Creating a Fully Functional Home Security System
A free, simple, step-by-step tutorial created exclusively for the Raspberry Pi

Last updated: February 15, 2018

The range of applications of the Raspberry Pi is just about limitless. A particularly practical, and cost-effective, application of this device is home security. However, many of the DIY guides online are incomplete, confusing, and/or overly-technical. As a result, I've designed this website to make a simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to quickly create your own comprehensive home security system with the Raspberry Pi. All user-specific parameters are stored in a simple text file and thus essentially no coding experience is required, although much can be learned by navigating through the line-by-line descriptions that are provided in the scripts.

Highlights of this security system include a live, password-protected video stream that is easily viewed on any smart phone browser, as well as text, push, and email notifications, the latter two of which include a representative image of the motion event. A complete set of features is provided in the next page.

A few thoughts on using the Raspberry Pi for home security:
This project is not only fun to implement, but it yields a nice financial return as well. The average cost for installing and setting up a new home-security system can easily surpass $1000, with additional monthly costs ranging from $15-$100 (1). However, when following this tutorial, your total (one-time) cost for a complete system will be roughly ±$175 (depending upon how many features you want). While a limitation of this RPI security system is that no one is actively monitoring for potential comprises to your home security, the utility of such a real-time monitoring system is questionable. Police respond to roughly 36 million alarm activations per year, an endeavor which costs tax-payers around $2 billion a year. Yet, the majority of these home security alarm calls - 94 to 98% to be precise - are actually false (2). The ramifications of this data is that law enforcement agencies tend to respond to these situations with low priority. Specifically, the time of an average burglary is 8-12 minutes (3) and the average police response time is around 7 minutes when a security system activation is verified by audio or video. However, much lower priority is assigned to conventional security system alarms (e.g. from tripping a motion sensor), leading to significantly longer response times. As stated in an article in a local Austin newspaper, "If they cry wolf 98% of the time, it’s not taken seriously" (4). Thus, the emotional security provided by such active monitoring systems is based on the false pretense that such systems are generally effective in stopping theft.

(1) (2) (3) (4) (Also see)