After deciding that my family needed security cameras, it was time to decide how many would be enough. For context, we live in a subdivision just off a busy street in a medium sized city. Our house is a corner lot and our backyard is facing a busy street. The backyard is fenced in, and we have a dog. Also, we have a good relationship with our next-door neighbors. I decided that we would buy two cameras, to start, one facing our front door/ garage, and a second on the street side. The cameras display a spot light when motion is detected, record both audio and video for around 30 seconds. Also, the motion triggers a push notification that is sent to my phone, and the recording is sent to cloud storage.
“How many security cameras do I need?” In theory, you should have a minimum of one security camera per entrance. Entrances include doors and garage(s). According to NACHI, 65% of burglars enter a home through the front door, back door, or garage. In practice, it depends on a number of factors, including:
- Monthly cost
- Initial investment
- Blind spots
- Additional security features
In this blog post will look at all of the variables mentioned above to give you a better idea of the number of security cameras you may need for your home.
Initial investment, or how much can you spend upfront to purchase the needed security cameras, can be the biggest hurdle to people new to security cameras. In addition, there may be a fear that you are buying technology that will be outdated in six months.
The cool thing about the residential security camera market is the prices have come down so much that you can purchase a basic, little featured, camera for less than 50 dollars. Of course, as you add features, the price will increase, but not by much. You can still find quality security cameras for 100 dollars be camera.
Here are a few highly rated cameras under $100:
- Gakov Wireless IP Camera
- XLHLKP Wireless Security Camera
- B-Bonnie Wireless Camera
Even though technology is evolving every 6 to 18 months, the security camera you purchase should serve its purpose for many years. The camera you purchase today will still be able to record day and night, and record audio. Currently the improvements in the security camera market are incremental features (facial recognition), and megapixel upgrades. Currently, you do not need to purchase cameras with these features to capture great audio and video.
Another factor in determining the number of security cameras to purchase is the possibility of a recurring monthly charge. These costs are usually associated with cloud storage, or a monthly fee to “manage” our security cameras. Some of these fees very based on the number of cameras you have on the account.
For example, Ring, one of my security cameras, charges a monthly or yearly fee based on the number of devices you have connected to the cloud account. I chose this service because of the additional features, recoding capabilities, and that I already have a doorbell with Ring.
The good news is that you do not need to purchase additional services at a monthly or yearly cost to have enough cameras to meet your needs. There are both cloud storage and local storage (stored at a physical location) options at no additional cost. The most common local storage option is Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). In the past CCTV systems kept saved recordings on a hard drive on location (think gas stations). Newer CCTV systems are providing both local and cloud storage.
Here are some examples of paid, free, and local storage options:
- Ring Spotlight Cam: cloud storage, monthly charge
- Blink XT: cloud storage, no monthly charge
- Anni Security security Camera systems: local storage, no monthly storage
For the purposes of this blog post, I consider blind spots, areas in and around your home that are completely dark and void of any light at night. For example, areas of your home that have angles that point in, and not out. Another blind spot could be around a fence. A fence that is six feet high can easily hide a burglar walking along side it.
I also consider inside of a garage to be a blind spot. There are many places someone could sit inside of the garage undetected. If your garage door doesn’t have a motion sensor, it could be the darkest room in your house.
To prove this theory, stand in your garage at 10:00 pm, with all lights turned off. This theory only works if you don’t have a window in your garage. Having a window may be even more reason to have a camera inside of the garage!
- Where is your house located?
- Is your house located in the woods, with one way in and out?
- Is your home located on a busy street?
- Do you live in an apartment complex?
- Do you live in a high or low crime area?
These are all questions you should consider when deciding how many security cameras you need.
Like blind spots and location, what type of environment are you looking to observe and record? Is your house on a mountain or built into a hill? Do you live in an area that has dense fog daily? Will your cameras face due East or West? How high will you have to mount the camera for it to observe and record? How far do you need to record?
Consider the example in which your camera will face due East? How long will the camera be obstructed when the sun rises every day? For example, one of my cameras face south, and for half the year I do not get great recordings and a lot of false positives. The sub blocks the top half of the camera, and my camera sees “motion” when the sun is covered or uncovered by clouds.
Consider the following questions when deciding the number of cameras, you need:
- Do I have a walk-in basement?
- Are is there a deck or walkout covering an entrance.
- Do you have an escape window in your basement?
- Are there any bushes in front of your windows that can make it difficult to break in?
- Alternatively, is there any landscaping that would make it difficult for someone to hide?
The neighbors on your block maybe the biggest determination of the number of security cameras needed for your home. For example, I live in on a street in which six of the nearest ten houses have a stay at home parent. In addition, we have a good relationship with the neighbors directly next to our house as well as directly across.
When we went on our honeymoon, our next-door neighbor recorded the truck that was parked outside of our house. The truck was my dad, but it was nice to see that they are aware of what is happening at our house.
Other questions to consider:
- Do your neighbors have security cameras?
- Are any of your neighbors stay at home workers or parents?
- Do your neighbors have a fence?
- Do your neighbors have kids?
It may be worth your time, and money, to build a good relationship with your neighbors.
Additional security features
.You may need more or less security cameras depending on pets that live in the home, fence type and height, or landscaping.
According to Kuna, here is a list of the ten best dog breeds for home security:
- Belgian Mallinois
- Doberman Pincher
- German Shepherd
- Giant schnauzer
- Great Pyrenees
- Pit bull
- Siberian husky
If you have one of these pets, then you may not need as many security cameras. On the other hand, if your pet is a welcome may, you may want to purchase more!
Do you already have a burglar alarm system? According to alarms.org, “homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be burglarized.”
To conclude, the number of security cameras you need varies slightly. You should have a minimum of 3, one for every entrance. You should be able to find some quality security cameras that meets your needs at an affordable price. In addition, you can find cameras that do not require an additional monthly cost, but additional costs usually provide an additional level of service.
Also, consider the architecture, location, and environment of your home. If you live on a mountain surrounded by trees, you may not need as many as someone that lives on a busy street in a large city. Finally, neighbor’s way be an unexpected way to increase your security. Burglars tend to rob homes during the day, and having people around and watching can help to reduce perceived opportunity.
- Where is the best place to put security cameras? You should place security cameras facing doors and garages. As mentioned above, 65% of burglars gain entrance through the front door, back door, or garage. You should also place security cameras in or around blind spots. Blind spots include fence lines, “inverted” right angles, and places that receive little to no light at night.
- How many cameras for home security? It is recommended that you have one security camera for every primary entrance. Most homes have one front door, one back door, and garage. For a home set up in this manor, you should have at least 3 cameras. Additional cameras may be needed based on environment, architecture, and blind spots.