Security cameras can give anxious homeowners some more peace of mind once they've left their homes.

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Do you ever feel a slight pang of anxiety when you leave your house? After locking the door, do you walk away backwards, unwilling to tear your protective gaze away? Instead of reluctantly easing into your car, do you eventually give up, running back to your house to stand guard over your property?

Unfortunately, for those worried about security, it's impossible to be in two places at once. We can't make a trip to the grocery store and expect to know exactly what's going on in every nook and cranny of our homes. We can install locks and alarm systems (which, incidentally, have driven down the number of burglaries over the years), but nothing is failsafe.

If you want to be able to actually see what happens while you're away, security cameras may calm your nerves. Video surveillance allows you to monitor or record activity in and around an area for many different reasons. For example, parents might want to watch over a sleeping child and lessen the risk of a dangerous fall from the crib. But a security camera system around the house can see people who approach the front door and maybe even catch a criminal in the act of breaking in.

­There's a wide variety of security cameras available. Some are large and out in the open, and might serve simply to deter criminals from even approaching a home, while others are tiny and meant to stay hidden from view. If you're considering setting up some type of video surveillance system in or around your home, there are a lot of questions to ask yourself before getting started. To learn about the different types of security cameras out there and which systems are best for certain situations, see the next page.