January 29, 2020
Top 5 Uses for a Smart Doorbell Camera
doorbells that are part of a security camera system provide convenience, safety,
Smart doorbell cameras have surged in popularity because of how useful they are. They combine four core functionalities in one handy piece of equipment that communicates with your smartphone or another device. A smart doorbell camera is:
- A motion detector that alerts you when someone approaches your door
- A video camera that transmits live video to your smart device
- A two-way audio device that lets you talk with someone at your door
These capabilities give people powerful awareness of the space around their front door—a key spot on any property, security-wise. The front door is one of the most common entry points for burglary. It is the site of package theft. And when residents, guests, and workers—or burglars disguised as one of those individuals—come to your home, they go to the front door.
A smart doorbell camera can be employed in numerous ways, but here are 5 awesome uses for Frontpoint’s Doorbell Camera:
- Catch porch pirates in the act
- Stop burglars in their tracks
- Keep an eye on people coming and going
- Welcome guests
- Use the footage to solve crimes
porch pirates with a doorbell camera
Package theft is a year-round problem, and it’s particularly common during the holidays. Fortunately, there is a way to fight back against these crimes of opportunity.
Doorbell cameras are designed to deter crimes at your doorstep. They accomplish this in three ways:
- They help you remove the opportunity. When your camera alerts you that a package is being delivered, you can bring the item inside or call someone who can. If you also have smart door locks, you can unlock the door and instruct the delivery person to place the package inside through 2-way audio, and then relock the door after it is shut.
- They let you confront porch pirates safely. If your camera detects motion and you spot a stranger taking items, you can tell them that they are on video and warn them to leave the goods behind.
- Finally, doorbell cameras can help catch package thieves after the robbery. A clear video showing the face of a porch pirate helps the police identify crooks.
Doorbell cameras and security camera systems scare away burglars
Doorbell cameras, like all types of security cameras, deter burglars. And video surveillance of the main door is particularly valuable for two reasons:
First, most break-ins happen at a door. Of all completed forced-entry burglaries of empty residences between 2003 and 2007, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says that 73.4% were made through a door. For the same period and similar forced-entries that were unsuccessful, 74.5% started at the door.
Second, cameras scare away burglars. A study conducted by University of North Carolina Charlotte researchers found that over 40% of 360 convicted burglars said they would avoid a target if it had cameras.
A camera dedicated to monitoring the front door is a powerful tool that:
- Gives you evidence after a break-in
- Lets you confront would-be burglars with 2-way audio
- Can send you alerts when it detects motion, letting you check the video feed and give the police vital information
- Scares burglars away with its mere presence
Check out our article about how two-way audio cameras have scared away burglars to learn more.
who comes and goes with a doorbell camera
Who’s approaching your house? What are they doing? Has your housekeeper left? Are the landscapers there? Does your teen have a date over? Is the house sitter or dog walker doing their job?
A smart home security system with video surveillance gives you live video feed on your smartphone, so you know what’s going on. This is valuable, but you don’t want to be on your phone watching your house all the time.
Doorbell cameras are motion-activated and can send notifications to your smartphone. You can configure your camera to alert you when someone is close to the door, such as when they enter or leave the house. You’ll know when the housecleaner leaves, the house sitter arrives, when your children are home from school, and if your teenager is throwing a party while you’re gone.
cameras coupled with smart door locks help you welcome visitors
A Doorbell Camera’s motion-activated video recording, mobile notifications, live video feed, and two-way audio enable you to see and communicate with visitors. And when the camera is paired with a Smart Door Lock, you can let them in, even when you aren’t home.
Easy conversations with visitors
It’s early evening and you’re busy cooking dinner. Someone arrives at your front door. With a doorbell camera, you can quickly look at your phone or your Frontpoint touchscreen to see who is there, without ever leaving the kitchen. Salesman or political canvasser? Ignore them or use 2-way audio to let them know that you’re not interested.
A friend who you expect for dinner? Greet them through the speaker and tell them to enter after you’ve unlocked the door with a press of a button.
Welcoming guests while you’re away
Your sister is moving and needs a place to stay for the week. You offer your house. But it turns out that you're out of town that night or you have to work late. You could leave a key under the flowerpot for them—but this is a big security mistake.
With smart home technology, however, you can give your guest a warmer welcome. A doorbell camera will send you a notification when they arrive and let you chat with them. A smart door lock can be unlocked remotely from your smartphone or with a unique passcode that you provide your guest—no leaving a key lying around. And smart lighting even lets you turn on the lights remotely so the house is well-lit when they arrive.
doorbell cameras can solve crimes
Police try to collect as much evidence as possible to help them track down criminals. And home video surveillance is becoming a very powerful form of evidence as its use becomes more common. Home security cameras are now helping catch porch pirates, burglars, and even car thieves.
Doorbell cameras can capture footage of the driveway and street as well as the porch. In addition to detecting crime that happens on your property, they can record footage that’s useful to others. You may help solve crimes by sharing the videos with your neighbors and the police.
Sharing doorbell camera footage of suspicious characters or alarming events with your neighbors is fairly easy. Sharing with the police can be harder for several reasons. First, you might not realize that your camera footage—which perhaps captures a passing car or a suspect walking in front of your house—is valuable to the police. You may not even be aware that a crime happened.
This is why some jurisdictions are asking security camera owners to register their home security cameras with local law enforcement. Security camera registries allow local police to see which homes and businesses have video surveillance and ask for footage that might be useful for investigations. Residential camera registries almost always require people to opt-in. Footage sharing also usually remains voluntary, except when a search warrant or subpoena powers are used.
you use your cameras, respect privacy and the law
Security cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your home. But be mindful of local laws and the privacy concerns of those around you.
Laws and privacy for video recording
You generally have the right to record video on your property. The main exception to this involves places where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms.
It’s generally fair game to record video in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, which makes the vast majority of doorbell camera recordings just fine. If your doorbell camera captures footage of the street as well as your porch, that’s ok. Those are places that any passers-by can see. But aiming any cameras through someone’s window is definitely a no-no. Always check your state and local laws to be sure.
Laws and privacy for audio recordings
Privacy laws surrounding audio recordings are more complicated. As with video, federal law prohibits the secret recording of conversations that have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy, though only one party must consent to legally record other types of conversations.
But state law varies about when recording audio in non-private situations is allowed. In 39 states and the District of Colombia, you can legally record a conversation if at least one party to the conversation consents, which would make recording doorbell camera conversations legal. You consent to do this if you’re doing it, obviously.
Complications arise in certain states with “two-party consent” or “all-party consent” laws that give extra privacy protections. In these states, audio recording is prohibited unless every participant gives their consent. These laws exist in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Laws are subject to change, so check your state’s laws to verify the privacy requirements.
cameras make life safer and easier
Doorbell cameras are a marvel of modern home security and convenience. They can collect evidence to solve crimes. They can stop porch pirates and burglars. They keep an eye on people coming and going from your home. They help you welcome guests safely. And when they are part of a comprehensive smart home security system, doorbell cameras add convenience, comfort, and safety to daily life.
Frontpoint keeps homes safe whether families are there or not. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.