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Safety Tips

Risky Home Security Measures

Home security measures are meant to protect you from unwanted intruders, but sometimes these measures can backfire. Here are some common home security measures and mistakes you should avoid.

Privacy Gates & Fences
While these may be put in place to preserve your privacy, they can actually provide cover and hiding spots for burglars. Intruders can benefit from the privacy provided and work on forcing entry into your home unseen.

While every house and property is unique, try to plan your fencing in a way that allows the main entryway to be visible from the street. Since doors are a common entry point for burglars, this can help to make it more difficult for criminals to gain access without being detected.

Hidden Keys
These are helpful if you have people checking in on your home or in the event you accidentally lock yourself out. However, most homeowners choose obvious spots for hiding keys, which burglars are keen to and will immediately check.

Generally it’s better to hide the house key further from the home in less obvious spots. And a disguised item, such as a rock, is only useful if hidden among similar items.

Bushes
Your landscaping can make your home more or less friendly for intruders. If you have bushes or trees right up against the side of your home, they can provide cover in the same way that a fence might.

You don’t have to give up on your plants all together, but it is important to keep their placement in consideration. Choose low-height or thin-growing shrubbery immediately beside your home while keeping denser and taller plants further out.

Static Lights
Most homeowners install outdoor lighting for home security, whether they turn them on at the end of the day, or place a timer or light sensor so that they turn on automatically at night. These lights provides illumination for the yard, however, these can also create dense pockets of shadows that make for great hiding spots.

Motion sensor lights are a better alternative. They will provide outdoor lighting while shocking anyone who is prowling around your property. Motion sensor lights will also be used less often, resulting in lower electrical bills and longer lived light bulbs.

Valuables
We often forget that windows work both ways, thus intruders can see inside our homes. This is precisely why we should never leave our valuables in plain sight. Especially on the ground floor, be mindful of things like jewelry that may be left out on dressers and possibly visible from the windows. Televisions may be hard to position out of view, so remember to pull the shades or blinds shut in the evening.

Packaging Disposal
Packaging from an expensive item, such as a television or laptop, should not be set by the curb. This tells thieves that there is an expensive item in your home. Instead, take time to break down the box and cut it into smaller pieces to disguise what it once held.

Alarm System
Alarm systems are a smart tool, but be sure that your installers mount the control pad in a location that is not visible from a first floor window. Potential burglars may be able to see whether or not the alarm system is activated. This is especially true at night when the green or red status light is clearly visible in a darkened home.

Social Media
Social media is a fun way to stay in touch with friends and share travel experiences, but it should be done after the trip.

Because social media is mostly a public platform, you don’t want to announce to the world that you’ll be out of town. Burglars can easily search common keywords (ex. trip, travel, vacation) to potentially find out when homes will be empty.

To avoid this, share your wonderful photos and stories about your trip after you return home. IF you must share, be sure you are sharing it privately so only your close friends and family can see.

Mail Pileups
Piled up mail and newspapers scream that homeowners are away, and this is visible to anyone who simply drives by your home. Before you leave, contact your local post office and/or newspaper to temporarily suspend service. Or you can ask a friend or neighbor to pick up any mail or newspapers while you’re away. Activity around the front of the home will help to make your home look occupied as well.

Ladder Access
Most of these tips have addressed first-floor issues because it’s much more difficult to break-in through the second story. However, some homeowners may not know that they are providing simple and easy access to their second floor. Refrain from leaving your ladder in the yard where it can be easily seen and used by burglars. Instead, store it away in a garage or locked tool shed.

Assuming Daytime Is Safe
Break-ins are often associated with nighttime, but daytime break-ins are quite common. This is because burglars prefer an empty home, and during the day, most occupants are at school or work. With that said, the appropriate measures should be taken. Whenever you’re away from home, day or night, remember to turn your alarm systems on, keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and close and lock all doors and windows.

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Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our extensive selection of quality security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages and security equipment for your home or business. If you have any questions or would like a free quote, please feel free to contact us 888-203-6294.

