Outdoor gate alert/security against package theft

I just moved into a new place and we’re having some issues with package theft. The new place has a short iron gate (think decades old with several layers of black paint). I currently dropped a “driveway” motion sensor with an alert, but I’m kicking myself for not doing something connected.

So I’m looking for an outdoor sensor that would work well on the gate. I’m reading about sensative strips and they seem like they might be the right answer, but I can’t tell if they work well on a gate with a wide gap?

The gap MAY mean a motion sensor is still a better choice (and would catch someone just stepping over the low fence/gate.) If that’s the case I’d need an outdoor motion sensor with a beam that can be adjusted to a fairly narrow area to prevent triggering by people walking by or my neighbor walking up the stairs.

Once I figure out the sensor situation, I need to add a chime that would go off in an effort to warn away would-be thieves but wouldn’t be so annoying every time I enter and leave my own house.

Lastly I’ll be adding some sort of camera to record to my Synology via RTSP…Arlo is looking like the most likely candidate as running cables in this rental is not really feasible.

Thanks for any input!

Arlo doesnt do RTSP. Ok not entirely true, it uses an encrypted form of RTSP that you will not be able to access outside of thier walled garden. It may still work for your use case, but just didn’t want you to have poor expectations.

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You didn’t say how wide the gap is. :thinking: From the sensative strips user manual, mounting instructions:

{place the magnet} no more than 10 mm above the square edge of the strip and 5 mm from the sides.

In addition, no magnet-based contact sensor is going to work well on the iron gate itself as it will eventually magnetize the area around the sensor which throws off the readings. So you’ll need to plan to put a bit of plastic above the iron and then mount the sensor on that. That might actually make the gap a bit narrower, so it’s something to consider.

The following topic discusses the metal gate issue.

Ecolink door sensor won't work around metal

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Thanks for the info on Arlo, thought I saw people mentioning it worked with Synology, but I’ll validate before I purchase. Wanted the Eufy Solocam, but they aren’t supporting RTSP with those devices.

Meant to measure the gap this morning, but failed to on my rush out the door. Will measure tonight and read up on the iron gate issue.

Do you think a motion sensor is the best option? If so, any suggestions given my req’s?

Many cameras these days have built in motion sensors which I generally quite accurate. They use a completely different technology than the inexpensive PIR sensors that most people get to work with smartthings, but for exactly that reason they also tend to have fewer false alerts outside. So I would just look for a good camera. Also, some of the cameras can Report individually on either people or even packages, which can be useful as well.

Would the motion sensor in a camera work well for tripping a chime as an alert to scare off a would-be package thief?

Wyze Cam v3 comes with Siren too. Good enough to scare someone

It can be connected to ST through IFTTT, as motion sensor.

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Sure, if that’s what you want.

I’m not sure at this point which cameras expose their motion sensors to smartthings, though, it has changed back-and-forth a few times. Arlo and Ring are the two with official smartthings a Integration‘s (although not all models for each), so you can do some research to find out if their motion sensors are triggers for smartthings Automations.

Ring exposes theirs to IFTTT, I just don’t know if they do to smartthings.

Arlo has more granularity, but only if you are paying for their subscription. And again, I don’t know exactly what it does with smartthings.

Both brands also expose their Motion reports to Amazon Alexa routines, which is an easy way to get chimes. :sunglasses:

You could start a new thread called “motion sensor alerts from cameras?“ And then hopefully people could give you more specifics.

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I’m starting to think my “wish list” for this project may need to get adjusted. Perhaps I need to retire the NAS idea and go cloud only. The idea bugs me for those times I may lose connectivity…but may be the best trade-off considering how rare that is. Also I was really just being cheap…don’t want to pay for yet ANOTHER subscription.

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Is this battery operated?

Edit: Answering my own question…it is not. Not sure how challenging it will be to power a camera out front. I’ll have to have a discussion with my landlord which I was trying to avoid.

Some of the cameras with cloud connectivity can also record to a microSD if you want local storage. Arlo is one.

My goal was to keep the storage on my NAS with my Amcrest camera as well (basically our “baby” monitor)…but perhaps that’s a better more 2021 solution. :wink: It may be time to re-evaluate and update both cameras and dump the NAS.

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Arlo has battery-operated cameras which can also work with a solar charger, although then you’re adding more cost. How often you have to recharge it if you aren’t using solar depends on how many events there are. We have one in the side yard which gets very few events so we just use the regular battery which lasts about two months before needing a recharge.

If you want multiple cameras, we’ve usually found the best price was at Costco, but the Arlos are sold pretty much everywhere so you can often find them on sale at target or Home Depot or other retailers.

BTW, we also have two very inexpensive Wyze cameras. We use one as a cat monitor and one is in a window on the front of the house pointing at the driveway. We found that if we mounted a camera outside in the front it just got nonstop notifications from traffic passing by, so the one inside doesn’t trigger on motion but we can use it to view the driveway when we get alerts from other devices. So it’s just a matter of matching the features the camera has to the specific use case for that camera location. :sunglasses:

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One more thought… As long as you’re rethinking possible solutions, another very popular option is just to get one of the package lockboxes that are available these days. Depending on the size of the packages you usually get, of course, but there are a lot of options for these now. You can add a sensor inside the lockbox so you know when it’s been opened and you get an alert for that. Just another possibility. :sunglasses:


My parents had problems with package thefts and they got one like this and it solved the problem very well for them.


Don’t know how good a wifi signal you have at your gate, but I’ve found the Shelly wifi motion sensor to be excellent: because (1) it seems to handle wifi at a distance pretty well, and (2) its battery life actually lives up to its promise. I had one going in a backyard shed with a marginal wifi signal for over 7 months so far without having to recharge. It’s not necessarily for outdoor use, but if you can protect it from the elements it might be ok. I used to use a Ring stick-up cam but it was a piece of garbage. It was the original model so maybe they’re better now, but they used a crappy wifi chip, the battery drained really quick, and the solar panel I had gotten for it went bad.

I did this. Functional and elegant (not). It does work, though.

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there was another member, maybe elsewhere, but he either purchased a box or made one about the size of a decent sized toy box and put a regular locking door knob on it. he would leave it ajar and had a note that said to put the package inside the box and close the lid.

this is exactly what some of us around here have with a lock on it - $80.

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If you want contact sensor (open/close) Zooz has one and can be paired with outdoor weatherproof case.

It’s Z-wave 700 series


the bosch motion detectors work great outside. i have about 10 outside on wooden fence posts for 4+ years.

Those look pretty LEGIT! They are wired, yes? What do you wire them to - a security system contact zone?