By Sonia Dasgupta

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In Baltimore, personal security cameras are helping residents track what’s happening in and around their homes.

Now police are tapping into this resource to solve crimes.

How Home Security Systems Are Helping Local Police Solve Murders And Other Crimes

For those of you looking to purchase your own system, we have some advice from an expert.

Megan Wollerton, an expert with CNET, spoke to WJZ.com about the personal security camera market and what specifications interested buyers should look for when making a purchase.

Wollerton said video doorbells, link the Ring, are the most popular type of personal security product.

There are two types — hard-wired and also battery-operated systems and most are easy to install, she said.

When there’s motion or when someone rings the doorbell, you’ll be able to see who’s there and interact with them.

Wollerton suggests The Nest’s Hello device that’s $229. It is a hard-wired device, but you can sync it with your Google Home or Amazon Alexa speakers.

She also said you need to make sure your WiFi signal is strong.

Ring offers one of its first generation models for $100. It’s the least expensive system Wollerton would recommend.

The high cost is sometimes associated with video storage, she said.

She said several home security systems come with iCloud storage.

The $200 SkyBell offers seven days worth of video clips.

For those wanting more than a video doorbell on their home, Wollerton suggests getting a outdoor motion-sensored light with a security camera built-in.

She recommends the Kuna Maximus camera flood light. It costs $249 and replaces an existing hard-wired floodlight outside your home.

The device offers alerts to customers’ phones when the light is activated. You can talk to the person outside, you can sound a siren or even use a pre-recorded sound of dogs barking to scare off an intruder.

The smart light can turn on when motion is detected or the light turns on at dusk and turns off at dawn.

There’s also a new trend for indoor-outdoor multi-use cameras, Wollerton said. Most of those cameras are battery-powered with Lithium ion rechargeable batteries.

Wollerton recommends the Arlo Pro 2 weather-proof camera because of its free storage and high definition video features.

If you’re looking for a total home security system, she said there are many options for those type of systems — although many come with a large price tag and a contract.

Those systems are professionally monitored for you — so they would get a notification.

Comcast Xfinity, ADT, Vivint, AT&T Digital Life are all interesting options and are for those who want a more comprehensive system that come with door and window sensors that chirp when opened.

The benefit is you’re not having to monitor the system yourself — someone else is doing it for you, but the downfall is a monthly subscription fee and a possible contract you can’t get out of even if you move.

Wollerton suggests that consumers look for the following things when buying a security system.

  • Does it have high-definition live streaming?
  • Does it have motion-detection?
  • Does it have free access to the video clips or free cloud storage?

Not all companies offer free access to the video clips, Wollerton said, stating Nest and Ring charge customers to view their video.

“While they are great cameras, it’s one of those things that can be a deal breaker and mess up the buying decision for them,” she said.

She also said customers need to make sure they have a strong WiFi connection especially if the camera is outside.

CNET offers some tips for testing your WiFi.

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