Posts Tagged ‘ Security Cameras ’

The Importance of Security Camera and Security Recorder Maintenance

Written By:
Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Imagine walking into your business the morning after something occurred overnight, and you need the video that will help locate the suspect. You find out your system was not recording, or the equipment just turned itself off and failed to capture the event. Frustration understood. You bought the equipment for the specific reason to record when a wrongdoing occurs. Often, system failure is due to the lack of security recorder maintenance on your recorder or cameras. Equipment failures can happen and will happen if proper attention is not paid to the device over time.

A DVR/NVR is an apparatus for security, and it is important to keep it running at optimal performance. Security Recorder Maintenance will prolong the life of the unit and reduce potential for future operational anomalies and failures.

When the system is initially installed, generally there is no documentation providing recommended maintenance for the equipment. This article will give you some general insight, and suggestions, on how to maintain your security system and cameras. Of course, not even the “master of maintaining” can control the “other” factors that also cause the same failures. For example, power outages, storms, lightning, brownouts, circuit trips, alien invasions, etc.

Here is a little bit about EOS/ESD, dust and humidity, specifically.

EOS and ESD (electrical overstress, electric static discharge respectively) are the most common causes of failure for any electrical device. The odds are greater in that a random power surge, lightning strike, failing power supply, or lasting brownout will occur more often than the very slow, progressive, deterioration caused by dust and humidity. Therefore, we should understand the device’s power source and incoming voltage to the system. It is common knowledge in the tech world that ESD are those tiny little rascal lightning bolts that discharge when you come in contact with something after rubbing a balloon on your head or feet against the carpet. Yep, those can damage a circuit board also known as the PCB (Printed circuit board), in a heartbeat if there is direct contact to the board. Of course, the probability that the mainboard would be on the outside of the chassis is about none, but it is still good to know about the effects of ESD when you are maintaining the system.

EOS is another form of over-voltage. EOS can be a momentary event or can cause damage over a course of time. Unlike ESD, where the electricity is dispersed immediately at higher voltages and amperes, EOS is defined as the voltage throughout that exceeds the specified limitations of the device. If the incoming voltage is beyond the specific limitations of the device, EOS will cause localized high temperatures in materials used in the device’s architecture affecting the whole device. You can help prevent EOS by incorporating proper grounding and shielding of lines and receptacles, and only using the correct power supplies.

Examples of damage caused by EOS:


Dust is everywhere and humidity may be present as well. Both of these environmental factors can cause issues with any electrical device. When dust collects on electronic components, it eventually interferes with the flow of electricity through the PCB. Over time, the accumulated dust becomes an insulator, potentially overheating circuits and increasing the chance of failure in capacitors or other vital parts of the PCB creating functional anomalies, random shutdowns, inconsistent operational issues.

Examples of Dust:

enough said

Humidity also has a part to play in this. PCBs can suffer from a variety of problems if the surface is covered with electrically conducting materials, like dust, and combined with moisture, this results in a lowering of resistance and eventually can lead to corrosion of metals. Protect the equipment from humidity by using a bit common sense. Do not install your system in a rain barrel. Some installations are required to install the security equipment in a separate building or a secured shed with no climate control. In these unique circumstances, there are products available that are air tight with ventilation. Luckily, improvements have been made in manufacturing. PCB makers will generally apply a conformal coating over the PCB to help reduce the impact of this natural nuisance!

Examples of damage caused by humidity (rust):

Side note: ANY variation of system overheating, whether it be caused by poor ventilation, dust, humidity, overvoltage, etc. wears down the system circuitry, decreases performance, and increases system instability.

Now that we have covered some of the basics in “high tech equipment nuisances 101,” here are some suggested practical measures to follow in taking care of your security investment.

– Blow out and clean all case fans with compressed/canned air
– Perform a search of footage, varying dates. Doing this checks HDD recording performance.
No footage = Possible HDD issues

Three Months
– Repeat Monthly maintenance
– Look for any video footage anomalies that may indicate a failing camera. This includes camera images that do not look focused and clear, rolling vertical/horizontal lines, diagonal lines, wavy image, color/lighting fluctuations, really bright/dark images (without manual adjustments) etc.

