February 9, 2014

How Much Surveillance Do I Need?

flirSurveillance cameras have become an important tool in law enforcement, insurance claims and fraud and business management. According to the FBI surveillance has helped to solve an unprecedented 30% of cases for which video surveillance is used.

With that said, the popularity of surveillance cameras increasing. As technology has evolved so too has the affordability which has made prices drop.

Many of our customers have come to ask form the the same questions when they are considering surveillance for home or business:

  • How many cameras do I need?
  • What kind of cameras should I get?
  • Can I get one of those warehouse store systems?
  • Can I see my home or business on my phone?

Camera Placement: At least one surveillance camera should be mounted either above or to the side of the building ingress points like the front or back door. You may also decide to install another camera on the inside of the building to monitor who is coming and going. If you are a retail operation you should have multiple cameras on the sales floor to observe customer traffic and employee performance. These placement points assure that whoever enters your business will be carefully scrutinized by the camera. Additional indoor security cameras should be placed at traffic choke points such as the back door, receiving area, office where there are high ticket items that could easily “grow legs and walk out the door.”

If you are trying to protect a home, the same applied except your focus willproper be mostly on the exterior entry/exit points. You may choose to install cameras inside your home to monitor the baby’s room, as well as in rooms with valuables e.g. safes, antiques, electronics, and jewelry etc. These areas are particularly vulnerable to theft.You should also consider monitoring service professionals like cleaners, repairmen, nannies, and other visitors who spend a fair amount of time in your home. These indoor cameras will increase your chances to prove an item was stolen from your home.

Camera types: The market is flooded with all types of cameras ranging in price and application. Some cameras are mean to be used indoors only, others have special LEDs called infrared emitters that throw invisible light on an area so the end use can see activity when there is no or very little light. Some cameras even can “see” at night without the use of infrared and produce images that have color detail at night (see image). Surveillance systems today come with many high-grade features that significantly enhance performance and make it possible to capture high-quality images outside, and in completely dark and/or poor lighting conditions. Cameras with true day/night functionality are able to see objects and persons in the dark. Vandal-proof housings protect the camera from tampering, weather, and damage.

Resolution: For detailed, crisp images, choose a camera with HD or megapixel resolution. What good is a camera if the images are too grainy to identify a person? The overall goal is to prevent crime, and provide law enforcement with video to identify and prosecute anyone who has illegal intent and has committed a crime on your property.

Features: Many surveillance systems today offer a plethora of features. The most common is the ability tocovert_dvr view live video on one’s smartphone. Some more sophisticated systems will allow you to not only view live video but to also see video from the past on your phone. Other systems are known as covert where cameras look like clocks, exit signs and smoke detectors (be careful on these as you could end us in a lawsuit – read this article). You can even go as far as to hide the recorder by using a wallmount covert DVR (pictured here).

Installation: Installing a surveillance system may seem like  a simple task but there so many important considerations to choose from from network security cameras (also known as digital or IP cameras) are PoE (powered over Ethernet) or analog systems.

There are many DIY systems available on the market too but these systems have limited features and don’t offer the flexibility that a professionally installed system can provide. Understanding your security needs, threats and choke points is the first step in establishing the proper path for your surveillance project. By enlisting the help of your local licensed security consultant, you can be sure that your money will be spent appropriately and without regret.