By Chris May
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You’ve seen the videos. In February, a burglar unscrewed a light bulb before breaking into a Southampton home. In March, masked thugs held homeowners at gunpoint in Oxford Circle. In April, four thieves scaled a fence to break into a Philadelphia home. What all these crimes have in common: The homeowners had surveillance cameras.READ MORE: Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Involving Ocean City Beach Patrol Members Under Investigation
Helen Fardella doesn’t have to rely on her own two eyes to guard her home. She and her husband travel, so they have eight cameras installed around their property. Anytime day or night, a camera can be your eyes at the front door, and better yet, it saves that image.
“God forbid, if there was someone standing out back on my deck at night, I’d be able to click and capture that image,” said Helen Fardella.
“People want it. They need it,” said Tony Levit of STS 007. He installed Helen’s system and has the same one in his own home. He has a wide variety of cameras ranging from $400 to $1000, depending on the set-up.
“Today, prices are going down. Quality, going up,” said Levit.
John Doughtery works for Xfinity Home and uses his company’s system in his own home. His wireless cameras beam images to a touch-screen monitor right on his kitchen counter or to computers like his iPad.
“So what’s great is, I can access any of my cameras, so I can see what’s happening in my back door or front door,” Doughtery said.
His cameras are motion activated, and they can be programmed, allowing Doughtery to keep close watch on his kids when the school day ends.
“I have a rule set up where if the door doesn’t open at 3:45, I get a text alert, which is great,” Doughtery said.READ MORE: Multiple Faiths Joining Forces To Combat Philadelphia's Rising Gun Violence
And the best part? His video feeds are recorded and stored online and can be viewed remotely over the Internet anytime.
Prices for the Xfinity Home system start at $199 for installation and $39.95 a month. It includes things like motion detectors and door and window monitors, as well as a service that will contact police or fire if necessary. The cost of the cameras may be extra, depending on your package.
Nichole Nichols of Verizon uses the Verizon Home system through FIOS. She can check on her home in Bucks County even when she’s on the job in Center City.
“Anytime anyone opens the front door, the camera will activate and notify me,” Nichols said.
Nichole’s cameras can store weeks worth of video clips remotely. This plan, which has fewer features than the basic Xfinity plan, starts at $69.99. The monthly fee is $9.99.
For all these homeowners, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
“The bad guys are out there,” said Helen Fardella, “and I just try not to make it easier for them.”