Six Months
– Repeat 3 month DVR maintenance
– Open the case and blow out the system (while unit is turned completely OFF) with compressed/canned air. Make sure to clean out all components, including the power supply (if power supply is mounted inside the unit).
– Run a Hard drive check from the System Main Menu (not available in some models)
– Test UPS battery backup by pulling the plug from the wall. UPS is a highly recommended accessory to have for surveillance equipment.

– Repeat 6 month DVR maintenance
– Meter the UPS and/or Line Conditioner for proper voltage. Also meter the incoming voltage at the wall to determine your raw power conditions.

Of course you can create your own maintenance schedule if you choose. There is no set procedure that needs to be followed. Just keep in mind that the goal is to inspect the equipment and keep it clean. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. A happy recorder is a trustworthy recorder. Hypothetically speaking, if the system is stellar, the camera system may even capture a real ghost using motion detection! In broad daylight! Give yourself a gold star for that! Watch out Ghost Hunters, the mother of maintained surveillance equipment is here!


Persistent Surveillance Systems – The Eye in the Sky

Written By:
Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Persistent Surveillance Systems

Are you against or for aerial surveillance systems?

Working in the surveillance industry, you come to realize really quick that CCTV systems can widely reduce crime when in plain sight. Most people who are considering breaking the law will think twice when they see or know that there are surveillance cameras watching their every move. As we forge on into the future, technology is improving at an insane rate. This of course comes along with many privacy concerns. There are technologies that can help solve crimes which are not being used for privacy reasons alone. One technology that rides on the border of these privacy concerns is called Persistent Surveillance Systems. These are wide area surveillance systems that are usually mounted to a plane, drone, or tower high in the sky and can capture video of whole cities or towns. These innovative systems are no longer just being used to only capture video of military battles, but also being used by the police force to watch over cities. Some of these systems are composed of 192 Megapixel, full color cameras mounted to a plane in multiple locations to keep an eye on crime from up above. These multiple cameras are mounted in a way that they point in different directions to capture separate sections of a location and the software stitches it all together as one.

Ross McNutt by one of his aerial surveillance Cessnas

Ross McNutt by one of his aerial surveillance Cessnas

Ross McNutt, the genial president of Persistent Surveillance Systems, mentioned that he has witnessed many occurrences where people were murdered. The murderers were captured because of this technology, and most people feel that there would be even less crime once there is more press out there about these cities having surveillance up in the sky. In one specific incident, even though the video had very poor clarity, the images revealed a gang getting together to block off road access points and sending a shooter to meet his target. The cameras captured this man taking off after the body hit the ground. When the police finally received a copy of the report, they noticed that there was a picture of a blue building that the murderer ran into. This footage contained the images of a man being murdered in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, using cameras specially fitted onto a Cessna plane. McNutt stated, “I’ve witnessed 34 of these. It’s like opening up a murder mystery in the middle, and you need to figure out what happened before and after.”

We have definitely become more accustomed to seeing CCTV surveillance cameras in public, and most people don’t even think twice about it. However, new technologies are here that most people aren’t even aware of yet and it’s capable of being deployed without anyone even really knowing about it. These technologies can track cars in small cities for many hours at a time. The clarity isn’t good enough to distinguish faces or license plates, but it certainly is capable of tracking an individual. If a police officer wanted to find out who they were tracking, all they have to do is go to the business or the homes of the places these individuals are visiting and ask them to help identify the person of interest.

These cameras are already being used for securing large events such as the Ohio political rally where John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate back in 2008 (Which was a stupid move in my opinion!). They have even used this technology for Police demonstrations and NASCAR races. They have even been commissioned to use it for a request that a Mexican politician put in for the city of Ciudad Juárez. These cameras have basically become a time machine for the police force, allowing them to look back at an incident that occurred during the recording.

Persistent Surveillance Systems

Aerial Surveillance Software leads to capturing criminals but at what cost?

