Camera systems are on the cutting edge of modern technology. They are also considered by many to be in the cutting edge of modern pocketbooks. Buying home camera systems might necessitate selling first-born children and locks of hair, but their various sizes, shapes and packages make some not so expensive. Inquisitive people, however, want to know if they’re essential.

Camera systems can be small, disguised, and installed indoors or outside. Some are called dummy, mock, or fake. Most experts say since these type cameras don’t capture anything, they have little or no value in protecting property. Career criminals aren’t dummies either, because they know how to recognize non-working cameras.

An advantage of having a camera system is possible crime reduction. There’s no guarantee that a home won’t be the target of a crime, but cameras can assist homeowners in becoming smaller targets. With candid camera watching, a thief or wannabe might decide to skip a crime of opportunity or professional hit.

A crime video that’s given to a court is more valuable if it contains a time and date stamp that indicates when the crime occurred. If the video has the wrong time and date, or if it has been edited, it will be thrown out of court.

With today’s cellphones, home cameras, Department of Transportation cameras, business cameras and Google images, cameras are most likely everywhere. It can be assumed that a video is capturing any movement and making everyone a TV or social media star. They also capture reality, so everyone should beware in case they develop a scratchable itch.

Since a lot of businesses use the worn-out adage, “doing more with less,” countless delivery service personnel have started throwing packages at homes. If a doorbell camera detects motion, it can substitute for a chiming doorbell by notify homeowners’ cellphones regardless of their location. If a package isn’t left by a garage door or out in the yard, motion detecting doorbells can detect anything in close proximity, including fuzzy crawly things. The Internet and cellphones have increased how quickly information can be shared. They have also devalued what information people receive.

Home camera systems are often used to show parents when children are safely home. They’re also used for real-time monitoring of pets. Some even have the ability for homeowners to talk to people who are standing near their cameras.

A camera system is a great way to record videos for future viewing. They can be used to spot people at their worst, notice them being silly, see them adjusting themselves, or for general entertainment. They can also be used to catch criminals. What they can’t do is prevent a crime once it has started. Victims must still notify their insurance company, replace stolen items, contact law enforcement and possibly go to court. A lot of insurance companies offer premium discounts for homeowners who have working camera systems.

Buglers can steal video footage, disable cameras by cutting wires, or learn how to avoid detection. This makes the installation location extremely important. Unfortunately, a lot of aspiring handymen pay professionals to complete their camera system installation after getting in over their head or failing to read the instructions.

The market is flooded with camera systems that come with a variety of bells and whistles. Just because it says camera system on the box doesn’t mean it’s the pick of the litter. Picking the correct system is serious business, so performing personal research is much better than swallowing the pitch of a smooth or fast-talking salesman. It’s important to think long and hard, don’t rush, and study the options before deciding. A home camera system isn’t essential, but they do offer advantages It’s a comfortable feeling for homeowners when they experience the benefits a video can provide. Comfort isn’t passed through the bloodstream, because most people lived comfortably and successfully before camera systems were developed. They might not be for everyone, but research can reveal if having one is the right choice for a homeowner’s peace of mind or enhanced home security.

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Charlie Sewell is a retired Powder Springs police chief who lives in Cherokee County. His book “I’d Rather You Call Me Charlie: Reminiscences Filled With Twists of Devilment, Devotion and A Little Danger” is available on Amazon. Email him at