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The Best Places to Mount an Outdoor Security Camera

Jun 02, 2023|

If you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is always protected, outdoor security cameras are a great tool. But to effectively deter and catch criminals, security camera placement is critical.

Even the best surveillance system won’t notice a burglar at your front door if it’s aimed in the wrong direction, and a burglar may not think twice if they can’t see the cameras watching over your property.

In this article, we’ll offer security tips for properly positioning and mounting your outdoor surveillance cameras. We’ll also give you a list of things to consider when planning to install an outdoor camera on your property.

Outdoor Security Camera on a home's exterior.
 

Best places to mount security cameras by chance of intruder or vandalism

It matters where you place the components of your outdoor video surveillance system. Cameras need to be able to monitor the areas where intruders are most likely to come into your home. You also want to make it as hard as possible for criminals to bypass your security systems and avoid being seen.

Setting up your security cameras to protect common areas and blind spots around your home takes a little pre-planning. So, let’s start by identifying the most vulnerable spots in your home.

In the next few sections, we’ll tell you which areas could use the added protection of a security camera and where you should place these devices for the most effective protection.

Let’s be neighbors.

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Doors and entryways

The most common ways for burglars to get into your home are through the primary front and back entryways; Over 30% of them use the front door, and more than 20% use the back door. That accounts for over half of all break-ins, but some thieves also use less obvious entrances such as side doors and garage doors.

Why would a criminal try to walk right in through your front door? Likely because it doesn’t arouse suspicion. When someone tries to break into your front window, it gets bystanders’ attention; but it’s much less suspicious when the criminal walks in through the front door.

However, it’s a good idea to put all the entrances to your home under camera surveillance, including your garage doors.

Driveway

Your home isn’t the only thing you need to protect. Using cameras to keep an eye on your driveway can help protect your vehicles from vandals and thieves.

Even if you store your car inside a garage, keeping an eye on your driveway will catch criminals before they even get to the garage door.

Unlike home break-ins, over 70% of car thefts happen at night. That means any camera you use to monitor your driveway should have night vision capabilities as well as a floodlight or spotlight to light up intruders. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to scare them off.

Obscured windows

While the majority of intruders access homes through a doorway, a good portion of them may try to get in through first-floor windows, especially those that are hidden from public view. These include windows that face away from the street and those that are partially obscured.

Intruders are less likely to come in through your street-facing windows because those windows are easily visible to neighbors and passers-by. That’s why it’s especially important to monitor those that are hidden from the street.

Stairways and hallways

When burglars enter your home’s ground floor, they may bounce from room to room, looking for things like electronics, jewelry, and cash.

To get to those rooms, they may have to walk through your central living room to a main hallway or stairway (if your house has a second floor). That’s why a camera that records those pathways will have a better chance of catching an intruder in the act.

Monitoring your stairways can also help keep your family members safe. For example, if you have elderly loved ones living with you who have trouble with balance, you can be alerted if they have an accident on the stairs and respond right away.

Outdoor security camera mounting considerations

Here are some points to consider when you’re choosing the best security cameras for your home:

  • You may need multiple outdoor home security cameras. One camera probably isn’t enough for total home coverage unless you live in a small apartment made up of connected rooms. For instance, a camera in front of your home won’t be able to capture any back doors. But strategic placement can limit the number of security cameras you need to install.
  • It’s important to mount them at the proper height. If cameras are installed too low, criminals can easily tamper with them. But if installed too high, your video quality will suffer, and the cameras’ motion detection sensors may be less effective. It’s generally best to place your cameras around nine feet high.
  • See more with a wide range of view. If you want to monitor your whole front or back yard, you’ll need a camera with a wide field of view. The Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro (Gen 2) is a great option that has a field of view of 140°.

What’s the purpose of your outdoor security camera?

Different homes have different security needs, and your optimal security camera placement may look nothing like your next-door neighbor’s. When deciding where and how to mount your outdoor security cameras, think about what you’re trying to protect.

Common surveillance needs to consider

Here are some practical reasons for installing outdoor security cameras:

  • Observing activity or vehicles nearby. If potential criminals are scoping out your home, an outdoor camera will let you know about it. A camera can also let you know who is at your door so you don’t risk opening it for a stranger.
  • Providing extra protection for rarely-used points of entry. A basement door that your family never uses could be an attractive entrance for an intruder.
  • Monitoring your vehicles. An outdoor security camera can help keep your car from being vandalized or stolen. It might even help the authorities catch the perpetrator.
  • Securing your tools and equipment. Outdoor cameras in the backyard can monitor sheds and help protect your outdoor tools and appliances from theft.
  • Determining which animals enter your property. Homeowners in rural areas can use outdoor cameras to make sure unwelcome pests and animals aren’t causing trouble on their farms or entering their barns. Likewise, knowing what types of animals are digging up your garden beds can help you deter them.

When you’re deciding where to place your outdoor cameras, think about which areas on your property are the most at risk. Does your home have several large windows that face away from the street? Are there several doorways that can be used to enter your house?

You should also take into account your home’s history. Has it ever been broken into before, even when there was a previous owner? If so, how did the criminals get into the house? This could provide some additional ideas for where to place security cameras.

Vivint Outdoor Camera Pro and Spotlight Pro.
 

Home security camera mounting FAQs

Let’s address some common concerns about where and how to install outdoor surveillance cameras on your property.

Can you legally hide a security camera?

In most states, it’s ok to use hidden outdoor cameras as long as they don’t record areas where people may have a reasonable expectation of privacy (places like bathrooms, changing rooms, and bedrooms).

However, some states and cities have unique home security laws regarding hidden cameras. So, if visible cameras are not your preference, be sure to check with your local authorities about the exact laws in your area regarding hidden cameras.

What is the best height to install security cameras?

Generally, your security cameras should be mounted around nine feet high. Mounting cameras lower than that puts them at risk of tampering. Any higher than that may reduce the video quality.

Should security cameras be above or below light fixtures?

Security cameras work best when they’re positioned below light fixtures. That way, the light can fill the camera’s field of view so it can capture clear recordings. This setup also ensures that the fixture won’t obstruct the camera’s view.

Cameras work best with indirect lighting, so make sure your light fixtures aren’t pointed directly at your camera. Otherwise, they could cause a glare on the camera lens and decrease the video quality.

Discover the best outdoor security camera and professional installation options from Vivint

What’s the point of getting a top-of-the-line home security camera system if it doesn’t offer the best protection possible for your home, family, and belongings? Security camera placement is vital, but figuring out where to install them requires careful consideration.

Luckily, you don’t have to DIY your installation. When you invest in the best outdoor and indoor security cameras from Vivint (including those with WiFi capabilities), our knowledgeable team of security experts will analyze your home’s needs and perform your security camera installation, placing your cameras in the best locations for maximum coverage. They’ll also make sure all your smart video recording devices work seamlessly with the rest of your smart home appliances.

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