Proving the value of residential video surveillance

April 13, 2009

It's hard to find a better example of the value of a residential surveillance camera. In this story from CNN, a woman spent $250 to put in a web-connected camera in her home. She happened to be checking it when she saw an active burglary. While still logged into the video stream, she got on the horn with police dispatch and officers were able to arrive and arrest the criminals.

A few thoughts from this:

1. She was lucky that she happened to be logged in. A better choice would have been a motion activated camera that could have sent her an alert. Most persons quickly will become bored with logging in and monitoring their own cameras on a regular basis. A simple email and/or text message might solve that problem

2. Even with a notification, she could have been tied up and unable to review the video; use of a monitoring company might have been a nice addition (though quite a bit more expensive).

3. She used DIY technology. It is, in my opinion, the direction that a lot of the industry is headed as we find things becoming even easier to configure and connected wirelessly over the home's Internet connection.

4. This proves the value of alarm verification via video monitoring. Would the police have responded as quickly had the call to dispatch been "We have an alarm notification at 123 Morris Street"? I doubt it; by the time they arrived, the flat screen TV would have already been at the pawn shop, but a live person saying "I see intruders in my home right now" does the trick.