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02 Feb '15

To hide, or not to hide...your Dropcam – that is the question

Posted by Jonathan Goodman

In this blog post I would like to settle an argument as old as home security itself – should you use hidden cameras (or in our case: hidden Dropcams) or are cameras more effective when they are placed in plain sight.

In this article I will mainly focus on whether or not hiding a Drocpam increases the camera's usefulness to the owner – and ignore other aspects. In a previous blog post, we talked about the legal aspects of a hidden Dropcam (spoiler alert if you haven’t read the post: in your house you can record whatever you wish – whether a camera is hidden or not makes no difference in the eyes of the law). And that means if there is no legal distinction between a hidden and a non-hidden camera it comes down to one point and one point only – which one is more useful to you –  a covert or an overt Dropcam?

One of the most persuasive arguments against a concealed cameras is:
'The presence of a camera alone can regulate people’s behaviour and discourage them from engaging in illegal activity. A hidden camera only records people as they break the law. The ‘after-the-fact nature’ makes hidden cameras less useful than overt ones.'

My answer: Good point well made! – But the argument fails to make one very important distinction. Because not all cameras are created equal. There are two types of cameras: one kind which may have a preventative function – a CCTV system in a bank or a supermarket for example. The mere presence of cameras in those places might already be enough to deter a thief. The Dropcam, however, is an entirely different beast, since it is only recording on your premises (your home, holiday home etc.) and other people have no right to enter it the first place. Therefore the Dropcam does not have preventative function.

Imagine the following scenario: a group of burglars have been observing your house for weeks, they have noticed that you and your family have left for a long weekend and they decided that this weekend, will be the weekend they strike. They get into your house through a window on the ground floor and slowly make their way into the living room – upon seeing the Dropcam on your cupboard they decide to … quickly get heck out of there and abandon all attempts at stealing your belongings. Not a very likely scenario, is it? Upon discovering the Dropcam they rather do the same thing the fellows in the below video are doing i.e. hide their faces and disable the camera.



Home security systems become more powerful, the more covert they are. Any home security camera should be completely concealed in order to make it as hard as possible for intruders to spot and disable it! When installing your Drocpam you shouldn’t ask yourself whether to hide or not to hide it, but rather how well to hide your Dropcam. The better you hide your Dropcam, the higher its effectiveness at catching people who should not have been in your house in the first place. 

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