Video Surveillance Maintenance

Implementing an advanced, top quality CCTV surveillance system can greatly improve your overall security. However, if not installed and maintained properly, it could ultimately be useless. In order to preserve its effectiveness, be sure your surveillance system is professionally installed and that you routinely complete maintenance checks.

Employ this video surveillance maintenance checklist to keep your system functioning optimally.

  • Clean Camera Lenses

A dirty camera lens will compromise your video footage. Smudges, dust, water-spots and other undesirable elements can occur. To avoid this, check both indoor and outdoor camera lenses to ensure they are clean. Ideally, to clean your camera lenses, you should start with a compressed air can to blow the lens and remove loose debris, and then use a microfiber brush to gently wipe the lenses.

  • Landscape

When installing outdoor cameras, be sure there are no obstructions. If you must install an outdoor camera near trees or other greenery, be sure to trim the landscape to keep the field of view clear.

  • Camera Housing

Security camera housing is meant to protect your camera from rain, wind, and other elements, but sometimes it can be compromised. To ensure that the housing is functioning properly, open it to check for signs of water, dirt, and condensation. If you see any of these, it may be time to invest in new, better camera enclosures.

  • Check For Corrosion

Be sure to monitor your connectors for any signs of corrosion. If you find that any are corroded, replace them immediately as this can cause the equipment to short out.

  • Check Cable Connections

As you check the connectors for corrosion, you want to also make sure that all cable connectors are receiving power and watch for signs of wear and tear. If you find any exposed wire, replace it immediately.

  • Check The Power Supply

To ensure that there is no loss of power, check your power supplies and UPS (be sure batteries are fully charged and no warning lights are on). You may also want to invest in a voltmeter to guarantee that your surveillance cameras are receiving their recommended power requirements.

  • Dust Your DVR

As with any dormant device, your DVR may begin collecting dust. You should wipe this clean with a microfiber cloth (or use a blower to dust the crevices) regularly to prevent any negative effect on your DVR’s performance.

  • Emptying The Hard Drive

Depending on your hard drive capacity, you will need to periodically back up and delete your video footage once it fills up.

  • Verify The Recording Function At Least Once Per Week

Set a weekly reminder to check on your camera recordings to make sure they are working. It is better to take preventative measures so that you don’t miss any important footage.

  • Periodically Review Camera Position Set Ups

Make sure your security system is providing optimal surveillance by checking camera locations and focus. If there are any areas that are going unmonitored, you may consider adding additional cameras.

  • Check The Lighting

Be sure that your cameras are receiving adequate lighting to produce clear images for easy identification. Additionally, make sure cameras are not being washed out by sunlight during the day.

  • Check And Remove Any Obstructions

As mentioned, you want your camera to have an unobstructed view. Should a hidden camera become covered by a banner or poster, be sure to remove and/or relocate them.

  • Date And Time

Check the date and time on a daily basis for accuracy. A brief power outage may require the date and time to be set again.

  • Signage

Visible surveillance signage can act as a deterrent on its own. It lets potential intruders know that you are employing a video surveillance system and may discourage them from targeting your property.

  • Secure A Comprehensive Maintenance Coverage

Many service level agreements to maintain your surveillance system are available. They may include things like inspection, loaner gear, emergency response, extended warranty coverage, and more.

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If you need help choosing the CCTV surveillance system and security cameras that will best suit your needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!

Safety Tips For 4th Of July Holiday

With Independence Day fast approaching, many of us are making plans to celebrate. Whether it’s a family outing to the beach or a fireworks show, or simply a backyard barbecue at home, heed these safety tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Fireworks Safety
Fireworks are safest when admired from afar (at least 500 feet). Look for local public fireworks displays and try to secure a prime spot early (as these tend to be crowded events). If your city allows fireworks and you decide to light them at home, please follow these safety precautions:

  • Keep fireworks away from small children.
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a water supply close by (better safe than sorry).
  • The person igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never attempt to relight a “dud.”
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Grilling Safety
What is summer without backyard barbecues? As much as we love grilling under the sun, injuries are all too common when using backyard charcoal or gas grills. To prevent injury and maintain safety, follow these tips:

  • A barbecue grill that is in use should always be supervised.
  • Never grill indoors (ex. inside a house, camper, tent or any enclosed area).
  • Make sure everyone (including pets) stays away from the grill.
  • Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
  • For the chef’s safety, use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

Beach Safety
If your beach visit includes swimming in the ocean, be sure to learn how to swim in the surf within the designated swimming area and only when/where a lifeguard is present. In addition, be sure to obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.

