Disclosing location of exterior security cameras - counterproductive

This topic is supposed to address all hosts who utilise exterior security cameras to monitor adherence to house rules (occupancy limits, smoking/open flames, vandalism, theft, violation of our no-pet rule).

While we have no issue whatsoever to disclose to our guests that such security cameras are installed to monitor only the exterior of our property, we strongly oppose to Airbnb’s new rule that the location of each camera needs to be published to the general public on the internet.

We inform our guests via the Airbnb chat, house manual and signs all over the property of the presence and usage of such surveillance cameras but why does sensitive information like the exact location of the camera have to be published publicly by Airbnb?

I already sent them a message that this can be handled in a much more professional way without publishing such sensitive details publicly.

This would entirely defeat the purpose of using security cameras if any thief can identify our home via the listing’s photos, paired with the approximate location on the map on the Airbnb website.

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I’ll say the same thing I said on one of the other threads on this topic, I doubt Airbnb is going to change their mind. This has been a long time coming and isn’t that much different than what the policy has been all along.

Where I am located, the primary purpose of using security cameras is to deter thieves, vandals and other miscreants around my property. They are also used to help determine when or how such problems occur. Mine are used as a selling point to help get my property booked. Just this week I had an inquiry from a guest asking about how secure the parking is and if it is gated or fenced. It’s not, but I did tell them it is well lighted with two prominently visible cameras. I also have a sign disclosing that cameras are in use.

I’ve heard of a lot of problems being an Airbnb host and the Airbnb home being broken into is very rare based on the anecdotal evidence. A guest is probably much more likely to burn your house down or the guest steals from you than a thief spends hours scouring the listings to find a home with security cameras that they can break into. Airbnb listings aren’t going to have the stashes of cash, designer clothing, jewelry, guns (in the US), electronic equipment that burglars covet.

I honestly don’t understand your post. Maybe the situation is far different in your country.

It’s simple. Airbnb requires us to:

Hosts are allowed to have outdoor security cameras and recording devices as long as their location is disclosed (ex: “I have a camera in my front yard,” “I have a camera over my patio,” or “I have a camera over my pool.”)

and the way to save that info later in their community policy post:

5. Click **Add details** and describe each device, its location(ex: “I have a camera in my front yard”), and if it will be switched on or off

This requirement publishes all details publicly.

So you’re saying that it’s perfectly normal that a homeowner who is using security cameras for their own security would voluntarily publish the location of every single camera including the information when it is turned on or off, on the internet for everyone to see? Because the way Airbnb wants us to disclose this information is freely accessible and not only to booked guests which would minimize the reach of that information.

We’re living on the property where we also offer two STRs. We installed security cameras because we had unwelcome guests (day and night!!!) who tried to break into our cars and home where we live and which include the studios.

I don’t want a break-in - period. I don’t understand your logic of being okay that there is nothing to rob in an Airbnb studio (apparently). Smart TVs, or any other electronic device may not qualify as stashes of cash but I’d prefer to deter and/or record any of such actions simply for insurance purposes.

We too, believe that the usage of security equipment is an asset that many guests will appreciate. We do our best to provide a safe environment but the publication of each individual exterior camera and when it is being in used is not something I would consider necessary to publish online.

Our guests will be informed accordingly but why does Airbnb have to publish this info on their site?

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I don’t have a problem with Airbnb’s requirement, I understand it as well. I don’t understand your fear that Airbnb’s requirement makes your homes a target for criminals. I do understand that it is possible a criminal could use the information, I’ve heard that for years. I just think it is unlikely.

I’m not okay that there is nothing to rob. An Airbnb is not going to be a more appealing target than someone’s home just because the location of cameras is detailed.

For many security installations ‘dummy’ cameras are placed visibly so that potential bad actors are dissuaded. I’m pretty sure that a ‘criminal’ looking for a place to rob is smart enough to realize that doing things in front of a security camera puts them at greater risk than not.

Most industrial areas draw attention to their cameras with signs.

I have thought to put up 5 more of those in addition to my 5 ‘live’ cams for the effect.


I still would love to hear your stance on voluntarily posting the locations of your security cameras and when they are turned on and off on the internet.

Regardless of Airbnb’s policy or not. Just as a homeowner who uses security cameras. Would you post that ANYWHERE online? Just for the fun of it? I presume ‘No’ but I still would like to hear your answer.

