In 2015, the total value of reported stolen property was more than $12 billion, according to the FBI. A well-placed camera can help identify intruders and potentially get your stuff back after a robbery.
If your security cameras are placed in the wrong areas, though, you may not be as protected as you think. Here are a few tips for putting your security cameras where they will do the best work.
The optimal places to install security cameras
The front door, back door and first-floor windows are the most common entryways for criminals, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In fact, around 81 percent of burglars enter through the first floor, so put your cameras where burglars are most likely to enter.
Bonus: The front door is a great place to put a security camera because you can use it to see who's at the door before answering. Kind-of like a digital peephole.
Place the camera above the door or window frame, facing downward so that it covers the area a few feet in front of the opening. Another option would be to put the camera inside the home, on the window seal of easily accessible windows, so it has a view of the yard in front of the window.
If you place cameras outside, make sure your cameras are waterproof and have night vision so that they can record even when it's dark out.
Give your cameras room and focus
Where you place your camera depends on what type of camera it is. Cameras with a focus range of around 45 to 75 degrees should be aimed on specific areas, such as a doorway or a garage door. If you have a wide angle camera, like the D-Link Full HD Ultra-Wide Wi-Fi Camera, place your camera where it can see 75 to 180 degrees without obstruction. If your camera rotates, like the Samsung WiseNet, check with your manufacturer to check how much unobstructed viewing area the camera needs.
Keep cameras out of reach
Burglars or peeping toms love cameras that are easily accessible, because they can just smash them and go about their business. Even worse, some thieves grab the cameras and add them to their haul.
Always put your security cameras up high on the outside of the home so that they are not easy to reach. A height of 9 feet above the ground is sufficient to stop a person of around 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall or less from bashing a camera. Make sure the camera can be seen, though. The site of a camera can scare off potential intruders.
Editors' note: This article was originally published November 27, 2015. It has been updated with new information.