  • Check local weather conditions and look for any warning signs or flags that may be posted.
  • Always swim sober and with a buddy.
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear Coast Guard- approved life jackets.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive head first. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Waves can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch for aquatic life – water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

Rip Currents
Rip currents are relatively strong, narrow currents flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone, posing a potential hazard to swimmers. In fact, rip currents are responsible for many deaths and lifeguards rescues on our beaches. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents, so be aware of the dangers and remember these things:

  • If a person is caught in a rip current, it is advised to swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward the shore. If they can’t swim to the shore, they should float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward the shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties – permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Sun Protection
You should limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 (reapply often). Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water regularly (thirsty or not) and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent UV sunlight. Also remember to protect your feet – hot sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.

During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke – hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:

  • Call 911 and move the person to a cooler place.
  • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
  • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the individual lying down.

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Don’t forget! We will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 for Independence Day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. From everyone at SecurityCamExpert.com, we wish you a safe & happy Independence Day!

Protect Your Home

As we embark on the summer season, home security is emphasized. The long days and warm weather call for later nights, weekend getaways, and vacations. Whether you stay home or not, up your home security with these helpful tips.

Exterior Doors
With several different points of weakness (ex. handle, lock, hinges, frame) an exterior door is a common target for burglars. Sliding doors and French doors present even more weaknesses.

  • Invest in a sturdy deadbolt lock – the spring-latch lock on your door handle is easily compromised.
  • Install door armor kits on exterior doors, which usually include 3″ screws to replace short screws that come with door hardware, hefty strike plates for handles and deadbolts, and metal framing to place around the hinge and handle/lock hardware. This helps to reinforce the weak points of your door and safeguard against intruders.
  • Add auxiliary locks to sliding doors, such as loop locks, security bars ( also known as sliding door polls or Charlie bars), or vertical bolt locks.
  • Add a security bar to French doors to prevent kick-ins. While they may not be visually appealing, they are effective.
  • With French doors, and most doors in general, make sure all of your hinge pins are interior-facing to avoid giving burglars easy access without force.
  • Glass doors should be enforced with security film. This prevents glass from being easily broken.

Windows
Luckily, there are numerous ways to increase window security, whether they are old or you are installing new windows.

New windows:

  • Choose reinforced (tempered or laminated) glass or acrylic (polycarbonate) windows. These are much harder to break than traditional glass windows and can help deter criminals from continuing after the first attempt at breaking in.
  • Choose multiple panes of glass instead of one large pane. Multiple glass panes provide added strength and durability.

Old Windows:

  • Add after-market window locks to your built-in window locks. These provide an easy and inexpensive way to prevent windows from being forced open. Depending on the style of your window, you may need double hung window locks, sliding window locks or locks for casement windows (sometimes called crank windows).
  • For additional protection, exterior windows bars may be added. Aside from protecting your windows, most of these window bars come in decorative designs to accent the style of your home.
  • As previously mentioned, security film can be added to windows to decrease the likelihood of break-ins (thicker film provides the highest level of protection).

Garage Doors
Unfortunately, an attached garage door can be easily compromised, and garage door security is often overlooked. What is especially troubling is that after gaining access, burglars can quickly shut the garage door behind them and take their time rummaging through your home without being seen.

