Spring is almost here! With warmer weather on the horizon, many of us may have vacations or weekend getaways planned. Before you leave your house unattended, make sure you’re doing your best to keep your home secure. Here are some helpful home security tips to safeguard your home and property.
Your landscape can be an asset or a weakness to your home security, depending on how you utilize it. To protect your property, you want to limit the potential hiding places that your shrubbery can provide. Consider planting thorny bushes under your windows and be sure to keep them trimmed. You may also want to install motion-activated lights along your landscape to further discourage intruders.
Deter Porch Pirates
While online shopping is convenient, it leaves you susceptible to porch pirates. If you’re having packages delivered to your doorstep, work with the delivery companies to improve security. You can request a text when a delivery is made, require a signature upon delivery, or ask for packages to be left in a less prominent location. Another way to deter package theft is to install security cameras at your front door and around your home to monitor activity.
You don’t want anyone passing by your street to be able to see all of your valuables. Instead, arrange your furnishings in a way that they are less visible from the street-side window. Also, keep your garage openers and car keys out of sight from any window. Store these in a cabinet or drawer to keep them hidden.
Reinforce Entry Points
You want to be sure that any point of entry, whether window or door, has the proper protection. Exterior doors should be metal or solid wood and at least 1 ¾ inches thick. Protect your windows with locks or burglar-resistant glass, and reinforce sliding doors with a metal bar. A security alarm can also be beneficial by alerting you when a door or window opens as well as alerting authorities when your system is breached.
Practice Safe Behaviors
Personal habits can play an important role in your home security. Make it a habit to lock your doors and windows and arm the security alarm system whenever you leave. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days or on an extended vacation, you should make it look as if your home is occupied. Leave blinds as they would be usually, plan to defer your mail and other deliveries, and use light timers and smart home devices in different areas of your home. Bonus tip: If you are leaving your keys with a parking attendant, remove your house keys – tech-savvy thieves can duplicate your house keys by simply taking a picture of it.
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When it comes to security cameras, wireless seems to be the easiest and most convenient option. While some wireless security cameras are not always completely wire-free (most still need to be connected to a power source), battery-powered wireless security cameras are making it much easier to build a completely wireless security system. Here’s what you should look for when it comes to battery-powered wireless security cameras.
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Night vision cameras offer a bit more than standard security cameras. The ability to see in low light to near darkness enables surveillance around the clock. While you may understand how this can help you feel safer at home, many businesses can also take advantage of these benefits. Here are some of the ways night vision cameras can be a great asset for restaurants.
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Security cameras help to protect homes, businesses and various properties from burglaries, vandalism and more. Unfortunately, if they are not installed properly, they can do more harm than good. Before you invest and install a video surveillance system on your property, review these security camera do’s and don’ts.
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Outdoor security cameras aid in your first line of defense against criminals. The presence of outdoor security cameras can deter burglars from targeting you, or they can provide key evidence should an incident occur. Thus, the installation and mounting of your outdoor security cameras play an important role in the success of your surveillance system overall.
Whether for home or business use, the height of your camera will determine what you can capture and the quality of the images. In a business setting, the camera should be able to view the surrounding area while still adequately capturing the faces of incoming customers and those around the front door. Thus, a security camera mounted at least 10 feet high should properly capture the faces and body types of individuals. For homes, you should mount a camera at least 3 feet above your front door and another at least 10-20 feet up to capture vehicles that enter and exit your driveway.
If your cameras are not in the right location, they won’t be able to record crucial footage. You want your security cameras to cover all the main entrances to your business or home, as well as any potential weak spots (ex. first floor windows). For businesses, you also want to monitor your parking lot. Surveillance cameras in parking lots should be in a location that allows them a clear view of customers’ vehicles. And as mentioned, you should have a home security camera devoted to monitoring your driveway.
Surveillance camera laws can vary from state-to-state, however, hidden cameras in private places, such as bathrooms, changing rooms, or locker rooms, are forbidden in all states. Since outdoor security cameras are not located in private places, they can be hidden to some extent. But again, the visibility of security cameras alone can play a role in discouraging potential burglars from striking. If you decide on hiding your outdoor cameras, be sure to place a sign on your property informing guests and visitors that they are under surveillance.
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After investing your time and money into choosing the best security cameras to suit your needs, it can be frustrating to come across issues with them not working properly. When your security system is down, not only is it a nuisance, but it can leave your property vulnerable.
Before giving up on your security cameras and shopping for new ones, review these troubleshooting tips for common security camera issues.
If you need help choosing the right security cameras for your property, as well as installation services, feel free to contact us! You may browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or get a free quote. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
With the big game going down this Sunday, security for large-scale events is on our minds. Unfortunately, heavily publicized events that draw substantial attendance and large crowds tend to be prime targets for attacks and incidents. Luckily, proper security measures can prevent dangerous incidents from escalating further, or, ideally, from even happening at all. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to event security.
Tragic events over the years have forced us to reevaluate and tighten our security measures to keep the public safe. Now more than ever, security and emergency response personnel must work together to prevent and respond to major incidents. As an attendee, remember to be aware of your surroundings, and if you see something, say something.