Of course, this is becoming more and more of a civil liberty concern for city officials and civilians alike. The Supreme Court has given permission for this technology to be used as long as they are only video taping instances that can be seen with the naked eye in public. McNutt is a retired Air Force officer who has designed a similar system and has been fighting to win over the officials. He did make a good point that these flights are way cheaper and more efficient than police helicopter missions. He has also mentioned that a single camera on top of the Washington monument could possibly deter most of the crime in the area. Especially if the media speaks up about it and help make more people aware. Criminals will definitely be deterred when they hear about all the cameras that are on them when they are about to commit a particular crime. Those 192MP cameras can capture up to 50 crimes within a short 6 hour flight that would provide the city police with a stream that covers more than 1/3 of the city. McNutt feels that this technology will deter crime enough to raise property values, create better schools, increase development in the specific areas, and eventually even lower arrest rates.

The Dayton Ohio police force has even planned on inviting the public out to see how this system works. This will more than likely make some people feel better about it, and also deter others who may have been criminals before and are then too scared to commit a crime in fear of being caught. Many defense contractors are eager to use technology that has been used in the military in the past, but McNutt is taking the time to get information from the American Civil Liberties Union in order to write a proper privacy policy for this technology. This policy would set the rules on how long and how much data can be stored, as well as setting some guidelines for who has the ability to access the system and footage. According to the policy being put together, Police shouldn’t be able to watch back any of the footage unless there is a crime that occurred. This way the system cannot be misused to spy on people or gather information that is not directly related to protecting the city. He plans on extending the range that these cameras can see, but he does not have current plans to improve the clarity of the footage. So in reality, people shouldn’t be so worried about what they’re going to be seen doing since the cameras can’t pick up that kind of clarity. People are certainly worried that if they’re hanging out in their yards, that every move they make is going to be seen. These cameras will benefit in seeing a person leaving the scene of the crime and following them to their destination instead of seeing every last detail of the person and vehicle they may be driving. During one demonstration of the software, there was an attempted robbery in a book store and shots were fired. The footage ended up showing that there was just one car which drove between locations helping them identify what happened.

Unfortunately, this is how police departments are viewing this issue. They would rather people be afraid of when they’re being watched and I’m not sure that’s really the best solution to these problems. This type of attitude can lead to the “1984” scenario that everyone always talks about. Militarize police in America, it’s what everyone seems to be against other than the police. Even the politicians feel that this isn’t the best solution and they know that the public wont be too happy about it even with their privacy policy. Just because those are the rules doesn’t mean that police forces are going to fully obey them. McNutt has complained that they aren’t serious about crime, but I disagree. I feel like he’s just disregarding the fact that these politicians and the public may have a much better understanding of the constitutional problem with an aerial surveillance system.

How do you guys feel about this? Do you think it’s okay for them to monitor cities and towns from the sky in order to maintain public safety, or do you think it’s just going to cause more privacy issues while going against our civil liberties? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comment section below.

If you have any questions that we may be able to answer about CCTV products for your home or business feel free to contact us at anytime Mon-Fri from 9AM-8PM EST. We have now opened a secondary location in Wheat Ridge Colorado so we’re able to stay open two hours later in order to help you with your tech support or sales questions. Our phone numbers and contact info are listed below in the footer of this web site.


Security Cameras – An invasion of privacy or necessary evil?

Written By:
Friday, May 1st, 2015

It was 1984 and Rockwell must have seen the future when he flooded the airwaves with his hit “Somebody’s Watching Me”. The paranoid pop rant was catapulted to the top of the charts with Michael Jackson adding his distinct voice to the chorus of a song that spoke of “The Twilight Zone” and “Psycho” as the writer asked “can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid”.


Fast forward 30 years and Somebody Is Watching You! From satellites hovering high above to cameras intruding on almost every aspect of your daily life, you might consider them nothing more than an invasion of your privacy. You question big-brother (AKA The Government) reaching beyond the limits of legal and ethical standards. So, is the proliferation of cameras in our day to day lives a bad thing?

