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The statistics are chilling. In 2017, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, more than 1.4 million burglaries took place in the United States. These break-ins cost an estimated total of $3.4 billion in stolen property, with an average loss of $2,416.
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to protect yourself, your home and family. Like all predators, burglars tend to go for the easiest prey. They prefer “soft” targets to “hard” targets. That is, they want to be able to get in and out of a place quickly and easily without being seen by anyone.
Many common-sense options for theft deterrence exist. Some will cost you little or nothing but can be extremely effective in deterring crime. For instance, leaving the lights or TV on when you are not at home can prevent break-ins, as can doing everything you can to make your home look lived in even when you are away. Don’t leave empty trash cans on the curb, for instance, or allow uncollected mail to pile up in your mailbox.
Many other options are also available, from home security cameras to alarm systems. Like computers and other electronic gadgets, cameras just keep on getting better even as they come down in price. If you’re thinking about using one or more cameras inside or outside your home, class is in session for Home Security Camera 101: Where to Place Them and How They Work?
Are CCTV cameras and other security cameras really effective? The answer is a resounding yes. Burglars avoid places with them. One study found that 60 percent of convicted thieves look for video surveillance before they attempt a break-in.
Property owners seem to agree. One prediction forecasts the market for home security cameras will grow to $9.7 billion by 2023.
It’s little wonder. Besides deterring crime, these cameras can also help catch and prosecute crooks by identifying them if they trespass on, lurk around or attempt to or actually break into your property. With the increasing popularity of buying online, these cameras also provide a smart way to deter or catch “porch pirates” who steal packages that have been delivered by FedEx, UPS or the USPS.
In addition, these cameras just keep getting better and cheaper. Some cameras provide live-streaming and can be monitored from practically anywhere with just a laptop or smartphone. Discounts are available from some insurance companies and homeowners’ associations for property owners who have cameras.
Unlike the clunky cameras of old, modern cameras can be practically invisible. Video doorbells can show and record the faces of strangers who come to your door. You can have your cameras installed by professionals, if you like. Many are so simple to place and operate, however, that DIYers are increasingly doing installations themselves.
Of course, some homeowners prefer larger cameras that can be easily seen and act as a deterrent. In fact, are available at an even lower price than real ones and can provide significant deterrence. For about the price of a medium pizza, you can purchase one of these dummy cameras to scare off intruders.
When a real security camera is installed, preferably in a high or inconspicuous place where the bad guys won’t be able to easily disable it, you’ll want to be sure it is on. A camera can’t alert you to a problem or identify an attempted break-in or successful burglar if it is turned off or malfunctioning.
If you have a pan-tilt camera, all you have to do is check to see it’s moving. For other types of cameras, a variety of methods will let you know if your camera is doing its job. Check the power indicator to make sure the camera is turned on. You should also look at the camera to make certain a steady red light is on. That will mean your camera is functioning.
You can also check your camera by looking for infrared light coming from it. Simply hold something up in front of the camera to see if red light is reflected. Your monitor, computer, smartphone and other electronic devices provide other ways to see if your camera is streaming or recording.
First, make sure to place your camera where burglars can’t get to it to disable it. This usually means the highest point possible where the camera will still provide a useful view of the premises. Experts often recommend positioning a camera about 9 feet above the ground.
Most burglars — about 34 percent, according to studies — break into homes via the front door, so reinforcing that part of your house with cameras (real or fake!) is a great place to start.
First-floor windows are the next most popular break-in points, followed closely by back doors. These also make strategic spots to deploy cameras, standalone alarms, and other security measures like door stop bars.
Garages and basements are used less often but still can be entry points for break-ins. If you are looking for extra protection, it’s smart to install home security systems or standalone alarms for these weak spots.
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