Smart Home Security Systems: Your Eyes When You’re Away

(CBS) – Hannah Bridges was home alone when the strange man came around.

“I just heard this guy keep knocking and knocking,” she tells CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.

The Mount Prospect teen called her mom, who was driving home from work.

“I said, ‘I’ll turn my camera on and I’ll watch him,’” her mother, Bonnie Bridges, says.

She activated her brand-new, $199 Canary camera in the living room and called up the picture on a cell phone app. She saw the intruder kick in the front door.

“My entire body went numb. I just immediately called 9-1-1,” Bonnie Bridges says.

Hannah Bridges screamed, sending the intruder on his way. The video led to his arrest.

Bonnie Bridges is an advocate for people buying some kind of home security system.

“I’d say it’s definitely a must for every home in America,” she says.

She has added more security cameras inside and out and learned to use features like the siren on her camera. It can be activated from her phone.

There are plenty of do-it-yourself systems if you have Wifi and a smart phone.

“I can just plug into my wall, dowload the app and immediately see what’s happening in and around my house. It’s a huge shift in the market,” says Megan Wollerton, senior associate editor for CNET Reviews.

An example is the Vivint security system at Best Buy.

“What if, on your phone, you could just see if your door was locked or not? You could lock your door, you could do your garage, you could arm your security system, just like that,” company representative Danny Jones says.

A popular feature for around $200 is the doorbell cam with two-way voice. When the sensor detects motion, your phone beeps. If you see something suspicious you can talk to the person through the speaker.

That’s what sold North Side homeowner David Creek. “It’s nice to know what’s going on at home when I’m not around,” he says.

In Creek’s part of town, Chicago Police District 19, police investigated 137 more residential burglaries in 2016 than the year before and already nearly 300 this year.

He feels safer knowing he can see what’s going on inside and outside his home whenever he wants.

“This is about the only thing that we can do to make sure that we are protected,” Creek says.

Bonnie Bridges, the Mount Prospect mother, says her intent was really to watch her kids.

“My children were not very pleased. But after this incident, she said, ‘Mommy, I’m so glad you got that camera,’” she says.

Experts say you can get a good standalone camera with facial recognition, motion detection, text alerts and live streaming video for as little as $60.

You can also go with a complete professionally installed system for about $2,000, plus monthly monitoring fees of up to $60.

For more information, go to www.cnet.com/news/smart-security-buying-guide.

 

 

 

 

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