  • Refrain from leaving garage door openers in your vehicles. It may seem inconvenient, but it is worth the security.
  • Secure your garage door emergency release to prevent easy intruder access. You may fasten it with a zip tie (which can be broken by yanking the release cord) or place a barrier between the top of the door and the release.
  • A garage door sensor can alert you when your garage has opened. Newer garage door openers have this feature built-in as well as an auto-closing feature that will close your garage door after a long period of time.
  • A deadbolt on the door between your garage and home will help to prevent further intrusion. You may want to also install a peephole viewer on this door to make it easier to inspect the garage without opening the door.
  • Install a bright, motion sensing light in the garage to bring attention to an open garage door.

Make Your Home Look Occupied
Regardless if you are home or not, you want to make it look like your home is occupied. An unoccupied home is a prime target for burglars.

  • Use strategically placed lights and lamps with timers. Lights turning on and off in different rooms will make it appear as if you are home.
  • Leave a television or radio on at moderate volume. Noise will make criminals think you are home, and the light from the television mimics activity.
  • Leave some curtains or blinds open. This is helpful if you are using light timers or a television to cast light. It can also be helpful should police or a neighbor need to take a look into your home.

Perimeter Security
Some of the best tactics are not thought of as prevention techniques.

  • Get a dog. A barking dog may make enough noise to bring attention to an approaching burglar and deter them from proceeding.
  • Invest in a home security system and signage. This may deter them from targeting your home, and if it does not, you know your home is protected and that police will be alerted in a timely fashion.
  • Outdoor lighting is a great way to keep intruders away. Darkness allows intruders to sneak around your property unnoticed, but dusk-to-dawn porch lights and motion-activated lights around your perimeter help to increase visibility.
  • Keep a car parked in the driveway. This makes it seem that someone is home.
  • Maintain your landscape and keep bushes and shrubs near windows trimmed to minimize hiding spots. You may even consider planting thorny or spiked plants (ex. blackberry bushes, holly, juniper) to prevent burglars from getting too close.

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Need help finding the right home security system for you? Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection of surveillance systems or call 888-203-6294 today!

Building The Ideal CCTV Surveillance System

When it comes to securing your property, CCTV cameras can be very effective. However, because there are a wide variety of CCTV cameras suited for different applications, if they are not properly implemented, their effectiveness may be compromised.

Before choosing your surveillance system, review the different types of CCTV cameras and the application for which they are best suited.

Different Types Of CCTV

Dome Camera

  • Commonly used for indoor surveillance
  • The ambiguous shape & design acts as a deterrent as criminals are unsure which way the camera is facing
  • Ease of installation
  • Vandal-proof features
  • Infrared capability

Bullet Camera

  • Long, cylindrical shape ideal for long distance viewing
  • Better suited for outdoor use
  • Protective casings safeguard against dust, dirt, and other natural elements
  • Compact size makes for easy installation and mounting with bracket
  • Fitted with either fixed or varifocal lenses depending on the requirements of the intended application
  • Adaptability (can be used indoors and outdoors)
  • High quality image resolution

C-Mount Camera

  • Detachable lenses allow for simple lens changes to fit different applications
  • Specialized lens use allow these cameras the ability to cover distances beyond 40ft
  • Can support changes in technology
  • Effective for indoor use
  • Bulky design and presence acts as a deterrent

Day/Night Camera

  • Can operate in both normal and poorly lit environments
  • They utilize extra sensitive imaging chips (instead of infrared illuminators)
  • Ideal for outdoor applications in which IR cameras do not function optimally
  • Record in both color and black & white
  • Wide variety of sizes available
  • IR (Infrared) capability

PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) Camera

  • Used with live guard or surveillance specialist operating the security systems
  • Pan and tilt rotation
  • Smart tracking features
  • Powerful zoom and autofocus

What To Consider
Choosing the right CCTV camera for your property is important. You want to evaluate your needs to determine where you will place these cameras as well as their primary use in that location. Some factors to consider when choosing include the lens, sensor, and output resolution.

  • Lens

The lens will dictate the quality of the image. The appropriate lens will allow your camera to focus and bring in enough light to the sensor, providing clarity and the ability to better identify things such as faces and license plates. A zoom lens will allow for further detail since it can adjust the light as it reaches to sensor for enhanced pictures and flexibility.

