It’s important to consider the location of your security cameras carefully. While you might think you have every area covered, you’ll also want to make sure your cameras are close enough to the potential action to capture shots that let you identify people and vehicles.

RELATED: Wired Security Cameras vs. Wi-Fi Cams: Which Ones Should You Buy?

Security camera systems are pretty effective deterrents for keeping thieves and burglars away. They are also useful after the fact for helping to identify the culprits, but only if you’ve properly located them so that they’re close enough to get a good capture of a face or license plate. Otherwise, you’ll only be capturing basic details about people and vehicles.

Here are some tips to consider for your security camera system so that you’ll not only capture activity but hopefully some useful information for the police.

Make Sure Your Cameras Can Record High-Quality Video

Most modern security cameras advertise the ability to record in 1080p HD, which is great, but that’s only one factor of video quality. You also want your cameras to have as many megapixels as you can afford.

On consumer-level Wi-Fi cameras, like the Nest Cam or Amazon Cloud Cam, you’re not necessarily going to be able to control the quality of the video (other than a Low, Medium, and High setting). However, if you’re shopping for a wired network camera, many of them advertise the megapixels.

RELATED: What You Should Know Before Buying a Wired Security Camera System

For example, this system from Ezviz has 3-megapixel cameras that record in 1080p, but this camera from Hikvision is a 4-megapixel model and records in the same 1080p resolution. You’ll even find higher-megapixel cameras that can record beyond 1080p, like this one from Dahua, which is a 6-megapixel model that records in 3072×2048.

The higher the megapixels, the clearer the image and your camera will have more success at capturing faces and license plates.

Install Cameras Low and Close to Doorways

Many times we see security cameras installed in places where it would be impossible to identify anything, even with a good quality camera. Installing cameras up high and in the corner where it’s inconspicuous is common practice, but you likely won’t be able to identify much with the camera that far away.

RELATED: What You Should Know Before Buying Wi-Fi Cameras

Instead, mount your cameras low and as close to doorways and other entry points as possible. Former burglar Michael Durden sat down for an interview and offered a lot of tips for homeowners, but one that stood out was to install security cameras in such a fashion that they can easily identify a face and in a way that makes it difficult for the burglar to keep his head turned away.

This isn’t always possible, however, because of where you might or might not be able to install cameras, but it’s something to keep in mind.

A Video Doorbell Is Your Best Bet

Continuing from the previous section, if you aren’t able to install a security camera as close to your door as possible, then it might be worthwhile getting a video doorbell instead.

RELATED: Ring vs. Nest Hello vs. SkyBell HD: Which Video Doorbell Should You Buy?

They replace your existing doorbell, and the location is the perfect spot for a security camera—it’s low enough that it’ll get a clear head-on view of anyone that approaches your front door.

The only downside is that they can be expensive. You can get the original Ring Doorbell for just $99, but the newer model from Ring is $200. And the Nest Hello is even more expensive at $230.

Despite that, video doorbells are one of the most useful smarthome devices to have. Not only can they record video of people at your door, but they can also send you alerts whenever someone rings the doorbell.

Profile Photo for Craig Lloyd Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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