I live in a small town in a neighborhood that has had, to my knowledge, one crime reported in the past 23 ½ years. Nothing has ever gone missing from our yard. There’s never even been a hint of anybody trying to get in the house while we’re not there.

So, of course, we now have eight security cameras watching every foot of our property.

The reason for this covers a couple of things. One, security systems have gotten surprisingly cheap over the past few years. Once upon a time, security companies would give you the equipment for free, even set it up for you, but they’d charge you $30-$80 a month for the service, depending on the company, and you had to sign a two- or three-year contract that you could not get out of without paying a huge early termination fee.

Now, you buy the cameras yourself (we use the Blink cameras), set them somewhere inconspicuous inside the house and use screws to mount them somewhere outside (the later models are weatherproof).

Then you download an app on your phone, create an account, sync the cameras (it’s not that hard) and you’re good to go. You can see what’s going on in your house from basically anywhere you can get an internet connection. And they can be set to come on when they detect movement, so they’re not always recording. And the recordings are uploaded to a cloud server, so even if a “smart” criminal takes them, they’ll still be caught.

That sounds good, you say, especially if you live in the country where there may not be any neighbors close by and you’re gone a lot of the time. But why do you have so many cameras if you live in a small town in a safe neighborhood where there’s been approximately one crime reported in 23 years?

Well, you see, we have to keep an eye on our cats. We have three, Harley, Tulip and Buttercup. They are enough of a handful when we’re at home. We want to make sure they’re not getting up to rowdy shenanigans while we’re gone. They don’t really get up to much, actually. They sleep and occasionally wander over to their food bowl, though they do, suddenly, fly through the house at 90 mph for no apparent reason.

We do have an outside cat, Sherlock, and we use the cameras to let us know when he’s wandered onto the porch and looking for food. The outdoor cameras have also showed us other cats eating Sherlock’s food, deer wandering through the yard, dogs sniffing everything, raccoons coming on the porch and eating Sherlock’s food and a possum who really likes cat food and is so ugly that he’s actually very cute.

It also showed us Sherlock and another cat having a major smackdown one night over the food on the porch. I could have sold tickets it was such a wild fight.

And honestly, a lot of the places that sell these cameras market them as a way to keep an eye on your pets.

But there is another advantage to having cameras watching the back and front porches. While we may never, hopefully, get footage of somebody sneaking into our house, we do have packages delivered on a semi-regular basis, and the chance somebody might take one of those packages is apparently quite high in Tennessee.

According to security.org, using FBI data, Tennessee ranks No. 11 with 2,088.30 larceny thefts per 100,000 residents.

That’s a lot! We don’t get a package every day, or even every week for that matter, but we do get enough that I do worry at times if they’ll survive being left alone for several hours. A lot of them get put in the mailbox, and we can see it perfectly from one of the cameras, but every so often there’s one too big for the mailbox and the mailman dutifully trots down to the porch.

Other delivery drivers use the porch no matter the size of the box.

It can seem a little paranoid to have eight cameras in a small town where most crime seems to be in certain areas, most of it outside of the city limits, but it only takes one time to make you wish you had done something.

And you can make sure your cats aren’t getting too rowdy while you’re gone.

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