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The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide: Do You Know Which One of These 8 Types of CCTV Cameras Is Right for Your Needs?

For decades, crime rates were on a steady uptick across the United States. According to a report from The Disaster Center, the total number of reported crimes topped 3.38 million in 1960 and consistently rose each year to reach more than 14 million in 1993. Then, the numbers suddenly began to decrease. Though they fell slowly at first, a sharper downturn became evident by the early 2000s.

Taking a Closer Look

Numerous analysts are quick to point out the drop in national crime rates coincided with a surge in the use of public security cameras. As news of this development spread, private businesses and homeowners began to use these devices more frequently as well.

Understanding the Options

If you’re among the masses searching for a private security camera, several options are on the market right now. Deciding which type of CCTV camera best suits your needs can be a bit confusing. Consider these eight popular alternatives and their specifications before making the investment.

Dome Cameras

Meant mainly for indoor use, dome cameras are among the most popular for keeping watch on visitors and employees in stores and other businesses. Because of their design, they have a low profile but are still clearly visible. Some remain fixed on specific areas whereas others can be rotated remotely for more complete coverage.

Since it’s virtually impossible to tell which way these cameras are pointing due to the dark, convex lens cover, would-be wrongdoers feel quite a bit less comfortable attempting to commit crimes under the watchful eye of a dome camera. Models are available with impact-resistant covers to help deter vandalism as well.  

Bullet Cameras

Another traditional and widely used alternative is the bullet camera. These are the ones with tubular casings often seen mounted on the exteriors of homes and businesses. Typically equipped with protective ridges around their lenses, they help thwart moisture and lens glare.

Bullet cameras are often simpler to install than some other models, and they generally have longer visual ranges than their dome-style counterparts. In most cases, these cameras remain fixed on certain areas, so thieves and vandals can easily find ways to get around them.

Still, bullet cameras can be effective at deterring lawbreaking and presenting solid evidence when crimes take place. When used correctly, they may also pave the way for significant homeowners insurance discounts.

Fisheye Cameras

Resembling smoke detectors, fisheye cameras are essentially small discs with built-in lenses. They provide panoramic views, meaning several dome or bullet cameras would be needed to cover the same amount of space as a single fisheye model. That being said, some don’t have quite the same range as bullet cameras.

This type of CCTV camera is often used in restaurants, stores and offices. It could also be helpful in hotel and apartment building hallways as well as other settings. Though fisheye cameras aren’t technically hidden models, they’re much less noticeable than some other versions.

PTZ Cameras

PTZ stands for pan, tilt and zoom and describes the primary features of this type of camera. These high-resolution models are able to cover long distances and can zoom in on specific areas. Their angles and fields of vision can be modified as needed for full coverage of sizable areas. Both automated and manual models are available.

These cameras are recommended mainly for those who need to monitor large spaces and multiple zones within those areas. Some settings in which PTZ cameras would be useful are parking lots, automotive salvage yards, vehicle dealerships and large warehouses.

LPR Cameras

License plate recognition cameras are in a class all their own. Since they’re designed specifically to hone in on vehicle license plates and often only capture images in black and white, they’re not practical for portraying vivid details. Still, they can be invaluable in certain circumstances outside the realm of license plate identification. Keep in mind, though, they require a precise combination of hardware and software in order to function properly.

If you’ve ever received a ticket in the mail for a traffic violation without being pulled over by a law enforcement official, an LPR camera was most likely responsible for catching the infraction and identifying your vehicle. These types of cameras are also used in parking lots and restricted areas to monitor incoming and outbound traffic. They’re useful in gated communities as well.

C-Mount Cameras

C-mount security cameras are among the most versatile models on the market. Their lenses can be changed out to meet different needs, such as extended range, zoom capabilities and higher resolution to name a few. 

Spy Cameras

When it comes to secretly monitoring the activities of a babysitter or housekeeper or discreetly keeping watch over a property, spy cameras are the way to go. They can be hidden virtually anywhere and offer high-def resolution. Some also automatically adjust to varying levels of light. Numerous models are available in this category.

Night Vision Cameras

By some accounts, fewer burglaries take place after dark than between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. On the other hand, the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics points out home invasions are more likely to result in violence at night because that’s when unsuspecting victims are usually home.

Not all CCTV cameras are equipped with night vision. If you’re monitoring an indoor area that remains fairly well lit at all times or have additional security measures in place, it may not be necessary at all. For other settings, though, it could be helpful. Almost all types of CCTV cameras have night vision models available, so there shouldn’t be any need to sacrifice other features for this one.

All Things Considered

CCTV cameras are receiving a great deal of praise for discouraging crime, providing essential evidence to help convict criminals and giving home and business owners insight into what goes on when they’re not looking. Numerous types are on the market, each of which offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages. Models are available in several price brackets as well, so finding one with all the features you need without going over budget shouldn’t be an issue.


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