Before you make a decision in respect to the good and bad of it, a little history lesson might be helpful. A glimpse back to what may very well be the first known “security camera” ever used shows that in 1933, a Mr. Norbury in London, England was disturbed to find eggs and chickens missing from his coops. He set up a simple box camera with cords that were connected to the door and the lever on the camera that would cause an image to be captured when the door was opened! To make it even more effective, he fixed a second cord to the door and when it was opened; it made a piece of metal rattle against the tin tub that the eggs were kept in. This caused the intruder to look toward the sound giving the victim a perfect profile of him. Within a matter of days, Frederick William Barnwell struck again and his image was captured, subsequently resulting in a guilty plea and kudos from the judge. Pure genius!


Think about a security video as a compilation of a bunch of images like the single image of the egg thief. Images have been proving, disproving and leaving us wanting more for over a century. Today, hidden and not so hidden cameras are everywhere. They’re in offices, retail locations, the drive-thru, schools, EVERY Government building, main streets, side streets and even in your home. Maybe you’ve seen red-light cameras that are triggered by a sensor located under the white stop line and before the entrance of the intersection. This sensor becomes active when the traffic light turns red.  NOT yellow, but completely red. There are spy planes, Google-maps, private satellites and the biggest user of security cameras, the Department of Homeland Security!

So, we know that the original intentions were good, but how have security cameras evolved to our present day? What has it come to? Reflections of George Orwell’s 1984 ring true to some in this passage, “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”


Since 9/11, things have changed and many people feel inconvenienced and intruded upon. I think you need to weigh what you have truly given up and how you have been adversely affected. Is it worth one life, or ten, or one-hundred lives that you have to take your shoes off at the airport?  Are you upset because there’s a camera on that downtown street you’re walking down? I’ll bet the college student who was raped by the guy that followed her after she left a restaurant by herself is happy there were cameras that helped identify the rapist! Ray Rice probably wishes he never stepped foot into that elevator with a camera in it but, think about how much conversation and attention was brought to the subject of domestic abuse! Consider the images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev that were captured and tied them to the Boston Marathon bombing and then discuss personal privacy versus public security!

My take on it is this . . . if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t be concerned. Until someone shows me definitive proof that Big Brother is watching me doing every day, mundane things, I’m not going to get worked up about that camera in the retail store or the one that sees me walking down that downtown street or driving  down the highway. I will, however, be glad when the cameras at my house keep out that criminal that needs a fix, or feels entitled to what I’ve worked for. If I’m ever in Boca Raton shopping at Town Center and my car is broken into, I’d like to know that they have security cameras that may have caught a glimpse of the &$@(*$ or their license plate. Last but not least, I’ll be glad to know that there are cameras on campus when my daughters go off to college! Face it, it’s not a perfect world and I’d rather be a little inconvenienced and know that while I’m being watched . . . so is the bad guy!


If you’re still scared and angry because you feel violated, I’ll tell you not to be. As a matter of fact, I suggest you peruse our website at or call us at 1-866-573-8878 and see what we can do to help you feel more secure in your home or business.  And by the way . . . to answer the question “can the people on TV see me or am I just paranoid”. For those of you who have cameras built into your television or laptop, the answer is yes! That’s because the browser on your computer or web enabled TV can be hacked thereby allowing someone to take control of the camera at any time possibly catching you when you least expect it! This doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of cameras and technology. It only means that you need to learn how to protect yourself from unwanted intrusion by making sure that your personal network is protected sufficiently. You know; if your name is Barbara and you were born in 1971, don’t make your network password Barbara71.

Maybe next month we’ll delve into securing your network! Until then . . . act right when you’re in public because chances are . . . you are being watched!


Using Security Cameras in Shipping and Receiving

Written By:
Monday, April 13th, 2015

HD-CVI Camera

Security cameras, also referred to as the surveillance cameras, are one great way of providing security at the place of work and at home among other places. Usually the cameras provide owners with video footage which is recorded when events occur. Security cameras usually act as a visible deterrent especially when it comes to criminal activities. Over the years, the trucking as well as the freight distribution industries have been faced with a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to security. In the ports, for instance, as well as in the distribution centers, the container parks tend to grow while the number of the incoming and outgoing trucks also tend to increase. This means that the opportunity of fraud, theft, and injuries, as well as other costly inefficiencies also tend to increase.