Now you add the ability to roughly identify the location of your home with the help of Airbnb’s map, plus (very often) exterior photos of the building where the accommodation is located. Google street view will do the rest.

I’m not sure where you live and we don’t consider our area to be anywhere near a high-crime place. But from past experiences of neighbors being being broken into their homes and the way the break-ins happened it is obvious that not all robbers just happen to walk by a house and suddenly decide to rob it. Why would I want to provide sensitive security equipment information of my home publicly on the internet?

To be clear, I’m not having an issue informing guests who arrive at our place where our cameras are located!!! I’m just having a problem having this information for everyone to see!

Apologies if I’m expressing myself in a strange way as English isn’t my native tongue.

You are expressing yourself perfectly well,your English is great. I do understand your concern with anyone being able to find out where the cameras are, but I don’t think thieves go through Airbnb listings, reading through the listing info to determine where cameras are placed, to target places to burgle.

They are much more likely to just look for exterior photos of high end properties, and most of the reports of thefts in Airbnbs concern people actually booking a property and stealing from it, rather than breaking in. And in countries where the locals are in a low economic bracket, sometimes maids and gardeners, etc, may steal, or give access to friends or relatives who do.

I have a friend who kept having things go missing from her own home and rentals- it only happened occasionally and tended to be jewelry or money. Her adult daughter kept saying “Mom, it’s the maid”, but my friend wouldn’t believe it. “Don’t be ridiculous, she’s been working for me for years, she wouldn’t do that.”

Things only went missing when there were other people working on the property- gardeners, construction workers, so it was difficult to know who to suspect. Well, the maid was clever and did this on purpose. She finally let the maid go, and there were no more incidents of theft.

Thanks for your feedback and that I apparently am able to get my point across to some extent.

These robbing clowns and often they are young folks are well aware of what information can be obtained online and (ab)-used to make their “work” easier. Once they become aware that in highly populated areas where they “conduct their business” anyways, they would be able to easily scout properties that have their security systems published due to this lovely Airbnb policy change. I may very well sound looney, but with very little effort anyone would be able to find places of interest with some additional information. I’m just not a fan of making this too easy for folks who have malicious intent.

Again, Airbnb can perfectly “protect” their guests (and hosts) by providing ALL information in a private channel - there is simply no need to publish sensitive information.

Oh and btw. once a search is done for a certain area of available accommodations to rent - all you have to do is scroll to the very bottom of the listing and click on “Safety & property” to find the camera info. It’s simply too easy :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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I do not see the problem, disclose the general location of the cameras and move on. Emailing them will do nothing, they will not change anything. It took me all of 1 minute to get through this latest hoop.

I did not disclose exact locations. Just that the doors and parking area are covered by cameras.


I do understand @Hosterer’s point, that there is no reason why the exact location of the cameras needs to be revealed until a booking is confirmed.

This could easily be tweaked by Airbnb. While the listing would state that there are outdoor security cameras, the exact location of them could only be sent to guests after a booking is confirmed and the free cancellation period is over, just as the exact location of the listing is only sent then.

@Hosterer Although it’s true that thieves could easily find the camera locations in the “Safety” section, the only way they would know what house it is, is if you have an easily identifiable photo in your listing of the outside of the house.

I have never thought that to be a good idea, regardless of stating camera locations. A photo which clearly shows the outside of the house from the street view would make it easy for thieves to just drive around an area looking for that house. Then they can stake it out. An identifiable outside photo also can be used for less nefarious purposes, like people just showing up, trying to make an off-platform rental “deal”.

The only outside photo I have in my photo gallery is a cropped one of the outside entrance to the guest room. No one would be able to find my house by looking at that photo.
Identifiable photos of the outside can be sent to guests who have confirmed bookings if you feel that will assist them in easily finding the place.

I don’t understand.

My interpretation of Airbnb’s requirement is that they could be satisfied by posting something like:

“The grounds outside the residence (including driveway and garage) are covered by live-feed security cameras archived on the cloud, and active 24/7”

That sounds like a deterrence to burglars, not a pro-tip for prowlers or an inventory of surveillance soft-spots.

Also – I don’t see any violation of Airbnb regulations to overstate your coverage, so anyone “casing the joint” is discouraged beyond your actual capacity. The only Airbnb rule is that you do not understate your coverage.

