Posts Tagged ‘ surveillance ’



Fake Security Cameras

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Deception, as far as security is concerned, plays an important role. Militaries have been deceiving opposing armies for centuries. Pioneers making their way west would routinely place gun barrels out the sides of the Conestoga wagons. This gave the appearance of multiple armed pioneers, when in fact no one was behind the rifle barrels. Bands of marauders, not knowing for sure, would not attack for fear of losing the battle and their lives. Wooden cannons made to appear as if real would be placed on battlefields. The opposing army many times would hesitate, and make a graceful exit from the field of battle. Using fake security cameras employs the same principles of deception that has been used for years.

Creating Doubt

Simply giving a criminal a moment of hesitation can be enough to cause them to move on. The deception must be well staged however. Spotting a camera invokes a visceral reaction in criminals and others up to no good. People that have committed crimes, and ones thinking about it, many times suspect others may be aware of their transgressions. Many call it a guilty conscience. However, it is not guilt from doing wrong. It is fear of being caught. Criminals when they see a camera lens staring at them as they make their way to a window or back door will stop. They immediately wonder if they have been spotted. They also wonder if the camera is high quality enough to identify them in the dark. Most will make a quick exit from the property.

The Ideal Fake Security Camera Is Real Except For

High quality fake cameras are real cameras without the electronic components. The housing is real and the cables are in their proper places. Ideally, you want one that has a red recording light and motion activation. The camera will come equipped with a battery pack that operates the motion sensor and recording light. However, placing a motion activated fake camera in a high traffic area will quickly deplete the battery. For the most part, homes would not have this type of activity. Businesses employing decoys would need to consider this when placing the cameras.

Make It Look Real and People Will Assume It Is Real

Placement and having the correct camera in the right spot is important. The cameras located outside need to be obviously designated for outdoor use. Criminals paying attention might begin to wonder. Use dome cameras at the front door. Real dome cameras conceal where the lens is pointed. People expect to see this type of camera at entrances. They also provide 360 degrees of coverage, and are tamper proof. Cameras placed with no obvious target area will raise questions about their effectiveness. Also, ensure the camera lens is not pointed at the ground, the sides of the structure or pointed straight up.

Play Your Part Well and Others Will Play Theirs

You can call placing fake security cameras a process of elimination. Would be burglars that are serious about maintaining their freedom will make on the spot assessments. Simply by driving by a potential target, a burglar will eliminate that house as a target, if security measures are obvious. The potential payoff is calculated by assessing risk. Like any professional contractor, the cost of the job is estimated by the amount of effort that must be put forward. A plumber, for example, will lose profit if they misjudge the effort and materials needed. A criminal that does this loses their freedom. Your part as a homeowner is to ensure the cameras always have fully charged batteries to operate the motion sensors and lights. Use widow decals and yard signs to warn of video surveillance.

Many Crimes are Crimes of Opportunity

Fake cameras are not just for the exterior of the home or business. You may have simply assumed that an intruder will never see the inside of the home if they leave after spotting cameras around the exterior. As a homeowner, stop and calculate how many people beside family members have been inside your home over the course of days, weeks or even months.

The cable installer is all over the home, they are in the basement, attic and every room inside. They are not professional criminals however. The large screen television or the new laptop may be more appealing than their sense of right or wrong. They overhear a conversation and realize the home will be vacant at a certain time. They plan and they decide to supplement their wages. Then they spot the camera mounted high in the corner with blinking red lights. It is a motion activated one. You as a homeowner have just thwarted a crime.

This is a prime example of why the cameras must be installed as if real. The cable installer, an electrician or any contractor has more mechanical knowledge than the average person does. You may think well they can spot a fake. They can if the fake camera is not installed properly. Quality fake cameras have real cables attached and many even come with AC adapters for use with household current. Mount the cameras in logical places and plug them in if applicable. Make sure the cables are run into the wall if they need to be. Criminals are aware of wireless cameras so the fact that cables are not protruding everywhere does not raise any questions.

However, they may look for a receiver. Make a point to keep the office locked when workers are present, if they need access be there to keep them from looking to closely at things. Have a file cabinet and keep it locked even if it is empty. Locked doors and secured cabinets all maintain the illusion. Individuals see the cameras and then find doors and file drawers locked they soon put the pieces together. This is doing your part as a security conscience homeowner. They have no idea if the receiver is in there. Unless they have access to your computer, they cannot tell if it is the receiver either. This is not to say that professional contractors are dishonest. The truth is many break-ins are done by individuals that have been in the home before, in some cases, more than once.