Security cameras and video surveillance play a very important role in the shipping industry, container parks, and in the distribution centers. The cameras normally assist in the prevention of any crimes by deterring criminals or perpetrators because they know they are being watched and at the same time that evidence is being recorded. The security cameras have opened new ways that tend to integrate with different security devices and systems that enhance monitoring and surveillance, hence improving the operational efficiency. In other words, security cameras tend to provide proven strategy that simultaneously improves and also reduces the security cost.

Preventing Mistakes
The security cameras are in most cases used to prevent mistakes as well as to monitor a company’s inventories. Some of the things that the cameras usually help with shipping companies is the prevention of losses. One of the effective loss prevention strategies in the security department of any institution is by catching the persons perpetuating a crime which could be in the form of a theft. Most of today’s surveillance cameras have the capability to enable the warehousing and the freight companies to track the warehouse deliveries as well as unloading and making sure that the trailers and trucks are fully unloaded. The cameras also document the fraudulent workers compensation claims in case of accidents that did not happen. More importantly is that the cameras help in the making of better decisions especially on how to make adjustments that can assist in improving the security around the distribution centers.

These are just two of many incidents(from where packages have been mishandled. With Security cameras these occurrences are less often to occur.

Companies that have many store locations, for instance, may use the security cameras to ensure that security is at par and that every detail is being collected and documented. The cameras are usually placed or fixed at one specific point in order for them to pin point certain specific activities. With such surveillance, criminal activities can easily be spotted and documented. These activities include theft and fraud among other acts that are illegal or tend to pose security threats for the company and the shipping industry.

Improvement of Operations
The security cameras also improve the operations for the shipping industries as well as company warehouses. Through centralizing the security cameras, the surveillance system tends to provide excellent tools for the management to use especially in the improvement of the operations. This system can then be used in monitoring the cargo movement in the freight terminals in order to review them later. As a result the management also tries to look for strategies as well as techniques that can be used to improve the efficiency on safety of the personnel, for example, and the loading procedure among other activities.

Security cameras help keep an eye on every piece of inventory a shipping company has. Also the security recorder’s will provide footage of when inventory was moved, where it was moved to, and who moved it.

Many companies use security cameras in their operations. An example would be to monitor trucks at the companies’ warehouses as well as at the distribution centers. The surveillance cameras tend to track all the movements that are made at that particular time. The cameras are able to record all the loading and unloading processes, the details of both the truck and the driver as well. One advantage of this kind of system is that it is able to provide visual evidence in the event when there is a shipping problem. This system plays a very crucial role in giving protection against intruders or any other possible theft that is likely to occur outside or inside any of the shipping facilities. In case of other mistakes that may occur, such as loading the wrong truck with the wrong merchandise, the cameras are very effective in recording as well as documenting where the problem was. This, therefore, implies that the truck is identified as well as the workers that may have done the mistake so tracing the lost merchandise becomes easier and effective. The quality of the products that are being brought in are also improved, for instance in case of perishable products, the cameras are able to track them as they are being removed from the truck. This implies that the suppliers of such products are likely to be very careful with the quality of the produce they ship in, since they know that they are being watched.

Tightened Security
In most cases, companies tend to acknowledge that there is a need to ensure that the company has greater security. Most often many companies tend to focus mostly on the human resources to implement the company’s need for security thus using a lot of financial resource for its efficiency. However, security cameras as well as the surveillance system tend to be perfect and also cost effective in patrolling the perimeter and ensuring security of the company’s warehouses and also the shipping facilities. For instance, the loading docks sometimes may be overlooked by a larger security department, yet this is a perfect place where a shipment can easily be shortchanged or even get stolen.

In the warehouse as well, good warehouse systems tend to have very comprehensive operational rules that are well backed up by appropriate security systems such as the surveillance cameras. This therefore implies that the guards only need to watch the video and respond to any security threats. The cameras also increase the scene safety for the response through providing clearer video.


