In light of increased reports of opportunistic crime in the neighborhood, now is a great time to consider investing in a surveillance system. It could be a “Ring” doorbell system that allows you to not only see people approaching your door, but allows you to interact with them as if you were right on the other side, while you answer elsewhere from your smartphone. Or you could go to the other end of the spectrum and install a multi-camera system with a DVR to record weeks’ worth of activity.

There are many aspects to think about when selecting your system and who to choose to install it if you cannot tackle it on your own.
• Difficulty of installation
• Wired vs. wireless (still needs a power source), or battery operated wireless
• Storage of recordings (DVR or Cloud based) or both
• Size of hard drive (the larger the hard drive the longer periods of time you can record per camera)
• Quality of day vs night images
• Stationary camera or (PTZ) (Pan Tilt and Zoom) ones that can move on the fly
• Remote viewing capability on a PC or smartphone
• Cost – economical systems vs. state of the art
• Location of cameras, DVR, Monitor and how to hide wires (If applicable)

My personal recommendation is to have a hardwired DVR-based system installed, like Swann or Lorex, both of which are reputable systems. For most situations it is completely acceptable and fairly easy to install the system yourself. If you have specific needs or concerns, consult a trusted professional that can address these concerns specifically.

Having surveillance is not foolproof. The idea is to discourage any undesired actions on or around your property. However, if something were to happen you may have a better chance of figuring out who, what, when and why.

Each home has specific requirements and concerns, and you really should bounce ideas off experienced people to find the system that will best suit your needs. Talk to neighbors that have systems already (They are everywhere once you look for them) and ask them what they like and more importantly what they do not like or would like to change if they could.

Any camera that you cannot see from another camera is subject to tampering. You do not want one camera looking left to cover the front of your house. I recommend having one on each side looking in either direction so one camera cannot be disabled without the other camera recording that activity.

Obviously the higher the resolution of the camera the better the image quality and playback will be. But remember, as image quality goes up so do storage requirements.

Prices are so cheap now I would not even entertain something below 720P HD quality and a 1TB of storage. With active motion sensors and 4+ cameras this should provide weeks’ worth of recordings. Want to record all of the time, or have more cameras? Then increase the hard drive size.

There is a lot of literature available online about what to look for in a system. Remember, anything that you can do to help discourage or catch criminal/mischievous behavior in the neighborhood will not only help you but your neighbors as well.

Coming from personal experience, a lot of research, laying out my camera locations and installing my own system, I can say I am very pleased with having that “extra layer” of security along with the convenience of having a video surveillance system installed. If you can’t do it yourself, or have no one to help you, it would be wise to contact a few reputable installation companies to get their ideas and quotes before making a decision.