By no means, is any statement meant to indicate, or give the impression cable installers or any professional contractor is dishonest. The statement is simply to illustrate how many people may have been in a home over a certain period.

You may be thinking that if all of this has to be done why not just go ahead and install real ones. The cost is the reason why. Budgetary constraints are a major factor. The steps you take to maintain the illusion cost you little in dollars. The payoff however, is well worth the effort. The material costs are just a small percentage when compared to having real cameras professionally installed and monitored.

To maintain the deception, it is wise to install the fake security cameras yourself. The local contractor unwittingly may tell their colleagues or partner. Security is about keeping secrets. For example, armored car drivers never use the same route twice in succession. Their manifest will never have an inventory of contents. It is all about maintaining a security profile. The unknown will make intruders move on to the next house.

Criminals Do Not Want To Work Hard So They Spend Time Looking For Easy Targets

Your home says a lot about you, how it is maintained, what the lawn looks like and so forth. Cameras tell intruders you are paying attention. Fake Security CamerasThieves look for people who appear unaware of their surroundings. Toys or tools strewn about the driveway and yard tell people you may not be paying attention. Lack of obvious security is an open invitation. You have heard the term keeping up appearances. It applies to your security profile, as well.

An expensive looking surveillance system loses some of its impact when someone sees a cheaply constructed hollow core front door. The lock is not effective and easily defeated. The home profile as a whole must indicate you are aware of things, and are pro-active when it comes to security.

You have worked hard for your possessions and your family’s safety is the number one priority. It requires some effort to install fake security cameras and you must apply all the window dressing to go along with it. However, by not doing so you have set yourself up for an intrusion. Do not install cameras in trees with no obvious means of power where leaves and branches block the lens. This tells everyone you have thought about security but have only put a half-hearted effort into it. Tinkering around the edges when it comes to security is obvious to criminals. The efforts send a signal you are not serious, and frankly may not have a clue.

Like a Good Lie Good Deception Mixes In the Truth

Professional bodyguards put tremendous effort into deception. They mix the real in with the fake. When driving their client to and from places they use several cars all the same make and model. No one knows which vehicle to target. Anyone with ill intent is confused, overwhelmed and the majority of the time will give up any attempt.

Unlike money, you can have too many cameras, in some instances. Large estates are expected to have cameras in specific locations. Cameras would be mounted at the gatehouse or covering an entrance gate. The cameras would be mounted to screen visitors or capture vehicle license plates. Anyone would expect a large number of cameras to be present. There would be several covering the perimeter, the backyard, pool area and driveway. The cameras even if fake will still give the correct impression. However, having a large number of expensive looking cameras located around a modest dwelling can send the wrong signal.

It is perfectly acceptable to mix fake security cameras in with real ones that capture and record images. Many homeowners want a real camera to be able to see who may be at the front door. However, they realize most burglars gain access from back doors, upstairs windows and so forth. Decoy cameras can be placed in among real ones to increase your home’s security. Once again, place them in logical locations. One must cover the backyard and any doors or windows where anyone could gain entry. Homes having security gates at the end of their driveway would want one there, as well. These are logical locations and no one would question their position.

Parents regardless of economics want a camera to be able to monitor their child’s care while with a babysitter. They have prioritized, and placed the camera where they foresee the highest risk. In this case, fake cameras can be used in other areas of the home for the babysitter’s benefit. The babysitter has in all likelihood, determined the nanny cam is real. Therefore, others mounted high in the corners of certain rooms will be real to them, as well. This goes back to keeping honest people honest. Let them know you are paying attention and aware.

Prevention is the motivation behind fake security cameras. Let people know up front you are watching. No one wants to take the chance of being recorded committing a criminal act or even a very dumb act. Workers in your home when you are away may decide to help themselves to leftovers in the refrigerator. Seeing cameras mounted will stop this type of activity. Nosy neighbors will not snoop while your back is turned. This brings up another point. Do not tell your friends and neighbors. Once you tell a secret, it of course, is no longer a secret.

Part of good deception is being mysterious about certain things. You must be closed mouthed about your security measures. When people are not sure they hesitate, and many times will not follow through with what they intended. You must maintain appearances to have the proper security profile that will protect your family and possessions.

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Multicam Surveillance

Friday, November 18th, 2011

A security multicam surveillance system can provide the security and peace of mind for most residential or commercial applications.  Huge selections in camera types, video recording technologies and monitoring options have made digital video camera systems the ideal choice for security and surveillance monitoring.

