Most Security Cameras Are Useless

We have been led to believe that security cameras protect people and property but haven’t you ever notice that in most cases surveillance videos are viewed only after an incident occurs? Usually, after a home or business has been burglarized, vandalized or worse yet after a devastating home invasion. Burglar alarms are also toted as our first line of defense but with a 15 to 45-second alarm delay, the smash and grab artist has already burst into your homes or businesses and grabbed items and information they wanted and got away before the police arrive or your burglar alarm notifying you.

After being in the business of installing security cameras for over 15 years and reviewing hundreds of hours of surveillance video, I’ve noticed that experienced burglars and home invaders hide their faces from security cameras so they are not recognized before they are close to them. They know that using a hoodie or keeping their faces turned from camera view is their best defense. If you’re going to spend your hard earned money to buy high definition security cameras only to later watch someone break into your home or business in a high definition video replay then you’re on the losing end twice over.

Line and smart motion will alerts you only if a person or large animal enters a certain zone from a certain direction

There are 3 features today’s security camera systems must have to quickly respond to threats. You shouldn’t have to wait for an actual break-in to occur only to view the incident in hindsight. You need security cameras that are built to notify you of suspicious activity and take action on their own if you are not responding to alerts. Also, your camera system should be able to connect to third-party devices that can help ward off potential thieves with lights, irritant spray devices or sirens that can automatically turn on and off when someone enters a certain area. Voice recordings can also be activated to scare off intruders as well.
Push Notification allows security cameras to work as a perimeter alarm. When motion is detected in a camera’s view it will alert you of that motion via your mobile phone, giving you time to respond to what you see live. A security camera system with Smart Push Notification allows you to pick zones within a camera’s view so you’ll be notified only when there’s a particular type of motion within those zones. You can also set the time you want to be notified and how sensitive you want these zones to be. Also with smart push notification, you can turn on and off your alerts depending on your schedule.

When I’m doing yard work at home, I can quickly turn off the push notifications with one button on my security camera app so my phone doesn’t give me multiple notifications when I’m moving in front of my security cameras. The cameras are still recording motion but not sending an alarm to my mobile phone every time I move in front of it.
When I leave the house to go to work, I turn on the Smart Push Notification easily from the app just as most people turn on their home alarm system when they leave their home or business. When someone gets close to my front door, come up the driveway or walk into my backyard, I’m notified immediately by my phone that someone’s entered a certain zone. The app gives me an immediate choice to playback video of what just happened or view that particular security camera live. Now I have a choice to respond quickly. I can talk to that person through my phone, call a neighbor or contact the authorities before there’s a break-in.

Now that prices have fallen on smart surveillance cameras, I decided to upgrade my own home security camera system with higher resolution security cameras with the much-needed safety options. I’ve also initiated the new Line Detection feature that eliminates false alerts caused by insects and weather. As an installer and consultant, I learned the hard way over the years the importance of using the highest resolution cameras wherever possible to view and record faces, license plates, or small details of clothing or tattoos that may help authorities identify someone quickly if there’s suspicious activity near doors, windows and other areas. A weakness in home alarm and security systems is letting someone know you’re not home, besides your car not being parked out front, the lack of response from someone knocking on your front or back door gives intruders a window of opportunity to get inside of your home or business undetected by busy or absent neighbors. For that reason, I decided to upgrade my front and backdoor cameras with 2-way audio surveillance cameras. Homeowners and businesses can communicate with the mail and package delivery person and give them instructions through their mobile phones. They can also greet guests who come to either door even if they don’t ring the doorbell. Potential thieves keep moving after they’re confronted with a 2-way audio camera.

Some 2016 high definition security camera models have become IFTTT compatible (If This Then That). IFTTT allows you to connect third-party home automation and business devices that can turn on lights when someone enters a particular area or cross a line detected by the security cameras. IFTTT can easily be programmed by your installer or by yourself to turn on lights inside or outside. You can also program lights to flash brightly or in different colors using IFTT compatible light bulbs. Sprinkler systems can turn on automatically when an unwanted dog or person stands on your lawn. Line detection with motion zones can determine if the perpetrator is an innocent squirrel passing by in which you don’t want to startle to a dog doing its business and you want to get them off your lawn.

2 Megapixel HD-TVI Turret Matrix IR 2.8mm
Better Night Vision coverage with Matrix IR

Night vision on older security cameras is also my pet peeve. Advertisements about night vision on security cameras talk about how you will be able to see in the dark but they don’t tell you about its obvious limitation. Most security cameras can only view a small spotlight of an area with the infrared emitters that are attached to the cameras. Seeing out further is next to impossible unless there is something approaching that happens to be highly reflective to infrared. I’m changing out my older cameras for security cameras with separate IR matrix night vision emitters. The infrared matrix emitters spread infrared light evenly and allow security cameras to see in the dark without bad interference from poorly constructed IR diodes fixed to the cameras which sometimes give a distorted and cloudy night view.

Newer HD security camera systems also have features like people counting to give you an idea the amount of foot traffic you’re getting near your home or business. Because of these upgrades, we decided to offer security camera packages with all of these features available on all of our systems.
If you decide to purchase or upgrade your security cameras, make sure you hire an installer or programmer who can help you configure all of the options on your system that can help you protect your home or business from intruders who know to hide their faces and act quickly. Most older systems just record activity and don’t have the capacity to notify you or take action on its own. Also, make sure your cameras are IP66 rated for adverse weather and electrical spikes especially in areas with a lot of lightning strikes. Last but not least, if you don’t purchase a system from us at least make sure you get a long enough warranty to protect your investment. Cameras that are not IP66 rated usually only have a 1-year warranty. Try to get an HD security camera system with a warranty of at least 2 to 3 years.

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About Armand Lucas 82 Articles

I’ve installed security cameras and home automation systems for over 15 years. Now as a consultant, I Investigate and write about new technology as they emerge to help all of us to become more secure, independent and productive in our homes, businesses and vehicles.

2 Comments

  1. Hi…lost your number..this is Gabriel…rear camera cable from one of the 3 sets doesn’t work…cameras seem fine..can you send a procedure for having cable replaced

    • I’ll be more than happy to help you. I just emailed you instructions to have the cable checked out. If it’s a defective cable, we’ll send you a new one right away.

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