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What You Should Know about Hidden Security Cameras

Introduction to Hidden Security Cameras

While visible security cameras can act as a deterrent for intruders, vandals, and others who pose a danger to your property and person, hidden security cameras also provide value and help protect your home. Learn about SafeStreets hidden security cameras—including security camera placement and what the laws are surrounding hidden cameras—with our helpful resource. You’ll find answers to your questions and then be able to determine whether or not a hidden security camera system is right for you.

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The Legality of Hidden Security Cameras

The laws surrounding the use of a hidden camera security system in your home differ slightly from state to state, but throughout the USA it is legal to use hidden cameras to record video in your home—to a point.

What are those limits? Take, for example, one of the most common uses for a hidden WiFi security camera in your home, the nanny cam. Parents use nanny cams to monitor how babysitters take care of their children, or to monitor older children at home alone. Use of nanny cams to record video is legal in all 50 states—as long as the use does not violate a reasonable expectation of privacy.

So when you’re considering where to place home security cameras, avoid bathrooms, walk-in closets, changing areas, and bedrooms (if you have a live-in nanny or caregiver), as these are rooms where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy. If you conceal a camera in these areas, you’re breaking the law.

Laws from state to state also differ when it comes to recording audio along with the video. Some states require two-party consent for audio recording, so it’s best to steer clear of recording audio along with video to stay on the right side of the law.

Still, if your indoor hidden security cameras are in living rooms, entryways, kitchens, and other more public areas of the home, you’re well within your rights to record and observe.

Best Places to Install Hidden Cameras

The following are great examples of home security camera placements that allow you to watch—without being seen.

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Fake Plant

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Stuffed Toy

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Bookshelf

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Camouflage Paint

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$ Billion

Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.6 billion in property losses in 2015.

Source: FBI Uniformed Crime Reporting

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Things to Consider when Installing Hidden Cameras

You should take into account a few factors when deciding whether to use hidden security camera placement or making the cameras visible. Visible cameras—like security system stickers and yard signs—provide a deterrent. After all, potential intruders are more likely to break into a home without a security system than one with visible signs of security system presence.

Visible security cameras in the home that are easily noticed by burglars can be disabled, though, while hidden cameras, if well-disguised, can record the intruders without being interfered with. The right choice—hidden versus visible—is one you’ll have to make for yourself based on your particular preference.

If you do decide to conceal security camera placement, where to place security cameras is the next thing to consider. Front door, back door, and other entryways are common locations for security cameras. A hidden indoor security camera in your home makes sense in common areas such as living rooms, kitchens, and family rooms, as well as anywhere you keep valuables, such as near safes or jewelry boxes. The best place to put indoor security camera equipment is nearest your valuables.

Once you’ve decided on placement, you need to consider how to hide the camera. Nanny cams for fake plants or stuffed toys are widely available. You can also get cameras that are easily hidden in bookshelves or by camouflage paint.

Common Mistakes When Installing Hidden Cameras

The most common mistake when installing a hidden camera is focusing so much on making sure the camera is hidden that it doesn’t record where you need it to. Make sure the camera’s view is not obstructed while it’s in its hiding place.

Hidden cameras should also be placed to get as wide a view as possible. A camera that’s well hidden but doesn’t record a wide enough area won’t be helpful as a nanny cam or for recording potential intruders.

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The Value of Professional Installation

While you can install indoor home security cameras without professional help, professional installation guarantees you’ll get the best function and integration with your larger security system. SafeStreets offers professional installation and equipment. The expert installers can evaluate your home, determining the best location for your cameras for maximum coverage without the need of a security camera placement guide. Whether you live in a house or apartment, professional installers know how to place, conceal, and test hidden security cameras in your space.

Professional installers also make sure that your cameras are set up as elements in your security system as a whole, and can instruct you on how to view the footage, either from your control panel or on your phone or tablet using the ADT Control mobile app.

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Further Deterring Intruders

Security cameras aren’t the only available items that can help protect your home from intruders. ADT monitored glass break sensors, window alarms, motion sensors, and other equipment, along with signs and stickers displaying that your home is currently being monitored, all act as deterrents for potential burglars.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are hidden cameras legal?

The simple answer is, “yes, hidden cameras are legal.” How hidden cameras are used and where they can be placed is a different matter. In all 50 states, it is legal to record video in areas that do not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Areas that do have a reasonable expectation of privacy, including bathrooms and changing rooms, are off limits to hidden camera usage. States differ on whether or not audio can be legally recorded without the consent of the party being recorded.

How can I hide my security cameras?

There are a number of ways to hide security cameras, from out-of-the-way placement to disguising with fake plants, stuffed toys, or camouflage paint. Consider security camera placement as your first option—locating them in areas where your intruders won’t see them, but where they will still effectively record the area being monitored.

Can wireless cameras work without internet?

Wireless cameras can work without a working internet connection by remaining connected to your local wireless network. This allows for local recording—but you cannot view footage from outside of your local network.

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