Camera Setup

Discussions about Security and Defense
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helicopilot
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Camera Setup

Post by helicopilot »

Looking for tried and true advice on a security camera system for an acreage property.

We have a monitored alarm system as we both work away from the house and sometimes have to travel for work. It has become clear that RCMP won’t respond to rural alarm unless there are 2 or more sensors involved (eg a door sensor and a motion detection). Now our alarm company has advised us that police response is unlikely unless there’s camera recording, preferably “live”, of the event.

Quote for a quality system is just shy of $3K for 3 cameras, install, recording system, UPS, etc. This just doesn’t seem to be worth it. Mrs HP and I are thinking that at that point, this is 3x our insurance deductible worth (that is, report a claim to insurances and pay the deductible trice) and therefore, really hard to justify.

Quickly glancing at Costco online, there are systems out there for a few hundred bucks. Granted, their reviews all average 50% and those reviews are echoes of what’s online a bestbuy and like stores.

Questions then are:

1) are camera system really worth the expense?
2) is a professional system really worth the premium over a DYI package?
3) any recommendations on systems you may have?
4) what is the level of effort for a DYI kit?


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Denob
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Re: Camera Setup

Post by Denob »

Have you considered that the alarm company is just trying to upsell you?
I would confirm their statement with the police before proceeding.
In any case, I will send you what I have done by PM.
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helicopilot
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Location: The Wildrose province

Re: Camera Setup

Post by helicopilot »

Thanks Denob. Probably a bit of up selling, but rural police response is also known to be abysmal in Alberta. There were also a recent article in the local papers about police no longer responding to “single hit” alarms. Apparently due to the ~97% false alarm rate which has exponentially grown with the recent advent of the DYI alarm kits self monitored on people’s devices. I can somewhat understand the RCMP point if there is indeed that much wolf-crying going on.

When I replied that I wasn’t interested in a $3K camera kit, they suggested maybe a couple of doorbell cams for $600 installed and $30/month each for cloud storage. This would be through the same app system currently used for my alarms. Decent alternative??
Clarence

Re: Camera Setup

Post by Clarence »

HP.
I owned a security company for over twenty years. started in covert cameras and went into all manner of security systems. fed, prov, private sector and had lots of fun at night.

Cameras are good for helping police catch the person.gaureented, a good image helps them.
You get satisfaction and with luck, once the morons have been caught, they typically back off for easier targets.

They are also good for validating activity at your place if you are away. Nosey neighbors, people casing the place, contractors not doing what they were supposed to do, time billed etc

Local NVR is good, you can also hook up so you can remote in and if broken into,pull up an image and email it to the police.

Maybe you simply go with trail cameras. Recommend Browning units, sometimes you can get for 150.00 plus SD card cost (Cabelas)

Here is an ugly truth. China makes some great cameras at very low prices. I can get some pricing for you and send over next day or so. I would not put any Chinese stuff on home network, so that messes up remote in angle. But if your ok with China and do not put on the net, they have some great images and that includes at night.

avigilon cameras (made in Vancouver and Texas) are good but with recorder, way above 3k. One camera can easily be above 600.00 alone.

To save labor, you can run the cable yourself. (Cat 6 ) and run in conduit when possible. Then the installer just connects and does the final programming. Six cameras and with you doing cable, he could be done in six hours max. Very helpful if area for system is all clean, power right there ready, cable labeled... do a walk around with him and look for any cross fire opportunities. Great for increasing odds of picking up a plate, second person, better facial shot..

Check the motion sensor settings or areas covered, same for sensitivity of the motion.
Watch for placement into sun, tree limb movement, flood lights, shake from a post...

Let’s system run for a week and go back and check recordings to make sure cameras are. Not tripping to easy and adjust range and sensitivity of cameras and repeat until your happy. Goal being to look / detect for activity faster. If you have an alarm then that’s easy, but if you want to see who is creeping baround, you want to drill in quick and not watch a pile of leave or shadows tripping the cameras.

Record pre and post events. Set for system to retain at least three minutes before and after motion starts or ends. Depending on your setup, you may not want to record entire laneway and because of sun... you set trip zone, closer to the garage, home... by retaining a pre alarm event, you may get more footage of buddy, truck etc.

Domed units are most common and will likely require cleaning of lense at least once a year (interior) from spiders and odd fly.

System will Likely last you 7 plus years and cameras easily well over ten.

Hide the NVR and monitor so per doesn’t walk off with it!

If domes are not your thing, ask installer to show you tiny pinhole board camera. Inch by an inch max. You can pop them into a fake floodlight, a screw hole on a light switch, into a filing cabinet frame, into a garage wall... all that’s visible is a 1mm size black dot. I put one into a gyproc wall one night. No perp at 9pm is going to see a 1 mm dot on a dark wood barn wall. :lol: you can also buy clock or radio .... units that go nicely in a garage, basement storage room etc

Make sure you get admin level password to NVR and change the default one from 1111......

Cheapest and easiest is hunting trail cameras, you can even get a cell unit for a camera you know won’t suffer too many false alarms.