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More and more surveillance camera systems are taking advantage of video analytics, which help to provide a better understanding of the areas being monitored. Whether they are added to your system via additional software or they are built-in to your security cameras, video analytics have advanced over time and deliver more practical and reliable performance.
Not only do video analytics improve overall security, but they can also provide valuable data for business intelligence. Here are some common and helpful video analytics functions and how they can benefit business.
When it comes to casinos, for example, facial recognition can be used to detect cheaters. On the other hand, it can also be used to detect high rollers for VIP attention, or to detect high profile shoppers in a retail setting.
For example, retail stores can use heat mapping to better understand the flow of traffic. Knowing which way customers tend to travel when they enter the store (straight, left, right) can help business owners create a better floor plan. They can identify merchandising areas for optimal product placement which can then lead to increased sales. In addition, the data collected allows management to determine the high volume shopping days and times for more effective staffing and product placements.
For a grand selection of affordable, top quality security cameras and surveillance systems, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, would like to request a free quote, or want to schedule a site survey, please call us at 888-203-6294 and will be happy to help.
Choosing the right video surveillance system can be tough. With various technologies to consider, as well as your own personal requirements, there’s a lot to consider. For your convenience, here are some common terms and technologies to help you choose the right video surveillance system for you.
Because of our smart, HD televisions, we are all likely familiar with resolution as well as the units used to measure it (pixels). From its beginnings at 720 pixels to 1080p, we are now up to 4K and 5K resolution, with further advancements on the horizon.
The goal for resolution is to produce the clearest image for usability. This is defined by detection, recognition and identification and generally requires 80p around the face. Previously, pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) technology was employed to get a usable image. Now that camera resolution has greatly improved, less features and cameras are necessary to create high quality video surveillance.
Another term you are likely familiar with is frame rate. The minimum requirement for the HDTV standard is 30 frames per second (fps). A higher frame rate is ideal, as it will produce a smooth, clearer video, however, it may not be practical. A higher frame rate also requires more bandwidth and storage space as these tend to be larger files. In this case, you should evaluate and prioritize your needs to determine the frame rate for you.
Networks & Storage
Security cameras are a small percentage of the overall cost of a surveillance system (the cost for cables and storage quickly accumulates). With that in mind, you should figure out what you intend to do with the footage so you can make the best decision for networks and storage. For example, ask yourself if you would like to store the footage for later review, actively monitor your feed, or would you like to do both.
Once you determine your goals and how long you need to retain footage (if at all), you can figure out how much space is necessary before your data gets overwritten. Depending on your system and needs, you may be able to refine these details per camera/location as necessary.
Since higher frame rates lead to larger files and more required storage, video compression technology works to counter that. As it advances, it promises to reduce bandwidth and storage to provide more affordable and convenient options for consumers. Currently, H.264 and H.265 are the standard, depending on the cameras you choose.
As you may know, extreme light levels can interfere with a security camera’s ability to capture useful images. However, low light technologies have improved and can produce images in little to no light environments. For example, ‘lightfinder’ technology enables cameras to produce color video down to below one lux (one lux is a dark room, zero lux is an absence of light).
There’s also wide dynamic range, which allows cameras to capture usable images in varying lighting conditions. This feature adjusts and filters light to prevent washed out images, and is useful for hallways and doorways that can open into bright lights.
While most systems come equipped with software (which should be updated and patched regularly and as necessary), you can find and install software applications that deliver specialized features and functions that you desire. Just remember that the higher the cost of the system means more features, which can translate into more training required to learn how to use it.
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It may be hard to believe, but the video camera has been around for more than 100 years (Fun fact: Thomas Edison helped develop it). A while after its inception, a handheld version was created, making cameras small enough to be out of sight. This technological advancement then spurred the beginning of video surveillance.
Before there were internet-connected cameras, there was Closed Circuit Television (CCTV). For a long time, CCTV was the security camera. CCTV security cameras were installed and directly connected to monitors. Then, you could either pay someone to monitor your camera feed or review recordings after the fact. Neither of these options was ideal – the former was costly, while the latter was not helpful in preventing incidents.
Luckily, improvements in technology have made it easier and more affordable to employ surveillance systems. We can now access live feeds from our security cameras remotely, which would not be possible without the advent of wireless security cameras and IP cameras. Here are some of the more prominent milestones of security cameras.
Streaming vs. Recording Cameras
As mentioned, most wireless security cameras these days are streaming live footage rather than using CCTV. It was about 20 years ago when IP cameras entered the market and changed the security industry. At this time, the video quality and technology were not yet up to par, but over time that changed. Continuing advancements brought forth IP cameras with high quality video along with the ability to stream online and control cameras remotely.
Video Content Analytics were first introduced about 10 years ago. The integration with security cameras enables multiple functions:
One of the challenges with security cameras was poor footage with dark, unfocused recordings. Fortunately, laser focusing was introduced and provides better picture and recording in limited lighting environments. Security cameras that have laser focusing deliver improved zoom and picture quality as this feature enables nearly immediate focusing via laser. Infrared technology also improves visibility in dark conditions (much like night-vision goggles).
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