Smart doorbells add another layer of security to your home

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The home doorbell has evolved.

It’s now part of a home security system but how secure are they?

 Experts say they have limitations.

When someone is at your door – your doorbell camera sends an alert to your phone and you feel more secure knowing you’re in control of who is there. 

No matter if it is grandma or a porch pirate.

Carrie Hay is a doorbell camera user.

“It makes me feel a little bit safer and I enjoy being able to know what’s going on in the house whether I’m here or not,” she said.

Carrie Hay is not alone.

Doorbell cameras are becoming more common in neighborhoods all across the Triangle.

The pairing of security cameras with smartphones has opened up a whole new way to keep an eye on your home when you’re not there.

The doorbell cameras catch thieves in the act and allow you to know about it real time so you can find ways to take action against them.

Doorbell camera prices vary from $39 to almost $300 and all come with two-way audio so you can use your phone to talk back and forth with someone at your front door, even when you’re not at home.

Unlike other kinds of security cameras which can be hacked, doorbell cameras work in a different way.

“A ‘Nest’ camera or ‘Ring’ camera, that type of thing—they go to a central server and all the data that passes between the device and server is encrypted,” said Rob Downs, who is the of CEO Managed IT Solutions. “Those cameras won’t be hacked.”

In Chapel Hill, the Police Department has found doorbell cameras have become a very effective tool. 

“The new doorbells that have cameras on them have helped to identify suspects,” said police spokesman Ran Northam. 

The doorbell cameras provide an instant full-body mugshot for police and those videos are easily shared with the public and other law enforcement agencies.

“We know people are coming from outside of our town to commit these crimes and we share them with other agencies to see if there are commonalities to see if people recognize them and help solve that case,” said Northam.

Even if the suspect at the door is disguised, police say a timely alert from a homeowner can many times get officers to the scene before the suspect flees.

And more than one Chapel Hill police officer has added a doorbell cam to their personal security arsenal.

“Some of our investigators have them themselves. So they clearly believe in the systems and believe they might help,” said Northam.

The emergence of the smart home with its many connected devices is spurring doorbell camera sales.

Brian Smith is the CEO of IWatch Security and he sells a lot of doorbell cameras.

He said no matter how good the camera is – you need to make sure you also have the supporting technology because your doorbell camera can be limited by:

  • Your Wi-FI connection
  • Your internet speeds
  • Your Upload and download speeds

“If you’ve got a bunch of kids or people that come over and everybody is on your Wi-Fi and they’ve got iPads, gaming, streaming Netflix and all of a sudden a clip doesn’t come down because you have 10 devices pulling on that WI-FI,” he said.

Doorbell cams by themselves won’t get you a discount on your homeowners insurance because they only document things, only monitored security systems get you a lower rate.

According to the SBI, property crimes in the City of Raleigh and the Town of Cary saw an increase in their numbers.

That has homeowners like Hay glad they have extra security measures in place.

“We like the idea of being able to see who is coming and going and when the mail is delivered,” she said.

The emergence of the smarthomes with many connected devices is spurring the sales of doorbell cameras. 

recent study by Strategy Analytics expects video doorbell sales topped $500 million this year and are to reach $1.4 billion by 2023.

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