  • Sensor

There are two types of sensors:

  1. CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor)
  2. CCD (charged coupled device) cameras

CCD are more expensive than CMOS and produce clearer images (ideal for identifying faces and license plates).

  • Output Resolution

Generally speaking, the more pixels, the better the picture. The highest resolution you can get is 700TL, but most cameras range between 300-550TVL. Be sure to match a resolution that your camera can produce because anything more is unnecessary.

Other Things To Consider:

  • Discreet Vs. Visible

Box cameras are easier to be seen and clearly tell passersby that they are being recorded, which acts as a great deterrent. Dome cameras, on the other hand, are smaller and more discreet, making them ideal for monitoring larger areas such as front or backyards.

  • Indoors Vs. Outdoors

Consider where you will place your cameras both indoors and outdoors. If you plan on placing them outdoors, you want to ensure they are in the best location and well protected (weatherproof and vandal proof housing). For indoor cameras, you want to make sure it will not be affected by things like grease or steam from the kitchen.

  • Lighting Conditions

Whether indoors or outdoors, lighting will always change so it is advised that you test different camera models to see what works best with your lighting conditions. You also want to check for any reflections or backlighting during day or night.

  • Image Clarity

This will depend on the size of the area you want to monitor. Thus, a camera situated in a small room need not be of high resolution. The resolution of your CCTV camera should reflect the landscape in order to provide effective images.

  • Audio?

This depends on your personal preference (you should also look into the laws regarding audio recording if applicable). Some CCTV systems allow you to speak to the intruders, or you can have audio or alarms sound automatically when they reach a certain point. These tactics are meant to scare the intruders away before they can cause damage.

If you need help choosing the right CCTV surveillance system, call 888-203-6294 and we will be happy to help! You may also browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Safeguard Your Video Surveillance System

While video surveillance systems protect us from potential intruders and dangers, without the proper safeguards, these systems can fall victim to hackers. In order to maintain the integrity of your video surveillance system and keep the cybercriminals at bay, you may want to consider following these tips to protect your surveillance system.

Choose Branded Video Cameras
If you invest in cameras that are not branded, you may not receive the necessary updates and security patches that often come with branded security cameras. This means that your non-branded cameras will remain susceptible to vulnerabilities and exploits. Play it safe and purchase branded cameras known for quality cyber security and be sure to routinely check for patches and updates.

Protect Your Surveillance Network
A major vulnerability of surveillance systems lies in open IP cameras. With these IP cameras located across your property and connected to your network, anyone can disconnect your cameras and connect a laptop or device and gain access to your entire network. To prevent this, lock down the MAC addresses that can connect to the network, allowing only your cameras to connect to your surveillance systems.

Setup VLANs
Never put your surveillance cameras on the same network as your workstation. Keep your security camera network isolated via VLANs and only allow the video recorders to communicate with the cameras.

Change The Default Camera Password
This seems like a no-brainer, however, it must be said. The default password is often readily available on the company’s website, thus, it is advised to change the default password to a strong one that you can remember.

Keep Separate Logins For Access & Admin Privileges
Along the same lines, you want to keep separate logins when it comes to access and administrative privileges. That way only the appropriate employees can gain access to the admin privileges, such as updating firmware or obtaining streaming video.

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Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock of affordable CCTV security cameras and video surveillance systems. To request a site survey or free quote, please call 888-203-6294.

Night Vision Security Camera Tips

Burglars often like to creep in the dark night in hopes of being undetected. This is precisely why night vision security cameras are so important. But keep in mind that the value of night vision cameras is directly connected to their effectiveness and performance. To employ the best night vision surveillance system, keep these things in mind.

  • IP Power

Remember that all IR CCTV cameras have a quoted maximum range. For example, these can range from 5m to 50m or longer. This range is the absolute maximum, meaning at these extremes, your image quality will not be its best. Measuring how far you need to see and then adding a third of that is recommended. For example, if you need to see 30m, it may be advised to invest in a 40m camera.

On the other hand, you don’t want the IR to be too powerful either. Most CCTV cameras cannot adjust the IR brightness, thus, if a subject is too close to a camera designed for long ranges, it will simply look too bright and/or washed out.