Exactly what is a multicam surveillance and security standalone system?  A multicam surveillance system usually consists of the following components:

  • More than one digital video camera
  • A processor/capture board/and CODEC application
  • A digital video recorder or DVR, and;
  • A monitor if desired

Multicam surveillance cameras for security standalone DVR (Digital Video Recorder) systems are manufactured in two basic types, indoor and outdoor.  Outdoor cameras are usually “weatherproof” meaning they are able to withstand environmental weather conditions like rain, snow, and heat.  Indoor cameras are designed for used in covered environments and do not usually contain the same type of camera enclosure that provides protection from the elements.

Both indoor and outdoor multicam surveillance digital video camera DVR systems can be wired or wireless.  A wireless camera does not require an image transmitting cable to be connected from the camera to the processing unit.  Instead, these cameras transmit their data via built-in antennae to receiver units that are usually located near the processor, DVR, and monitor.  Wireless camera units usually transmit their data on the 2.4 or 5.8 MHz radio band and can provide fairly long line of sight ranges for transmission.

Whether the cameras are indoor/outdoor and wired/wireless they can also be day/night vision or infrared (IR) night vision cameras.

Digital video cameras produce a video image by using one of two different types of electronic sensors, both of which can produce color or black and white video.  Charged Coupled Devices or CCDs and Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductors or CMOSs convert captured light into electrical energy that can be used to create high quality video images.  CCDs and CMOSs can be very sensitive light and create high quality video in very low light conditions, utilizing as little light that is available on moonlit nights for example.  Cameras that use these sensors are usually referred to as day/night vision cameras and although they can operate in very low light condition, some visible light must be available to produce a video image.

There are digital video cameras that can operate in conditions of total darkness.  These cameras are normally called night vision cameras and operate by creating video images from infrared or IR light.  CCDs have the inherent ability to detect IR radiation light which is invisible to the human eye.  A digital video camera for home security standalone dvr system can take advantage of this characteristic by “bathing” the target area with IR light.  Since the light is invisible to the human eye, we cannot see or detect the presence of the IR light.  IR Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are used to produce the IR light for this purpose.  IR LEDs are placed around the camera lens so they are aimed at the same target area as the camera and illuminate the area to record IR video.  IR images are monochromatic or black and white.

The multicam surveillance and security standalone DVR system is a security camera system that does not require any additional equipment, such as a personal computer to operate.  The cameras transmit their data to a processor or capture device that converts the electronic information sent into a digital video file that can be watched on a monitor and stored on a DVR.  Often COmpression/DECompression (CODEC) programs or wired circuits are used to reduce the size of the digital file while maintaining high quality video images.  This provides for easy storage and portability of the file, allowing large amounts of data to be stored.

The DVR of a multicam surveillance and security standalone DVR system is much like the hard drive on a personal computer.  It is a magnetic storage disk or plate that stores the video in digital file format for later viewing or archival purposes.  Files can even be copied to other mediums and viewed on personal computers or DVD players.

Multicam surveillance security systems can be used to for a variety of applications.  They are great for providing perimeter coverage of a business building or residence for security and surveillance purposes.  They can also be used inside the home or office to detect and recorded unwanted intruders.  In addition they can be used as bay room monitors, nanny monitors, and pet monitors.

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Surveillance Camera Lens

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Surveillance camera lens are slowly beginning to evolve with the technology that supports them.  Before the digital age, a good majority of the surveillance cameras required that a lens be purchased for each camera.  Presently, some cameras still work that way, but the vast majority has the lens built right into the camera.  These lenses are often referred to as “board lenses.”

There are three major types of digital video camera based on their shape, the box type, the bullet type, and the dome type.  Basically the bullet and dome type cameras come with a lens already built into the unit.  This is often referred to as a board lens.  The box camera however, almost always requires the purchase of a lens.

As far as the lenses go, there are two different types of surveillance camera lenses, fixed and varifocal.  Fixed lenses do exactly what their name implies; they stay fixed in a certain immobile position.  Varifocal lenses have the ability to change their focal length either manually or remotely depending on the lens.

This means that for fixed lenses, the size of the field of view never changes; the lens can’t alter its own focal length so the width of the capture shot never changes.  This is great for use where there is no need to mess with changing the focal length regularly such as monitoring a parking lot, an entrance or exit, and other uses where zooming in on a subject or object is really not required and the camera will not be moved around a lot.

Varifocal lenses on the other hand, can move in and out changing the size of their focal length.  This is particularly handy when it is necessary to change the camera’s field of view to accommodate moving objects, tight shots, etc.  The focal length of a varifocal surveillance camera lens is normally expressed in millimeters (mm).  For example a fixed camera lens with a focal length of 3.0 mm will produce a fairly wide angle shot, whereas a focal length of 15.5mm will produce a narrow angle shot.

