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Seen At 11: Home Security Through Your Smartphone

Several Apps And Devices Available To Keep Your Residence Safe

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Whether you’re at work, running errands or on vacation, what is going on back at your home is likely always on your mind.

Fancy security can cost thousands of dollars, but as CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported Wednesday, you don’t have to spend the big bucks. In fact, all you need is a smartphone to make a home safe home.

Mark Beach said he came home after a recent weekend away to discover that his home had been burglarized.

“They took lawn equipment, they took sporting goods equipment,” Beach said. “I was just mad.”

Summer is prime burglary season. The FBI estimates that more than 2 million burglaries occur in the U.S. each year, costing homeowners an average of more than $2,000.

“If you’re away on vacation for an extended period of time, someone may pick up on that fact and decide to come and pay you a visit,” said security consultant Chris McGoey.

But now, you can monitor your home without even being there. All you need is a smartphone.

“Anyone can do this now,” said CNET senior editor Bridget Carey, “not just the rich and famous or the uber-tech savvy.”

The cheapest method is a free app called “Presence.” Very simply, it lets users turn their old iPhones or iPads into home security cameras, and view the live streams through their current phones — wherever they might be — for free.

“If there’s motion being detected, it can send you an alert on your phone,” Carey said.

There is also an app called “iCam.” For $5, it lets you remotely monitor live video and audio feeds from your home, through your phone. The download works with both Android and iPhone devices.

“It taps into the webcam that you have already on your computer, and you can do multiple cameras, too,” Carey said.

And that is not all. Another way to see inside your house through your phone is a device called “Drop Cam” – a single camera that costs $149 and features night vision, as well as the ability to pan and zoom into corners of your home.

If one camera is not enough, Logitech Alert offers a multi-camera setup that can detect motion, record video, and even send alerts to a phone – starting at about $300.

But security experts warn that to get all the full benefits of these options, a lot of work is required on the part of the resident.

“You kind of have to put the burden on yourself to be able to monitor when there’s an alert for a motion detection going on, be able to grab your phone, and maybe call the police if you are concerned,” Carey said.

Something else to keep in mind – if you have a power failure, your electronic systems might fail. And if your Internet is down, you might not be able to log on to monitor the video from these security options.

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