  • Wide Angle Lenses

IR LEDS are designed to brightly illuminate the center of an image, therefore, most of these cameras will not have a very wide angle of view. While this is not a common problem, some cameras will have varifocal lenses that can zoom out. With these, be aware that at the wide end of the zoom, the corners of your image will not be covered by night vision.

  • Field Of View

For all security cameras, you want to be sure that the field of view is clear of obstructions, but this is especially important for IR CCTV cameras. If there is something like a branch or leaves in the frame, the LEDs will focus on these and they will be brightly lit. The rest of the image will be made darker in order to compensate, thus rendering the image is useless.

  • Reflection For IR

In order for night vision cameras to work, IR needs something to reflect off of. When users point a camera into an empty field, they may be alarmed when there is nothing but darkness and may assume the night vision is not working, but this is not the case. When a subject moves into range, the IR can reflect off of it, and thus, the subject will be visible.

  • Mounting Height

Keep the height at which your cameras will be installed in mind when you are considering the power of your night vision. This is especially important when installing cameras above ground floor height. For example, if your car is parked 4m away from your house, and your camera is mounted 3m from the ground, the actual distance from camera to car is 5m.

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For a great selection of night vision security cameras and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with us directly.

Why Choose Wireless Security Systems?

Protecting your home from possible intruders is a high priority for most these days. When it comes to security systems, the debate between wired or wireless can be a tough decision. Both types offer advantages and disadvantages, with wired systems often seen as more reliable and wireless as more convenient. It really comes down to your own individual security needs and which type of system better suits these. Because wireless security camera systems are more advanced, they seem to be more appealing. Here we’ll review some of the important benefits of wireless security systems.

  • Better Security

Wireless security systems offer better protection against intruders than wired security systems. Since wired systems use the telephone line or internet connection, if one or both of these are down, so is your security system. Wireless systems use more reliable cellular connections, and thus, the alarm will still be triggered via the dedicated cellular service or the batter powered backup system.

  • Easy Installation

Most wireless systems are usually plug and play or DIY and can be set up in under 30 minutes, making installation of these systems and equipment easy and convenient. Wired systems require professional installation that takes longer to set up and test to ensure proper installation and functioning.

  • Remote Surveillance

Wireless systems often provide other functions, such as controlling lights and locking and unlocking doors. These tasks can be managed remotely via an app installed on your smart phone or device.

  • Mobile

Because they are easy to install, wireless security systems are also easy to uninstall and relocate. This is helpful when you are moving or even when you need to expand your system.

Although these seem like great advantages, they may not be right for you. As mentioned, it is important to evaluate your own security needs to better understand which type of system will work best for you. If you need help deciding, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294. You may request a free quote or schedule a site survey. Browse our comprehensive stock of affordable security solutions online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Security Cameras: Common Positioning Mistakes

When security cameras are installed and positioned properly, they can provide effective security and video footage to protect your property. However, simple mistakes when implementing a security system can negate its effectiveness. To maximize your security systems performance and efficiency, be sure to avoid these common security camera mistakes.

  • Multitasking

Try not to assign too many tasks to a single camera, as these will likely be executed poorly. Choose a single goal, such as capturing a face, a license plate, or general coverage, and optimize the placement and settings for that goal.

  • Height

While the highest point of your property may seem ideal to capture a wide viewing range, it will not provide detailed images for identification. You want to place cameras high enough to deter tampering and vandalism while still finding a balance between the ultimate goal, the effective range, and number of cameras you are employing. This is why careful planning and calculations are crucial.

  • Wide Dynamic Range

Doorways and windows are prone to an imbalance of light distribution, and, therefore require Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Without it, you may not be able to capture a decent image unless the camera is in the proper angle or the person looks directly into the camera. Be sure to choose the right features for the appropriate locations and environment.