The nice thing about a varifocal lens is, depending on how it is made, you can get a focal length as small as possible and any focal length in between its maximum focal length.  It’s important to note that some of these varifocal lenses must be moved manually (by hand) while some our connected to a motor that drives the lens and is controlled remotely.

As long as we are on the topic of surveillance camera lenses, we’ll also mention a few of the characteristics of lenses that you probably should be aware of in addition to just focal length.  Four other points come to mind:  1. Depth of field; 2. F stop; 3. CS or C mount; and 4. Manual or Auto Iris.

Depth of Field

The depth of field is the distance from the camera to the object at which remains in focus.   Generally, the higher the F stop and tighter the Iris positions, the more objects that will be in focus.  In other words, a large Depth of Field means almost all objects in the Field of View can be in focus.  On the other hand, a small Depth of Field will only allow a small section of the Field of View in focus.

F Stop

The F stop is the foacl length divided by the effective aperture diameter.  In much simpler terms, the F Stop is an indication of the speed of the lens.  Since light must pass through the lens to the sensor, the F Stop gives us an idea of how much light it will absorb during the process.  A low F Stop lens is very efficient whereas a high F stop lens will require a lot of light.

CS or C mount

There are two standard surveillance camera lens mounts the “CS” and the “C.”  The difference between the C and CS is found in the distance between the lens and the CCD (Charged Coupled Device) or CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor).  The C mount distance is 17.5mm while the CS mount is 12.5mm.

Iris

The iris works with the surveillance camera lens to control the amount of light entering the camera via the sensor.  For cameras mounted in positions that have changing light sources, it is a good idea to use a lens with an automatic iris.  For cameras used inside or in environments where the light conditions seldom ever change, manual irises are sufficient.

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CCTV Systems

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The phrase CCTV systems can cover a broad range of different video camera systems.  Generally speaking, when we think of a CCTV system, we are usually referring to a video monitoring, surveillance, and/or security system.  CCTV is an acronym for Closed Circuit TeleVision however, more often then not in today’s age of technology, these systems are often called digital video security and surveillance systems.

CCTV systems got their name because of the way the systems were initially developed.  Closed Circuit Television basically referred to a system by which a video camera transmitted the video images it created through a cable directly to a monitor or Digital Video Recorder or DVR.  This differed from the studio broadcast television that sent their video images through an antenna out to the general public.  Anyone with a television or other type of receiver could view the broadcast audio and/or video image.

Today, CCTV systems are based on the same idea; however, the transmissions are no longer confined to being sent over a dedicated video transmission cable. A CCTV system today may send its video and audio wirelessly on a specific frequency to a specific receiver or they can even utilize the Internet to send their signals just about anywhere in the world (again, to a specific “receiver” or group of individuals).

CCTV systems today share some of the older terminology relating back to the original analog video systems.  For example, older analog CCTV monitors were actually electronic tubes, Cathode Ray Tubes or CRTs to be exact.   These tubes shoot electron beams in horizontal lines on the glass screens to produce a video image.   Thus, the clarity or resolution of these cameras was usually designated by the number of Television Lines or TVLs that it created.  Lower resolution cameras produced around 300 TVL and maximum high definition cameras produce up to 650 TVL.

The cameras and monitors today are digital, and therefore produce their images using pixels, tiny dots of color analogous to the dots seen in newsprint up close.  However, they often still use the TVL designation to define the resolution of the cameras.  One reason for this is that although CRT monitors are seldom marketed anymore, consumers may still have plenty of CRT type monitors they can use for their system.

Today, a complete CCTV system usually consists of one or more digital video cameras, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and one or more optional monitors.  Security Camera King offers several complete CCTV system packages to meet just about every security, surveillance, and monitoring need.   Our featured package systems are based on our three signature DVRS, the Elite-Mini, the Elite Series, and the Ultimate Series.

These package systems are further available based on the system being a 4, 8, 16, or 32 channel (camera) system.  Note:  The 32 channel system is only available with the Elite Series DVR.  Finally, we break each one of these packages down based on cable and power supplies.  We offer each system with either “plug ‘n play” pre-cut and connector fitted cables and space saving power supplies or with bulk cable, connectors, and a power distribution supply box.

