3 places you should never put a home security camera

This story is part Tips for the houseCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

The appeal of security cameras is simple: you can set them and forget them until you really need them. With a few well-placed cameras, you can keep a good eye on most of your home from a distance. As wireless technology has improved, security cameras have become more accessible. It is now possible to set up a wired or wireless security camera system that fits the needs of your home and your budget.

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But it is also possible to set up a home camera security system the wrong direction. The last thing you want to do is place a camera where it’s rendered ineffective and find out too late that its footage is useless. This guide will steer you away from camera locations to avoid and help you establish a more effective home security camera system.

Ineffective spots

You might be tempted to point cameras at hard-to-see places around your home. There’s an intuitive reason for this: if you can’t see a location from your windows or doors, someone might be hiding there. You might think that these hidden areas are a favorite place for burglars to break in.

But the fact is that most burglars enter a home by the most obvious paths. According to data collected by the security company ADT, 34% of burglars enter through the front door and 22% use a first floor window. You can imagine that these are spaces where your eyes or your neighbors can spot any malicious activity, but they are also the most used routes for burglaries. Pointing a camera at these spaces can deter a possible break-in and can help identify anyone trying to enter.

Placing a security camera in a side alley or the back of your house may seem like catching someone sneaking around, but you’re more likely to miss the action you’re planning to capture.

behind the obstacles

It might seem like a no-brainer, but camera obstructions aren’t always so obvious. Outdoors, this can mean leaving space for tree branches to sway in the wind. Watch out for fast-growing plants that will require you to move your camera every year or two.

Also consider your camera’s field of view indoors. Will your camera see everything you want when the interior doors are opened and closed? You will also want to avoid placing the camera in a location where an animal might interact with it. If you put it on a shelf, will your cat knock it over? Will an energetic dog running through the house send it tumbling or adjusting its angle? Find a spot that provides a good view of the space you want to observe and is also unlikely to be bumped by you, a guest, or your furry friend.

Privacy Violating Spots

While you want your security camera to protect your home, the last thing you want it to do is interfere with other people’s safety. For this reason, it’s important to consider privacy issues related to the location of your camera. Do not place a security camera in a bathroom or bedroom. Whatever your intentions with this camera, it risks putting anyone photographed in an awkward position and could land you in legal trouble for doing so.

Likewise, you’ll want to consider where your camera is pointing outward. For the most part, security cameras are allowed to capture public spaces like the sidewalk or the street that passes in front of your house. However, you cannot point a security camera at a private location that is not part of your property. You may also want to clarify the location of your camera with your neighbors if you think it may capture their home or activity.

As a general rule, make sure your security cameras are aimed at the areas of your home that matter most to you. You want to keep an eye on who is approaching your house and know if anyone is trying to enter. The camera is there to provide a sense of security and serve as a tool to keep you and your home safe. Make sure your cameras aren’t located in places that will render them ineffective or, worse, compromise your security.

To learn more, read other home security mistakes you can make. Learn to arrest the porch pirates, reduce the risk of car break-ins and what to keep in a safe.

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