Have you seen the video of a snake slithering down a Texas woman’s front door? If so, you’re probably thinking about investing in a doorbell camera.

But, as shocking as finding a snake on your front door may be, doorbell cameras catch more than just reptiles—they also catch thieves.

Just last summer, two men were arrested after a Florida homeowner called the police after receiving an alert from his doorbell camera. Since then, Orlando police have been urging more homeowners to purchase a camera for themselves.

These are just two of many instances where doorbell cameras have been used to catch criminals (and wildlife). Homeowners across the nation are investing in these devices to secure their properties. But, just like any investment, there are a few factors to consider beforehand. Here are four questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a doorbell camera.

1. How is the Doorbell Camera Installed?

Doorbell cameras can be battery powered, hard-wired or both. Battery powered devices are easier to install and can be mounted right on or next to your door. If your doorbell camera is hard-wired into your electrical system, then you’ll need to contact a professional to ensure proper setup.

Whichever type of doorbell camera you choose, each should be able to connect to a secure Internet network and a mobile app, where you can view, control and receive alerts.

2. How Does the Doorbell Camera Work?

Doorbell cameras can feature several different components, including:

  • Controllable cameras, which sometimes include night vision.
  • Microphones and speakers that allow you to interact with who or what is at your door.
  • Motion detectors that send you a recording every time it detects activity.
  • The actual doorbell, to alert you when someone is at your door.

Some doorbell cameras come with a screen on the inside of your door allowing you to see who or what is on the other side. Devices could have the ability to take a picture every time someone rings your doorbell. Others may operate like smart cameras and record video of everything within its view.

3. Is the Doorbell Camera Theft and Weather Proof?

This past April, one homeowner captured video of a man stealing a package from their porch, then trying to pry the doorbell camera off the wall. Luckily, the thief was unsuccessful. Even if he had damaged or removed the camera, many of these devices archive recordings directly to cloud. Users can just log onto their app and view any recordings.

If you live in an area with harsh weather, you’ll want to look into the warranty and ask the manufacturer about the camera’s capabilities in extreme conditions. There are also weather and tamper proof cases you can purchase. However, if you do decide to buy a case, ensure it’s specially designed for your device to avoid malfunctions.

4. Can the Doorbell Camera Integrate With My Current Security System?

Lastly, you need ask about integration. Can the doorbell camera pair with your current home security system? Some doorbell cameras sync with smart locks and lights that are controlled through your home security app. To ensure integration, contact your security provider to confirm compatibility before buying.

Doorbell cameras are perfect for any homeowner looking to upgrade their home security system. Do your research and consider asking these questions to keep your home protected from thieves (or snakes).

What are some of the other questions you might have about doorbell cameras? Share in the comments below.