Our Elite-mini and Elite Series systems come with the appropriate number of 420TVL Vandal Proof Indoor/Outdoor Dome Day/Night Infrared Vision cameras.  The cameras have an approximate infrared range in total darkness of about 50 to 60 feet.  The cameras have an outdoor rating of IP66 and so are very suitable for outdoor or indoor use (our part number for the camera is Product# OD-LX420IR50 for additional details and specifications).

Our Ultimate Series systems come with the appropriate number of 520 TVL Vandal Proof Indoor/Outdoor Dome Day/Night Infrared Vision cameras.  This cameras are true high definition cameras with a resolution of 100 TVL more than those above.  These cameras also have an approximate infrared range in total darkness of about 50 to 60 feet.  They are also suitable for outdoor or indoor use (our part number for the camera is Product# OD-LX520IR50 f0r additional details and specifications).

Security Camera King has put together this system packages to offer you the highest quality yet simplest to install CCTV systems on the market today.  By offering you these as complete system packages, we can make them available at competitive prices that are hard to beat anywhere else for equipment with the same features.  In addition, we allow you to make upgrades if necessary, so that you may “tailor fit” your system to your specific needs.

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Video Surveillance Cameras

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Today’s video surveillance cameras have made “leaps and bounds” in technological improvements compared to the cameras from just 10 to 15 years ago.  Not only that, but the camera’s prices have steadily decreased with the increase in technology.  All of this has lead to video surveillance cameras becoming a “household word” for family protection and safety as well as business protection and workplace documentation.

Original video surveillance cameras were based on analog signals.  These systems and components of the systems were often referred to as CCTV or Closed Circuit TeleVision.  CCTV was so named because although it closely resembled a typical television studio system, there was one major important difference.

Studio television cameras’ video signals were boosted by the broadcast station and sent via radio frequency via a large antenna.  Once the signal left the broadcast antenna, anyone with a receiver could pick up the signal.  Video surveillance cameras however, sent their signal along a cable, directly to a specific monitor and recording device.  In this respect, the system was a “Closed Circuit Television” system.  In fact, any system used for monitoring, surveillance, or security in this manner was referred to as a CCTV system.

Today, video surveillance cameras still operate on a CCTV based system, but to be accurate, we must redefine CCTV to make it somewhat looser in application.  Although modern digital video surveillance cameras also transmit their video signals via a cable to a Digital Video Recorder or DVR and one or more monitors, they also employ additional methods for transmitting their signals that must be taken into consideration of the definition of CCTV as well.

These cameras may also transmit their video data wirelessly via an on-board camera transmitter and antenna.  These cameras use modern day wireless technology often used in land-line based telephones such as 2.4 or 5.8 GHz technology or 900Mhz technology for broadcasting their signal.  These systems are designed to transmit their signals only a fraction of the distance of the older systems, as they are aimed at sending their signals to a nearby receiver, which is usually plugged in by cable, to a DVR and/’or monitor.

Another method that is employed today is the use of the Internet as a vehicle for networking and transmitting.  Both video surveillance cameras and DVRs have the capability for connecting to the Internet.  When they do possess this feature they are often referred to as Internet Protocol or IP ready, because they deliver their transmission using IP format technology.

Although it is true that individuals other than who the video images are intended for can gain access surreptitiously, the intent of these wireless broadcasts and Internet transmissions are directed to a limited number of very specific viewers.  Thus, although our definition for CCTV as now become a bit broader in scope, it is easy to see why even today, video surveillance cameras are often called CCTV cameras.

While we are on the subject of CCTV versus new video surveillance cameras, it would be prudent to mention that there is some carry over from the “analog days” of CCTV to the current “digital era” which can make the comparison of components or the selection of a system somewhat confusing.  This primarily involves the use of reference to the detail or resolution of the video image created by the camera and displayed by the monitor.

Electronic video images may show a varying degree of detail.  That is evidenced by the contrast between standard television broadcasts and those called High Definition (HD).  Television was originally displayed on a Cathode Ray Tube or CRT (also called the “picture tube”).  The CRT reproduced the image on its screen by shooting an electron beam horizontally at the rate of about 60 times per second.  To a large degree, the number of horizontal lines determined how detailed the video appeared.  The more lines, the smaller the lines, the greater the detail of the picture.

Today, however, most televisions are like computer monitors; they are either Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), plasma, or Light Emitting Diode (LED) displays.  These monitors display tiny dots called pixels instead of horizontal lines, therefore, they can display a much higher detail picture.  Yet, many video surveillance cameras still specify their picture quality in terms of the older, horizontal line method.  Its important to know that the lower end of resolution or detail is from about 300 up to 650 TVL (TeleVision Lines).  Video surveillance cameras with 650 TVL displays can produce very high definition video images.

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