They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but in the context of security cameras an image of a perpetrator can be worth much more than words. While they may seem like a threat to privacy at stores or workplaces, on private property they can offer a layer of security that is otherwise difficult to duplicate.

When planning your home's security enhancement, you first have to decide the scope of coverage you're looking for. The systems roughly divide between two scenarios: a) I only want one or two cameras, and b) I want views around most of my house. Small areas are easily handled by stand-alone IP cameras while larger coverage is provided by a system of several cameras tied to a central recorder box. What you'll need depends on what you want to see and protect.

So what do you need to cover? At a minimum, you should cover areas of your property that hold things of great value or great liability. The car in your driveway is an example of value and the pool in your backyard could be a liability. It's also a good idea to cover entrances to your house and yard such as front and back doors, gates, and windows. Views that include the street can provide vital records of suspects and vehicles.

If you're only wanting a camera over your driveway or doorway, an IP camera works well. This type of camera is a stand-alone system that will either plug directly into your internet router or connect to it with your home's WiFi signal. It will hold an SD card that it uses to locally store the videos that it records. There will be an app for your phone and computer that you can use to view the camera and its recordings. You'll have to manage each camera separately which might mean different apps if the cameras are different brands or models. The wired versions of the cameras will take up the ports on your router and may require that you add more network hardware to make room for it all. Learn more about single camera systems here.

In the event that you're looking to cover more ground, you'll need a full system. Most of the time these are listed as NVR systems (Network Video Recorder) but some companies use the more familiar DVR moniker. Both names refer to the same thing, the box at the heart of this system. Instead of recording TV shows, this DVR records from all the cameras situated around your house. To access the cameras or recorded footage, you simply login to this box via an app on your phone or computer. When shopping for these, it's best to look for a box that supports the next level up, e.g., if you want 4 cameras, find a system that supports 8 but only comes with 4. That will leave you room to expand in the future if you find some spots are lacking coverage. The cameras in this system are significantly cheaper since they're only cameras and rely on the DVR to do all the heavy recording and access work. Learn more about DVR systems here.

Regardless of the type of system you choose, plenty of studies have shown a reduction in crime surrounding the installation of cameras. Criminals are opportunists, always seeking the highest rewards for the least risk. Simply having a camera visible from the street will let potential thieves know that you're watching and send them elsewhere to cause their trouble.