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It’s like when hosts say they are afraid to post a negative review because the guest was local or has friends in the area, for fear of retaliation. But I have never heard of any hosts having guests come back and vandalize the property or physically threaten or assault a host over a bad review.

There are fears that have a basis in reality and those that are simply based on what could possibly happen. A lot of the things people worry about, in general, are based on imagination and over-thinking, rather than any real threat.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with “better safe than sorry”, which is why we have things like smoke alarms and seat belts, even though our house may never catch fire and we may never be in a car accident. But the mandating of those things is based on real risk statistics, not anxiety.

I thought I was clear but apparently not.
I do hearby affirm that I voluntarily post the location of my security cameras. Two are DVR recording motion activated 24/7. The third is a Ring Doorbell and it’s also on the internet 24/7. I have a sign posted in front stating that the area is under surveillance. All the cameras are clearly visible on the home.

I’ve had that information on my Airbnb listing since I got the cameras. All three are pictured in my listing and have been for years.

Sure. Like here. Or on Airbnb where it’s been for years, along with my exact location on the map.

I live in El Paso, TX, a very safe city despite being on the international border with Mexico.

Off topic, but I had a Mexican guest a few years ago who was from Juarez. It never occured to me to warn him about theft prevention, because, hey, he lives in Juarez, I assumed he’d be hip to that.

The very first day, he went to the beach, to a part of the beach where there weren’t any other people around, went in the water for 5 minutes, and returned to his towel to find his cell phone and debit card gone.

I felt so bad for him, but he wasn’t particularly upset. Said he managed 10 Dominos Pizza outlets in Juarez, his employees had been calling him since he left, and now they would just have to figure things out for themselves, and let him have a 4 day vacation in peace. :rofl:
And the debit card was for an account he only keeps a small amount of cash in and tops up as needed. He had another debit card for another account and cancelled the stolen one.

I found plenty of listings in our city where hosts posted only shots from inside the accommodation and I was able to identify their exact location just because of the view they were showing. A half-smart criminal figures this out in no time. We live in an architect’s house with a very distinct shape and facade. Just having an image of the entry area of the accommodation gives our location away. No need to drive around and “scout” the area - Google Street View has already done that. Just sayin’.

Thanks for getting back regarding this. I appreciate it.

Airbnb guest Level 5000. :rofl:


I was referring to Airbnb’s post which stated:

5. Click **Add details** and describe each device, its location(ex: “I have a camera in my front yard”), and if it will be switched on or off

To me (again non-native English speaker) this means we need to disclose the exact area that our cameras cover (that is my interpretation). As in, if we fail to disclose which areas our cameras cover you may have your calendar blocked from future bookings, or the listing may be removed from Airbnb under the policy.

Not speaking this language as a mother tongue makes it somewhat frustrating to get to the true meaning of these instructions.

I don’t think it has to do with a language barrier- Airbnb has a lot of ambiguous ways of stating things that are open to various interpretations even for a native English speaker, and some of their explanations are truly baffling. It’s like they get people to do their copywriting who flunked English composition class.

For instance, if a host doesn’t like to do back-to-back bookings and wants unrushed time to clean and prepare for the next guests, we use the prep time setting to block a night between bookings. The prep time explanation by Airbnb says “Block one night before and after every booking.” That sounds like 2 nights would be blocked for every booking, right?

Technically, it does block one night before and after a booking, but what they don’t explain anywhere is that the “night after” Booking A doubles as the “night before” Booking B. So in fact, it only blocks one night. So why don’t they just say “Block one night between bookings”?

I’ve read so many posts by new hosts who would like to leave one free night between bookings, but assume that using that setting will block 2 nights between bookings, one after Booking A and another before booking B. Which is exactly what Airbnb’s convoluted wording makes it sound like.

(I sent them feedback about this confusing wording years ago, but to this day, it still remains the same)


“Front yard” is not a very specific location, and anyway, WHO CARES where specifically the camera is?

If I had issues with this I would put a decoy, dummy camera in a very obvious area and then a second in a less obvious area (up on the roof line for example). Your paranoid guest or robber would probably try to dismantle the obvious one, and you would then have a vid of the destruction.

But seriously, it is not 1980, when a video recorder or a tv had resale value and the robbers would run out of your airbnb with a toaster oven and a portable tv to sell out of their trunk.

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