  • Fixed Vs. PTZ

Because of their abilities, PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) cameras tend to be more appealing to customers. The problem is that after taking advantage of the features, the camera is hardly ever returned to its “home” location, and thus, is left focusing on less important areas. While they can be helpful tools in various situations, PTZ cameras are better used in conjunction with fixed cameras. That way, fixed cameras will always be focused on the key areas while the PTZ cameras can monitor the surrounding areas or points of interest as necessary.

  • DVR/NVR Placement

Protecting your equipment is ever important, but sometimes, users leave the central brains of the systems as an afterthought. Be sure that the placement of your DVR/NVRs is both secure and efficient for your system.

  • Lighting

You need to consider lighting, especially if you need to capture video overnight. Aside from night vision, be mindful of the available light in your camera locations. Be sure not to mount cameras too close to bright lights, which can disrupt the view.

  • Masking High Traffic

It is important to adjust and program each device for a maximum balance of capturing required information and maximizing storage returns. If this is neglected, you may cause your DVR/NVR to shorten, thus limiting video retention.

  • Proper Retention Calculation

Choosing a system that does not allow for customization of video retention time will limit your security system’s flexibility. Instead, look for systems which will allow you to modify your storage options based on your individual needs.

Build your ideal video surveillance system with us! Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock or call 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Maintenance Tips For Your Security Camera System

Keeping your security camera system in good condition and running sufficiently is very important. A routine system maintenance schedule will ensure you are getting the most out of your system. Here are some smart practices to consider when it comes to maintaining your security system.

  • Semi-Annual Inspections

You want to inspect both your indoor and outdoor cameras for any signs of corrosion and replace any connectors that show signs as this can cause your equipment to short out. Power supplies should be inspected to ensure that your system hasn’t lost power due to tampering, burn out, natural disasters or other unexpected events. If you have a UPS, make sure the battery is fully charged and does not show any warning lights.

  • Clean Camera Lenses

Check your security cameras lenses for dust, smudges, water spots and other elements. A dirty lens can render your camera useless because the video and image quality will be compromised.

  • Check Security Camera Positioning

Evaluate your camera positioning and adjust accordingly based on your current surveillance needs. You also want to ensure your cameras have not become loose as this can interfere with recording quality. Jiggle the area to make sure there are no vibrations – tighten and adjust as necessary.

  • Replace Malfunctioning Cameras & Parts

If you notice a decline in the performance of your security cameras, it is wise to replace them before they become completely useless. While you are inspecting your system, take note of any issues that need to be addressed (ex. broken parts). It is recommended that you purchase replacement parts or accessories from the same manufacturer or a trusted seller to ensure you are purchasing real parts. These usually have warranties and are less likely to deteriorate prematurely.

  • Landscaping

Make sure your outdoor cameras still have a clear view. Be sure to trim all vines, bushes, trees, and other foliage around the cameras to prevent obstructions. In addition, you should make sure any animals (ex. birds, squirrels, bees) have not made a home near your cameras.

  • Check Housing & Weatherproof Function

Although you enclose your cameras in weatherproof housing, you must make sure that the housing has not been compromised. Open the camera housing to check for water, condensation or dirt, to confirm that your housing is still protecting your equipment. Furthermore, too much sunlight or water exposure can damage your cameras, thus protecting your cameras with an encasing or small shed is advised (especially if your cameras are not designed to withstand these elements).

  • Check Cable Connections

When your security cameras stop working properly, more often than not, it comes down to loose connections or worn out cables. Examine all of your cable connections, including those connected to your security cameras, DVR, and monitor, for any cables that show signs of wear and tear. Address any potential issues to ensure your cables and equipment are securely connected and receiving power.

  • Save The Manual

When you purchase and install equipment, you should receive a manual – store this in a safe and accessible place. You can refer to your manual to troubleshoot any issues before calling a professional (which can save you money in the long run).

Keeping your security system up and running protects your investment, your property, and you. Aside from your own semi-annual inspections, you may want to have a professional evaluate your system annually. This can help maintain the integrity of your system and they can advise you on possible upgrades or share helpful tips.

If you’re looking for affordable security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our selection online or inquire about site surveys, installation services, or request a free quote by calling 888-203-6294 today! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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