with alerts all throughout the day and can be quite annoying to say the least.
Instead I configured my text and email alerts for certain times and cameras at certain entry points of my home with minimal movement triggers throughout the day. This cut back on the huge influx of texts and emails I received and helps me ensure that any alert I get is significant and not merely our neighborhood cat walking by.
Once your home security system has been installed, there is a higher sense of security in knowing that you have an extra pair of eyes watching your family and property twenty four hours a day. Whether you are an experienced professional or just looking for ways to make sure your home is safe, installing a home security system can be a quite reassuring investment.