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Home Security: Cameras, CCTV

Security cameras for the home are an excellent way to increase your home's security. Not only can you use internet technology to remotely monitor your home while you are at work, but you also have the ability to provide the police with actual images should your home ever be vandalized or broken in to—and somewhat more cost effective than Security Guards and Patrols

When you install security cameras for the home you can also use them as a "Nanny Cam" to monitor and record the activities of your in-home child care provider and your cleaning service as well as any other contractor who might have access to your home while you are away. Of course, the cameras also provide an excellent way to see who is at the door or watch the swimming pool from anywhere in the house.

You have some very impressive high tech options when choosing security cameras for the home. You can choose from among a wide range of wireless cameras which transmit their images to your TV, VCR, or PC as well as wired cameras which connect directly to any of the aforementioned recording devices. Wireless cameras are available in sub miniature models which enables you to conceal them inside of objects such as a lamp, vase, book, or even a pinhole in the wall. Some cameras come with remote control tilt, pan, and zoom which can be activated over the internet. Cameras are available in black and white and in color.

Infra red cameras can see in the dark (although not in color), and there are motion activated switches available which will only trigger the camera when it senses movement in the room. Infra red detectors are also available which trigger cameras when they detect a change in the room temperature which is brought about by a warm body entering.

Before you decide to go out and purchase any security cameras for the home you should draw up an installation and placement plan. You get the best protection by positioning the cameras where they cover the widest field of view. Different lens attachments are available which can be used to provide wide angle viewing or pinpoint clarity for a small area. The best route to follow is to draw out your home's floor plan and then pick the logical places to install each camera. Research the available cameras on the internet so you will know the range and field of view for each model. Of course, you can mix and match models to provide customized coverage.

Also, don't overlook the outside of your home when you are making your installation and placement plan. There are security cameras for the home which are integrated in motion detection-enabled spot and flood lights. These cameras are designed to be triggered by movement or heat and come on when the lights are activated by a trespasser.

If you have a home security alarm system then you should ask your alarm service provider to come and wire the cameras into your intrusion detection circuitry. This way the cameras can activate automatically when an alarm condition occurs. Some security companies will even provide audio and video monitoring coverage so they can see what the cameras are seeing and hearing when they receive an alarm from your home.

There are some legal consideration that may affect you if you decide to take advantage of security cameras for the home. Many states have privacy laws which regulate where and how you can use hidden cameras. These laws state that people, even family members, have a right to uninterrupted privacy in areas of the home where they would not normally expect to be observed. These laws dictate that using cameras in bathrooms, bedrooms, changing areas, and other places where the user has an expectation to privacy violate the person's rights. You can be subject to stiff fines and even jail time if you violate these laws. The best way to protect yourself is to use common sense and only place the cameras in common areas of the home such as the living room, dining room, family room and avoid bedrooms, bathrooms, and places where people are likely to be changing their clothes and expecting privacy while doing it.

Here is an example of the severity of the penalties that you face if you record a child under the age of 18 while they are undressing in the State of Illinois:

"Under the new law, penalties are more severe for people who capture images of children under the age of 18, and for people who are required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act. In cases where people are victimized in their own homes, the penalty is increased from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class 4 Felony."

Here is a list of states which require that all parties that are involved in being recorded be notified in advance and give their written permission. It's not clear how those laws might be used if you recorded someone in the act of breaking into your home, but if you live in any of these states you might want to check with your family attorney first.

New Hampshire

This list may not be accurate by the time that you read this article so do not depend upon it in lieu of getting specific legal advice.

While some states currently have no laws prohibiting the usage of video recording devices, including using security cameras for the home, almost every state does have a law prohibiting unauthorized audio recording. This could cause legal problems if you camera transmits and records audio as well as video. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to discuss you plans with your attorney before installing cameras.

Security cameras for your home provide another layer of protection and security if you use them sensibly and legally. Nothing gets a criminal convicted faster than a picture of them being caught in the act.

See also: Laws affecting Security Cameras