Netgear’s Arlo is Our High Tech, Low Maintenance Home Security Whodunnit System

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Our house had a mystery worthy of Nancy Drew or Scooby Doo, nothing like Law & Order, but still a mystery where a thief was among us. Candy would disappear. It would disappear within hours from even the most hard to reach, ultra secret hiding spots. We’d go to sleep with everything secure, but the next morning, without anything out of place, the candy would be gone. Sometimes we’d come across the wrappers, often in the kids’ bathroom, which led us to two suspects…mostly because no one else wants to go near the kids’ bathroom except the two kids.

“We need a webcam,” we’d say. We even pretended to have a webcam, but our thief was undeterred. As luck would have it, Netgear sent us a complimentary Arlo Home Security System to try out and Operation Candy Sting went into high gear.

There are many great things about Arlo that lent itself perfectly to our home security plan, most notably that this is a high quality HD camera system that is truly wireless. We are able to place the cameras where ever we wanted and at different angles, then move them around when they don’t capture what we want or if we want to monitor a different location. They are indoor/outdoor weatherproof cameras and we plan on buying more to record our front door and garage/front gate (we live on a hill and can’t see our front gate), but for the sting, all electronic eyes were on the hot spots inside the house: the kitchen, my office, and the living room facing the hallway leading to the kids’ rooms and bathroom.

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The system is simple to set up, but it takes a little trial and error to personalize the rules. The rules tell the system what you want it to do and you can even further control it by setting up modes. This may sound confusing, but as you start using it, you’ll quickly notice things to change, like you don’t want notifications for every movement, you many not even want recording for every movement, and that is when you tinker with the options to make the Arlo work best for you.

Day one of the sting turned up nothing but cute dog pictures as it captured our dog following around members of the family. She was the star of the security movie. Also, it captured me first thing in the morning before I had a chance to shower, looking almost like this:

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Warning: not all home security shots are flattering.

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Day two was different. We’ll leave the most incriminating video – the gotcha shot – for the kangaroo court, mostly for privacy because the suspect is only wearing underwear at the time of the crime. We picked up the prime suspect leaving the kids’ hallway and heading toward the kitchen. Next, the suspect was in the kitchen, and opening cabinets, finally the kitchen is left with open cabinets, and the dog – the likely snitch purely by following the suspect closely – is locked up in her pen against our house rules. The suspect is then seen returning to the hallway.

BOOM! CAUGHT!

Here’s where the Arlo has come in handy in ways we didn’t anticipate:

Monitoring computer usage. The kids need to use computers in public spaces in the house, but that doesn’t mean we’re watching over their shoulders. We’ve run into issues where one child is supposed to be doing homework, but will chat with friends or play games until s/he hears a noise and will then quickly flip back to homework. When tinkering with the Arlo, I was surprised to find that I had a clear shot of the laptop screen where the homework was (supposedly) happening. I could work away in my home office and call out “get back to homework” when needed. Or I could watch via the Arlo app when I’m not home. Arlo helps step up my mom powers.

Printer paper thieves are caught on camera. Nearly anytime I go to print something, my printer is always either low on paper or flat out of paper, but no one in the house has any idea of what happened. My kids have their own paper supplies and they know where the backup paper is in my office closet, yet laziness wins and they will always grab paper from the printer tray. When looking at the Arlo feed, I saw one kid walk into my office, then grab paper from the printer, leaving only one piece behind. BOOM! CAUGHT!

Did anyone feed the dog? This question comes up from time to time and it’s easy to look at the Arlo to see if she was fed or not. In the case below, no, she wasn’t fed, despite all of the following.

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We learned rainbows show up in our house through the skylight.

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All joking aside, here is why we really need the Arlo:

We had a scary experience recently where someone came to our door unexpectedly at night and one of the kids called 911. Our house is in a place where people don’t come up to the house unless they need to be here. In this case, it was a late delivery and everything was fine, but the kids insist the person was looking through the windows with a flashlight. Again, everything was fine, but it would have been reassuring to have video to see what had happened. One of the Arlo cameras will be mounted near the door and front windows next.

We can joke about the candy stealing, but the real point is to make sure we stay safe. Recently there was a scary case in the South Bay where a man forced his way into a house and almost sexually attacked an eighth grader. The home security footage is what helped find the perpertrator. My hope is that the cameras are a deterrent, but if something bad does happen, the cameras can help give us important information that is easy to download and share. The cameras make me feel safer.

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We’re very happy with the Arlo system, from easy of set up and use, including monitoring movement, sharing footage, and storage. We’ve waited a long time for a home security system because of the cost of set up with wires and a likely call to an electrician. This gives us the security we wanted without the set up cost that had prevented us from getting a system in the past. We’re thrilled Arlo is part of our smart home system.

Disclosure: Netgear gave us a system to try out and review, but all opinions are my own. We’ve used it for a few months and haven’t encountered problems. Having the cameras has only been a positive experience. 

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