According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the US violent crime rate hovers around 23 victimizations per thousand people.
The property crime rate is about 130 victimizations per thousand households. Depending upon where you live, your rate may be much higher or lower, but statistics don’t make a difference if a crime happens to you or your family. It’s always better to feel safe (and to be safe) in your home. That’s why alarm systems are big business and there are thousands of systems to choose from.
No matter where you live, it pays to be cautious. Although violent crime is down in most US cities, property crime is on the rise. Even so, many people just don’t take the time to find out how to install security cameras or video surveillance systems for homes or businesses.
Keeping your property investment secure and your family safe is well worth the effort, however. Video security system installation can be daunting if you’re not fairly handy at DIY home improvements or electrical/electronics setup. But if you take some time to plan the project – and walk through the steps outlined here, you’ll save money on the installation.
Are you thinking about installing a home alarm system, but wondering how difficult it might be to select and install? The specifics of how to install an alarm system, of course, depend on the type you select. The good news is that, no matter how handy you are or what your budget might be, there are home alarms on sale to fit every need. Read on for detailed advice from our experts.
Advantages of Installing a Home Alarm System
Any type of home security system mentioned here can help prevent:
- Theft, burglary, or property crimes
- Home invasions and violent crimes at your home
- Trespassing on your property
- Home insurance claims to your theft or property damage insurance–or liability claims if someone is injured on your property
- And more
Advanced Features for Home Security Systems
- Glass breakage sensors
- Flood sensors
- Video cameras for home security
- Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms
- Settings that allow different home and away modes for the security system
- Key chain remotes are available with some home alarm systems
- Battery backups keep the home alarm system activated, even if your electrical power is out
- Panic buttons allow you to set off the alarm yourself if you see someone breaking in
- Professional monitoring (when a professional security company monitors the alarm–then alerts you and the police or fire department)
- Alert options such as sound, lighting, text messaging, phone calls, or email if your home system goes off
Choosing and Installing a Home Alarm System
With all the choices on the home alarm market, making a choice and getting your chosen home alarm system installed can be confusing. You should start by thinking about your home’s layout and size, along with what areas are most likely entry points for an intruder or burglar. Your budget must also factor into the solution.
Low-Tech and Low-Budget Home Alarms: The Simplest to Install
The simplest and most low-tech home alarm solution is also the easiest to install. We’re talking about a deterrent system. You might opt to purchase home alarm signage for your lawn or to post it on your fence or garage. Even if you go no further, you will cause any thief to think twice and hopefully move right along. Dummy video cameras: A professional burglar or someone who is desperate to get into your home, however, would require additional home security measures beyond just home security signage. Next in price and ease of installation is the dummy camera or dummy video surveillance. (Sometimes these are referred to as CCTV or closed-circuit television systems.) Dummy security systems are very popular and many of the surveillance cameras you see on homes in your neighborhood may be non-functional and fake. This is an economical solution to help keep your family, home, and property safe.
What Type of Video Surveillance System Do You Need?
There are three broad categories of video security systems (Sometimes called CCTV or closed-circuit television systems) for the home:
- Hard-wired systems–which are wired into your home power grid
- Wireless security systems–which are simpler to install
- Dummy video security systems–which are the least expensive, simplest, and quickest to install by simply mounting them in selected locations.
