How do I Use a Webcam for Home Security?

N. Madison

Many people think of webcams as a fun way of keeping up with friends and family over the Internet; they may even use them for remote business meetings, developing videos for websites, and online performances. These devices, however, may also have another important use: you can use a webcam for home security as well. By setting a webcam up to view a particular part of your home and having it send video to your computer, you can catch suspicious activity and even record it. If you are a victim of a burglary, for example, you may be able to use a webcam to capture the thief on camera and hand the video over to the authorities.

A webcam hooked up to a computer can be used to monitor security in various rooms of the home or business.
A webcam hooked up to a computer can be used to monitor security in various rooms of the home or business.

To use a webcam for home security, you’ll typically need a quality webcam, a computer, and software that allows you to set the camera up to detect and record motion. Depending on the areas you are interested in monitoring, you may need more than one camera. For example, you may want to set up a camera to focus on your front door, back door, driveway, pool, or mailbox. In some cases, you may also want to set up a camera to watch certain areas inside your home, such as your computer. You may do this, for instance, if you think your roommate's friends are using your computer without your permission.

A webcam.
A webcam.

It may prove helpful to choose a wireless version when you want to use a webcam for home security. This way, you won’t need to deal with wires that get in the way or worry that your camera’s cord won’t extend as far as you need it to. Whether you choose a wired or wireless webcam for home security, however, you’ll typically need to make sure the model you choose is compatible with your operating system and your computer has enough memory to run its software.

Once you have the webcams you need, you may set them up in the locations you want to monitor and use their software or software you obtain online to enable motion detection. You may also set your webcam software to send video clips to a remote location. This step is important, as your computer could be stolen. If the clips are stored exclusively on your computer, you will lose your evidence along with your computer. Additionally, some people choose to place duct tape over the lights on their cameras in order to monitor inconspicuously while others may hope the light makes the monitoring obvious and deters theft activity.

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