How to Stop the Grinch: A Basic Holiday Season Guide to Home Surveillance


We’ve all seen the YouTube videos showcasing strangers driving around neighborhoods and stealing packages from random porches and driveways. What are you supposed to do if you are out all day? What if you don't have the time to spend jockeying for position in the shops and department stores? For those who work all day and don’t have a choice except to shop online (like 46% of shoppers in the US), an even bigger problem presents itself—how do you keep delivered packages safe when you're not at home?

There are ways to watch the outside of your house remotely so that you can keep an eye on your packages when you are not home. For instance, three of the most popular wireless surveillance cameras, the Nest Cam, the Lorex HD Outdoor Camera, and the Samsung SmartCam are all available in outdoor versions, which will keep your camera safe from the elements). These cameras all have 1080p or above high-res video, a wide field of view, audio capabilities, and night vision—all options that are great for small security systems. But most importantly, they are all Wi-Fi enabled, making them easier to install, since you do not have to run a slew of video cables back into the house. You can also use a mobile app to view your home while you are away, or record video in case you do have an unwanted visitor (although the Nest Cam requires a cloud subscription for recording).

Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera

The three cameras mentioned above, however, still require a power cable to be plugged into the nearest outlet for their power supply. If this requirement is not convenient for you, the Samsung SmartCam A1 and the ezviz Mini Trooper cameras use batteries as their power supply for additional convenience, but, you have to remember when to change the batteries. These two cameras feature 720p high-res video, night vision, wide fields of view, built-in audio functionality, and Wi-Fi capabilities, like the ones above. Furthermore, they are both IP65-rated, which means they were specifically designed for outdoor use and are water and dust resistant. Because these cameras run on batteries, they can be set to record video only when motion is detected, giving them six-month and nine-month battery lives, respectively. However, both cameras require a base station, which should be located inside your house—additionally, the ezviz base station can be controlled by Amazon’s hands-free Alexa.

ezviz Mini Trooper 720p Wire-Free Outdoor Camera with Night Vision

Another great option for home security, and one that was specifically designed for these situations, is the video doorbell. Both the Ring Video Doorbell and the Honeywell SkyBell are made to be installed in place of your hardwired doorbell, and when pressed, will activate your house’s manual chimes, as well as alerting your mobile device. When you answer the alert on your mobile device, you can see and speak to the person at your door. Therefore, if you are not at home and a delivery person is at your door with a package, you can instruct them on whether to leave the package, and where to leave it. Hopefully, this will eliminate the frustration of coming home to find a little note on your door saying that there was an attempted package delivery. These doorbells come in multiple colors and finishes to match the outside of your house, and they are rated for extreme temperatures so that you can use them in a variety of climates.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

For a more obvious deterrent, the Ring company also features the Ring Floodlight and Ring Spotlight cameras. Like the wireless cameras already mentioned, these cameras use 1080p high-resolution video, have wide-angle viewing capabilities, Wi-Fi connectivity, live viewing, and built-in microphones, and speakers. However, what really sets these cameras apart are the two very bright LED lights that are incorporated into the camera housings, which will automatically activate when motion is detected. These cameras also come with built-in 110 db sirens that you can control through your app, providing an extra surprise for any unwanted visitors. Furthermore, the Ring Spotlight Camera is available with solar, battery, and standard power supply options for versatile placement and mounting options.

Ring Floodlight Cam

However, if you want to catch the culprit rather than just scare them away, your best option would be a covert camera, such as the KJB Landscape Stone Hidden Camera or the KJB Zone Shield Outdoor Power Strip. Both items will not look out of place outdoors, and will therefore allow you to monitor your home without anyone knowing. The Stone Hidden Camera is specifically designed to be used outdoors year-round and it is highly water resistant. It is battery powered so that there are no visible wires, and it comes with an 8GB SD card for storage, and can support up to 64GB SD cards. The Zone Shield Outdoor Power Strip is a functional power strip with six grounded outlets, and can be plugged into an outdoor power source, giving it a constant power supply. The Power Strip also comes with an 8GB SD card and can support up to 64GB of cards, and you can even set up the camera to record video based on motion detection or a customized schedule.

KJB Security Products Xtreme Life 720p Landscape Stone Hidden Camera with DVR

While these solutions may be great options for you, there is another full security system that is even more convenient and comprehensive. The Lorex Wire-Free Security Camera System includes four outdoor wire-free (no video or power cables) cameras, each with 1080p high-resolution video and 40' night-vision range. The system also includes a DVR with a 1TB hard drive, allowing for a large amount of archived storage. These wire-free cameras feature convenient, long-lasting lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, the Lorex Secure app will send you low-battery notifications so you don’t have to worry about the batteries’ being drained without your knowledge.

Lorex by FLIR LHB9061TC4W 6-Channel DVR with 1TB HDD and 4 1080p Wire-Free Security Cameras

One of the most impressive features of this system is the long-distance wireless range—the cameras can transmit signals of up to 450 feet with a clear line of site. This means that you have the flexibility to install these cameras—almost anywhere—on a detached garage, at the end of your driveway, or on multiple sides of your house at once. It allows you to keep track of delivered packages no matter where the delivery person leaves them. The cameras also have built-in PIR sensors, which alert you to motion by detecting heat from nearby moving objects, ensuring that you will not receive false alarms from blowing leaves or other distractors. Furthermore, the Lorex Secure app allows you to access motion-activated recordings directly from your mobile device with an easy-to-use history timeline.

So, while you are already outside decorating your house or up on a ladder hanging up holiday lights, take an extra moment to install one of these outdoor-friendly security systems. Not only will you be able to keep track of your holiday packages this year, you’ll also be forewarned when your uncomfortably weird relatives show up on your doorstep. Let us know what interesting and exciting (and possibly scandalous!) things you catch on your cameras this holiday season.