If hard-wired video camera installation seems a bit too complex, you might consider hiring an electrician or professional security system installer. If that option seems too pricey, consider an easier-to-install wireless video security system. You should also think about the simplest and lowest-cost home security solution–the (surprisingly effective) dummy security camera. Installing a fake home surveillance camera in a fairly obvious spot can save you time and money while the faux video security camera acts as an excellent deterrent to thieves or trespassers. Even a dummy security camera system can help prevent:
- Property crime (theft)
- Home invasion and violent crime
- Excess home insurance claims
- And more
Think about advanced features you want for wireless and hard-wired home security systems, such as:
- Connected carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
- Multiple alerts options like sound, lighting, text message, phone call, or email
- Glass break sensors
- Water sensors
- Home and away modes, with different levels of security
- Key chain remotes
- Rechargeable lithium battery backups–to operate the security alarm, even if your home’s electrical power goes out
- Panic button so you can set the alarm off yourself if you see an intruder breaking in
- Professional security monitoring contracts, where the company monitors and receives alarms–then alert you and the police
Consider Security-Enhancing Products: Driveway Alarms & Motion-Sensing Doorbells
If you’d like advance notice when someone is approaching your home, consider a driveway alarm. When a car passes a motion sensor or drives over specially equipped hose sensors, you get an alert inside your home–or on a portable monitor you carry–when you’re in the back yard, for example. You can also purchase hard-wired or wireless doorbells with motion sensing capability. This way, even if someone fails to ring the bell (or before they ring), the motion sensor near your door will notify you. Entrance alert systems triggered by door opening also increase personal safety at home or business. Choose the best spot(s) for your security cameras at home–no matter the type of system you’ve chosen, wired, wireless, or dummy. The placement of your security video cameras should provide good views of the front and back doors. Also, install video surveillance on the sides of the house to help prevent window-entry burglary. Install a security camera with a view of the garage doors as well–especially if you have an attached garage. Choose locations where a roof overhang or eave protects your home security system from the elements, provides good viewing angles, and decreases the possibility of camera vandalism. Check to be sure you have covered the area completely. Check the camera’s viewing radius and POV. Check the transmission radius for door chime for business wireless systems to make sure signals will reach speakers or receivers. Choose places to install motion sensors and door/window alarms if included in your chosen system. Secure cameras to the walls you have chosen firmly. Vibration can lower picture quality. Then adjust/point the lens in the chosen direction. WARNINGS: 1) In some parts of the country, it is illegal to record without informing people in advance. It may also be illegal to secretly record both video and audio simultaneously without consent in advance. Check local laws before installing video security devices. If you’re installing a fake video camera, of course, this warning does not apply. 2) If you’ve chosen a wired system, be sure to shut off power to your home before installing or adjusting wiring. 1800Doorbell.com is not responsible for accidents or injuries. Please take care.
Installing Hard-Wired Home Surveillance Cameras
- Side-by-side cable wiring, which includes both power and video cables. To save time, purchase security system wiring with BNC connections already attached. This connection at one end of the cable screws into an input on the back of your DVR.
- An assistant to hold your ladder
- Plastic cable ties
- Square or u-shaped nails to fasten cable under the eaves of your home (these look like very large staples)
- Power drill to run wires to the indoor area if no convenient openings are present
- DVR to record activity at your doors/windows
- LCD computer monitor to view the video playback or to monitor live real-time action
- Window sensors (if applicable)*
- Motion detectors (if applicable)*
- Video cameras and mounts*
- Deterrent home security signs and window labels (optional)* *Some items may come together in a kit
Install Power and Video Cables for your Video Cameras
- Run cables from each camera through an existing space or newly drilled hole between the roof and the wall–or directly into a wall.
- Select a spot for the DVR and LCD computer screen/monitor.
- Bring cable lines into the room.
- Crimp each end of the BNC connection onto the side-by-side coaxial cable (if necessary).
- Screw-in/connect the cable to the input on the back of the DVR.
- Run each power cable separately into an outlet and AC adapter.
- OR you can Use/purchase a power supply box, plug all lines into it–then run only one cable to the wall outlet.
- Connect a monitor to the DVR
- For a review of installation procedures, watch this instructional video on Installing Video Surveillance CCTV Security Cameras from system manufacturer Loren as a review and for additional details. This longer security system installation video covers installing the entire system with control panels and sensors, etc.
- Plug in the DVR and monitor nearby electric outlets.
- Use home security lawn signs and window labels.