Why Are Security Cameras Better Than Security Guards?

Written By:
Friday, September 12th, 2014

HDCVI Bullet Security camera

Hiring security guards was the best way to protect your property or loved ones for a very long time, but that is no longer the case. For millennia, guards were the best option available when you needed protection but as security cameras and the recording devices (DVRs and NVRs) that they are connected to continue to improve, they have become the better choice by an ever growing margin.

The primary way that security guards help to protect these valuable things is by acting as a crime deterrent. The idea behind this is that if an individual is considering committing a criminal act and sees that the security guards are patrolling the area, they will either move on to a different location to perpetrate their nefarious deeds or reconsider committing the crime at all. Over the last decade there has been several studies that show that overtly installed security cameras also act to deter crime in the same way. The results of some of these studies show that the surveillance cameras can actually be an even more effective deterrent since there can be more of them, they can be in multiple locations all of the time, and it’s not always easy to discern the camera’s field of vision. These obvious surveillance cameras can also be supported by other cameras that are less noticeable and therefore making it more difficult to commit a crime without having video of the act taken.

The second reason that a security camera system is a more effective way to protect the items and people that are valuable to you is the costs that are involved with the surveillance equipment versus the payroll for security guards. Although it’s hard to put a price tag on this type of protection and the peace of mind it brings, many people and businesses today have limited budgets, so it’s a good idea to get as much protection as you can with the budget available to you. The price tag of security camera equipment has significantly dropped over the last few years; this is true even for much of the high quality merchandise that is currently available. Even though good quality security camera equipment still isn’t cheap, neither is hiring a team of security guards. There have been many studies that have been conducted in recent years that show that a good security camera system can be up to 30% cheaper per year than a team of security guards.

The third reason that surveillance cameras are better at protecting what you value most is the consistency of the protection offered by them versus security guards. Surveillance cameras provide a watchful eye to help provide protection around the clock, every day of the week. Unlike security guards, security cameras don’t ever take a vacation, take a break, have health related absences from work, become distracted, or fall asleep on the job. They don’t even blink. Security cameras will constantly monitor an area and provide an unbiased account of an event that usually stands up in a court of law better than a lot of eye witness testimony. It’s a well documented fact that a witness’s memory of an event can be inaccurate and it can often be clouded by the stress of the moment. There has been many crimes that have been committed where there were several witnesses who saw the same event but they still ended up giving law enforcement officials completely different accounts of the crime and descriptions of the suspects.

The fourth reason that security cameras provide superior protection is that they can provide blanket coverage where they are installed. Unlike a security guard, which can only be at one place at a time, surveillance cameras can easily be installed in such a way that they offer complete visual coverage of a property all the time. This will allow you to capture video of more than one event that is happening at the same time. You can even install the security cameras in such a way that they have overlapping fields of view, which will give you multiple angles of a particular event. The advantage of being able to see the same event from multiple angles is that it will give the viewer a more complete understanding of what happened.

The fifth reason that many people feel more comfortable trusting the safety of their loved ones or property to security camera is that the cameras take the human element of misconduct out of the equation. There have been several instances of security guards, prison guards or even law enforcement officers behaving badly on the job and getting caught in the act by security cameras. In these cases the security cameras provided an unprejudiced account of the events.

Even if the victim was in the wrong and later convicted of a crime the video of footage of this type of misconduct usually led to disciplinary action, the loss of employment, or legal consequences for these people who had been caught abusing their position of power.

Today many people who have the budget and desire to hire a team of security guards often still get a good surveillance camera system to provide an extra layer of support. This combined type of protection has proven to be very effective if the budget can support both. Because a lot of people or business simply can’t afford both these days, they are being forced to choose one or the other and they are choosing security cameras more and more often all the time.

The bottom line is that security cameras offer a better, more thorough, more reliable level of protection for the things that are most valuable to people and the general public has started to become increasingly aware of it. The fact that all of this is offered for less money than the price tag of a security guard force is another big reason why many people are going the route of security cameras more commonly all the time, making security guards the second consideration, if at all.