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Key Areas to Avoid When Installing Security Cameras

Installing a security camera in a bad location can create false alerts and poor live views. It may not pick up details and, in the worst cases, could even lead to lawsuits from litigious neighbors. This article is going to show you what areas to avoid in hopes that better placement will deter crime while still maintaining a good view of your property.

Places with any expectation of privacy: You might think, "Duh" but we feel it's still worth mentioning. While you need, and most definitely want, your security camera to protect your home, the last thing you want it to do is infringe on the privacy of others. Don't risk breaking the law (and inviting lawsuits or allegations) by placing a camera where people have what the law calls a reasonable expectation of privacy. You definitely do not want to be accused of voyeurism.

In most situations, installing security cameras in your home is legal, except if they violate a person’s expected privacy. To be safe, keep cameras away from bedrooms, guest rooms, and bathrooms.

Looking directly at a neighbor's property: Be careful about positioning security cameras so that part of their view captures a neighbor's windows or backyard. Legally, those are spots where your neighbors also have a right to their own privacy, and lawsuits have resulted from much less. Jackman v. Cebrink Swartz (2021) is one such case regarding privacy in regards to a neighbor's home security camera.

That's also why you should try to avoid even the appearance of cameras that are pointing toward a neighbor's lawn or peeking into their windows.

Difficult to see locations: It might be tempting to point cameras at the spots around your home that are difficult to see. If you can't see a location from your windows or doors, intuitively it may feel possible that someone might be lurking there. You might think these hidden areas are a criminal's preferred place to break and enter. 

  • Front door: 34% of burglars twist the doorknob and walk right in.

  • First-floor windows: 23% use a first-floor open window to break into your home.

  • Back door: 22% come in through the back door.

  • Garage doors: 9% gain entrance through the garage.

  • Basement: 4% choose the basement as a point of entry.

  • Unlocked areas, sheds, and storage: Another 6% will simply try for any opening that isn’t locked down,

  • Second-floor window: A daring 2% will go for the second-story window.

So it goes without saying that the above areas is where a security camera should take priority.

Behind obstruction: When installing your cameras outdoors, allow space for tree branches to swing in the wind. Be careful of quick-growing vegetation that will require you to move your camera every so often, or tree limbs that get a lot heavier when loaded with spring leaves/flowers or even snow and will block a view. A quick trimming session may help your installation or maintain viewing integrity.

Consider your camera's range of view inside too. Will your cam see everything you want it to when interior doors are opened and closed? Avoid placing the camera in a spot where a pet might interact with it. If you place it on a shelf, will your cat knock it off? Will your dog barrel through the house and send it tumbling or change its angle? The same applies to children.

Through a window: Don't be tempted to cut cost for an indoor-only cam and think about putting it by a window so it can get a good look outside. There are two big problems with trying this.

First, windows have a glare problem, so the camera view often doesn't work when the sun is at a certain angle or when it's dark outside. Over time, dust on the window causes similar issues.

Second, the angles and area you can view through home windows are very limited. Cameras are unlikely to get a good view of key access points or a broad view of a yard or driveway.

Facing the sky: Cameras with wide fields of view sometimes include a significant portion of sky. This can create problems when the sun passes overhead and blinds the cam with glare or blocks out details with brightness. Also, frequent, direct sunlight creates a higher risk of UV (Ultra-Violet) damage and wear over time.

Getting the height wrong: A higher vantage point will give a better view of a driveway or large yard. A rechargeable camera should usually be placed in a spot that's easy to reach when the battery needs attention. Video doorbell cameras are typically installed around four feet from the bottom of the doorframe. 

You should expect to feel protected and comfortable in your space. However, crime can happen to virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime. Those without proper residential security measures are at an even greater risk. However, doing your part to protect and secure your home, like installing security cameras and working with a reputable security company, can help lower your risk of any type of home intrusion. 

For surprising home burglary facts and stats read the 2024 Forbes article in this link.


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