This is a common question that everyone asks when they start to plan installing a CCTV security system in their property. How many security cameras do I need for my house? How many security cameras are recommended to keep the premises safe? How many security cameras are needed to fully cover my house or business?
Apart from keeping your property under surveillance and safe, you also need to balance your budget. More security cameras mean more areas covered but also it means an increase on the overall cost of your CCTV surveillance project. There always needs to be a balance between the number of security cameras, their type, their resolution and the areas covered. In this article we will talk about how you can calculate the number of security cameras that you may need for your CCTV security system.
How many security cameras should I install in my house?
There are many factors that affect the number of security cameras that you may need to install in your property. These factors include the size of your property, number of doors, the type of cameras, their lens sizes and if they’re regular or Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras, the camera’s angle, the placement, etc. However we will keep things quite simple. In order the calculate how many security cameras do you need, ask yourself two things:
- What are the most important areas that I want covered?
- What areas should I not cover?
We will go into the details below and in the last section we will demonstrate a real example. The details cover a CCTV security project for a house/home or a small business.
What are the most important areas that I want covered?
You need to take a look at the floor plan of your property and identify the areas that you consider important and vulnerable. The whole point of a surveillance security system is to expand your security perimeter outside the walls of your house. You want to be alerted and notified if a dangerous and unexpected intruder enters your living perimeter. In that sense, important areas are defined as areas where you keep anything valuable and as areas where it’s more likely to be a break-in.
In a house the areas that need to be covered and are important include:
- Doors. This includes the front, back or side entrances.
- Windows. You need to position the security cameras to have the windows under surveillance. The windows can be broken and someone can come in. If the windows are too small and no person can fit, you can ignore them as vulnerable points.
- Garage doors. Quite often the garage doors serve as an entering point for the intruders. You should have security cameras installed in front of your garage door and even inside your garage (so you can see when the garage door opens up).
- Parking spot. If you don’t park inside the garage, but somewhere outside, you need to have a security camera pointing at you car (where you usually park).
- Other outdoor places. This includes pool areas, sheds or any other spots that deem valuable.
For a business, value is a lot more important. Of course you need to have the entering points covered but you also need to pay attention to the transaction spots. Apart from the areas listed above (door and windows) you need to pay to have these areas covered as well:
- Areas where you store money. Cash registers are spots where the transactions are done. Having security cameras will reduce the risk of theft.
- Areas where you store products. Warehouses, stocking places, anywhere you keep your products. You need to make sure that the products are handled properly and reduce any possible theft or damage.
- Areas where employees work. This is very important because you can monitor the productivity level, reduce laziness, prevent policy violations such as not following safety procedures, prevent sexual harassment or provide evidence for any false claims.
- Parking lots. You should have these areas covered in order to protect and provide evidence for on-premise car crashes, insurance fraud and parking lot robberies (or assaults).
What areas should I not cover?
There are many areas inside your house or your business that should not be covered by security cameras. Moreover in certain spots, it’s illegal to have a CCTV security camera installed.
You should not install a camera on the sides of the home if there’s no way to get inside. Let’s say one side of the home has no doors or windows, so no one can break-in from there. In this case, you don’t need to install a security camera. Or you can install a fake camera on that side, just to scare people off.
Most of the homeowners don’t install security cameras inside their homes. The aim of a CCTV security system is to extend the security perimeter outside the walls of the house, so it’s a waste of resources to install security cameras inside the house. Moreover many family members don’t feel comfortable having cameras inside, it’s considered a very private space.
However, if you have in-home activity such as housekeepers, caregivers, nannies or medical aides, you may need to install security cameras indoors to keep them in check or to prevent any abuse. If you’re worried about something, you can install cameras inside to have a peace of mind.
Be aware that installing security cameras in a place where people have an expectation of privacy can be illegal and result in fines or in a lawsuit. Under no circumstances, should you use security cameras to monitor a bathroom or to record areas where you expect sexual activities to occur. Most of the time it is legal to monitor the bedrooms of people in your legal care who have advanced health risks (for example an elderly parent who has advanced medical needs), but you probably need their consent. It’s better to talk with a lawyer to clarify things up.
In a business setting, there’s not a lot of areas that can and should be omitted. You should cover most of the areas and have everything has to be monitored. Companies can be liable for almost everything that happens on their property, use CCTV security cameras to reduce your risks.
Do not install security cameras in a place where employees or customers have an expectation of privacy. For example installing security cameras in a bathroom or a fitting room is illegal. You should not install them in areas where you will conduct confidential meetings. If you’re not sure, we recommend to talk with a lawyer because the laws on each state or country are different.
An example: How many CCTV cameras do I need to install in my house?
Take a look at the picture below, it’s a regular house that illustrated the number of CCTV security cameras needed to extend your security perimeter and monitor the most important areas. To make things more understandable, we have illustrated a house from a bird’s-eye view.
As you can see in the illustration, this house needs 6 security cameras to cover all the areas around it. More details below:
- Camera 1: It covers the north side of the house and overviews the main street. The front door and the windows on this side of the house are under surveillance.
- Camera 2: This camera has a specific purpose, it monitors the porch on the main door and is dedicated only to the front door. All the packages and other details are under surveillance. If anyone comes through the front door, you will able to completely ID them.
- Camera 3: This one covers the west side of the house, which is in this case corresponds with the parking spot when the homeowner parks his car. The car is fully monitored, along with the windows on this side of the house.
- Camera 4: Monitors the left-center of the south side of the house and the backyard. The back door is located in this side of the house and numerous windows as well.
- Camera 5: Monitors the right-center of the south side of the house and the backyard. The placement is in opposite of camera 4.
- Camera 6: It covers the east side of the house, just the bathroom’s windows is located here. If that window was secured you may not need to install this camera. In this design, we think it’s better to have a camera here.
This is just an example, every house is specific, in this case we need 6 security cameras to extend the security perimeter of the house. Generally speaking, a house of this size and similar layout may need 6-8 cameras to have all the vulnerable and important areas covered.
What CCTV security system to buy?
There are many CCTV packages sold on Amazon that offer decent quality (HD) at an affordable price. Usually they come into packages of 4 or 8 security cameras. You can buy one of these CCTV security systems and install as many cameras as you need. Their apps allow you to view the cameras on the phone remotely, playback or get instant alerts. The cheapest ones are high resolution CCTV HD-over-coax cameras or you can even go for an IP security system (which is more expensive).