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Renovation & Design

Exterior home security cameras pay off in peace of mind

The Ring doorbell, sold at Prudential Alarm by Security System Specialist Rachel Murray, at her office in Oak Park, Mich. (Detroit Free Press)

Rachel Murray, a security-system specialist for Prudential Alarm in Oak Park, Ill., said people often install security cameras in their homes to watch their pets, children and elderly relatives — right from their cellphone or computer.

Others believe exterior security devices may be a deterrent to crime, similar to a home alarm system. Some devices even allow the owner to communicate with the person at the door.

Murray reminds residents that while home alarms may be connected to central-station monitoring, where personnel can notify police, security systems that capture and record motion and video may only be connected to the owner’s cellphone or computer.

"I have an alarm and cameras. There’s never a point in time where my cameras will protect my stuff more than my alarm," Murray said of her own home. "The camera is only for you, your protection, your safety, your peace of mind."

Here are five things to know about home security cameras.

Cost varies: There are a variety of systems available through security companies, in stores and online. Some can be purchased for less than US$100 and installed by the owner, with tutorials found online. Better quality, or professional-installed systems or those with multiple cameras, can run anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars. Costs also can rise for a variety of factors, such as the size of the area being monitored, if separate components, such as monitors, are purchased and if there are startup or monthly fees.

Smile! The quality, recording capabilities and viewing radius vary, but some systems can be so good that in one case, Chesterfield Township Police Det.-Sgt. Deron Myers said investigators could see the colour of the makeup on a suspect who stole a box off a porch.

Red-handed spider: Some people have found that their camera systems are so sensitive they notify them when leaves blow nearby or insects are crawling on the devices.

A money maker: The National Council for Home Safety and Security said that the smart-house market will approach US$40 billion in the U.S. by 2020.

Safety first: Many buyers of smart-home products buy for the ability to monitor their house via their smartphone, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security. Cameras and video doorbells are among the items they will buy, according to alarms.org, the council’s website.

— Detroit Free Press

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