Installing Wireless Home Security Systems
Easy to Install and Economical
The next type of home burglar alarm you might want to consider to protect your home is a wireless system. Wireless systems offer several functions which you can add depending upon your home layout and needs. Many wireless home alarm systems come with window sensors and/or glass break sensors which set off alarms if windows are breached. You may also opt to include motion detection as part of your wireless system. You can use wireless motion detectors for theft protection, but also to monitor whether kids or pets are entering or leaving a particular room of the house. Driveway alarms are also popular if you like to be warned whenever someone is approaching your home or driving up the driveway. These are excellent for homes that have a long driveway leading up to the house. It’s especially important to be notified of a car entering your driveway if you live in a rural area where it’s not common for people to drive in and out.
- Door and window sensors (each is in two parts — you need enough pairs to install on each door and window that you want to protect)
- Motion sensors for each room that you’re securing
- Cameras (optional)
- Control panel (keypad)
- Deterrent home security signs and window labels (optional)
Wireless Door and Window Sensor Installation
- Choose the best spots for wireless sensors (motion sensors) that will communicate with your wireless alarm camera. Find likely areas that seem vulnerable to home break-ins like windows, front and back doors, large pet doors, garage doors, etc.
- Check the range from each sensor (transmitter) to the sensor base (receiver). Transmitters have a limited range and they may be less than stated on the box. In the real world, transmitters have obstacles like large furniture or door frames that may not be accounted for when the manufacturer tests the system.
- Install both halves of each window or door sensor. The bigger half is the wireless transmitter and the small piece is a magnet used to complete the closed circuit. When the window or door opens, the circuit is broken. Your alarm sounds or a light flashes and/or a nearby video camera is activated.
- Screw the sensor into the door jamb or window frame.
- Line up the magnet on the window/door edge opposite and even with the sensor.
- Once pieces are lined up, drill pilot holes to attach/screw the magnet into the actual door/window.
Wireless Motion Detector Installation
An infrared motion detector works by sensing temperature changes. Because of this, be sure not to install them facing a window that gets direct sunlight. You may want to install motion sensors a few feet up from the floor. (Pets under 40 pounds don’t usually cause a false alarm because sensors aren’t sensitive enough to detect them, but just to avoid any chance of this problem, install sensors above their height.)
- Choose your installation point with a clear, unobstructed view of the whole room.
- Mount the sensor plates securely to minimize any vibrations and false alarms. Use screws where possible and use drywall anchors for hollow walls.
Installing the Wireless Control Panel
- Just plug the control panel into a wall outlet and connect it to a phone jack, if necessary. (Some systems use wireless signals to send alarms to a smartphone or laptop.)
- Program the control panel according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once you have programmed the home alarm system, the panel will set off an audible alarm and/or a flashing light, or call you or email you if a window/door sensor is breached.
- Remember to activate your home’s window and door sensors before going to bed or leaving the house. If your system includes a smoke detector, CO detector, or flood detector, these always stay on.
Installing a Dummy Security System
If you opt for the deterrent effect of a dummy system, you only need a few tools to prepare: a ladder, screwdriver, lawn or wall signs, home security window labels, and fake video camera(s). You can choose fake security cameras that are appropriate for indoor or outdoor use. To install your dummy video security system, just attach the camera(s) to areas outside your home where they are visible, but out of reach so that potential intruders cannot break or spray paint the lens. You might want to install dummy video cameras on your porch high above the entry door, at your front gate, at the back door, or anywhere on your property. Then you can also add strategically placed security signs and window stickers around the house and property.
- Fake security cameras for indoor or outdoor use
- Home security lawn signs or window labels
Installing Dummy Security Cameras
- Simply attach the unit(s) to strategic areas outside your home where they’re visible, but out of the reach to potential intruders.
- Add strategically placed deterrent security signs/stickers around your home.
At 1800Doorbell.com we sell dummy cameras. These dummy video security cameras are easy to install, help you save money, and also act as a deterrent to help keep your home or business safe. Please contact us for further information. Order online from our website or call 1-800-DOORBELL (366-7235). For more advice, visit our blog and find great articles such as How to Install a Doorbell.