Long range shots on big property require serious cameras and often cabling... top software for motion...
Clarence

Re: Camera Setup

Post by Clarence »

helicopilot wrote:Thanks Denob. Probably a bit of up selling, but rural police response is also known to be abysmal in Alberta. There were also a recent article in the local papers about police no longer responding to “single hit” alarms. Apparently due to the ~97% false alarm rate which has exponentially grown with the recent advent of the DYI alarm kits self monitored on people’s devices. I can somewhat understand the RCMP point if there is indeed that much wolf-crying going on.

When I replied that I wasn’t interested in a $3K camera kit, they suggested maybe a couple of doorbell cams for $600 installed and $30/month each for cloud storage. This would be through the same app system currently used for my alarms. Decent alternative??
Look at “Ring”. You can set them up yourself, super easy
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oldschool
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Re: Camera Setup

Post by oldschool »

I know pretty much nothing on cameras and their set up.

I am wondering if there is a 3rd cheaper way since you already have the alarm system - indoor cameras. No clue how they work. I just know that when my step daughter goes away from work she can view any room in her house from her phone. I do not believe it is a "nanny cam" set up.
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Wayne
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Location: Nova Scotia

Re: Camera Setup

Post by Wayne »

HP,

Police response is all about priorities not how many "hits" an alarm gets. In rural areas a cop may have to drive for 20 minutes or more to get there. Response times can be poor because everyone may be busy on more immediate concerns than an ecectronic alarm that was tripped because the wind rattled a window. And yes the false alarms greatly outweight the real ones...

Unless a quality camera is used and is professionally installed (as Clarence has suggested) it's difficult to positively identify the Perp. If I handed you a picture of someone, would you know who it was? Probably not. If it's a local rounder, the police will probably recognize him, but keep this in perspective, unlimited resources are restricted to major crime not B and E.

Outside cameras are less reliable in our climate for ID purposes because of the clothing factor, Of those capturing video of Perps, most of it is useless. Properly installed however, it cam increase the chances of ID. Many people that have cameras and get broken into become disallusioned. A camera isn't the magic bullet people seem to think it is.

Bakance the cost with any advantages of possible insurance cost discounts. Personally, I don't want to send a signal that my home has valuables and is worth the Perps effort to break in. I find a good vault and a comprehensive insurance policy enough for my needs. The poor have no fear of Robbery.
Last edited by Wayne on Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.
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Wayne
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Re: Camera Setup

Post by Wayne »

Double post (sorry).
None you improvise, one (or more) is luxury.
Clarence

Re: Camera Setup

Post by Clarence »

HP et al.

Providing one does not put a camera system on their home or business network, HiK from China makes in my humble opinion, the best low cost system out there.
Cost for 3 mega pixel IP camera will come in around 170.00 a pop.
8 camera, 2 terabyte NVR will be around 500-600.00

If you do the supply and running of cable yourself, you will save significantly on labor costs from installer.

Per Wayne, I have never seen an insurance discount on a residential system.

The trick and I know my tricks, is to not ask to much from the camera. One needs enough of them and they need to be well positioned, programmed and maintained.

It is true that buddy with a hat on, a hoody and bundled up in Canuck weather garb will be hard to identify, but not his vehicle, plate....

The police or yourself will know who that truck with some dopey sticker on the window, the color, make, pair of plastic testicals on his boat hitch, model, dent on door.... belongs to. Probably some moron a few thousand feet from you.

Police may not tell you what conversation they had with buddy, but your troubles will for the time being likely subside. It also gives you an idea who to keep an eye on and you can alert friendly neighbors to the description.

It’s a cost and obviously has its place providing one can afford them. Wayne makes reference to being low vis, and that’s fine, so go covert in camera style / make invisible by building into normal things around the house.

In video as is the case with most things, it’s all about budget. Can’t afford $600 plus cameras or even $170, then put in a $125 trail camera and focus on identifying vehicle and if lucky, a persons face. Put in 3 or more and one increases odds on capturing a face in a better angle or lighting situation. MANY times, the perp is relaxed and not concealing face when still a distance away from the target or objective. Seldom have i failed to catch a sufficient image of a face. that is providing you don't only have one camera and it is aimed at the back of his head, aimed from to high a height and only gets his hat etc

Cameras are 100% effective in identifying something and they are and were my favorite tool. If I was tasked with catching someone and I did a lot of that, my cameras always worked in achieving the goal. I didn’t care how much card access, intrusion. was deployed, if cameras are not present, it’s mostly wasted money. I was doing remote video, wireless... long before it was even known in public sector and today’s technology is fantastic. One just needs to be realistic and decide if they have the coin to spend on it. Real simple.

As a force multiplier, they also work. If a person can be inside their house and with other methods in use, also watch what is going on around the ranch, then that is good. Few people will have ten sets of eyes that are always open and alerting you to activity! One cannot not count on just a camera because the operator goes video blind after 20 minutes of watching static or even active video. One needs cameras / NVR, DVR’s that have the capability of detecting. Motion... this why you have 200 plus cameras in some sites being easily monitored by one person. Buddy nods off, the alarm wakes him up to activity at the back door, garage.....guards will fall asleep at 02:00 on a Sunday morning but not that camera or the piezo under his desk waking him up.

A well setup system works and is an invaluable tool to have ( if one can or decides to spend money on them)

Anyone can PM with any sensitive questions or precise solutions
Cheers
Syn
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Re: Camera Setup

Post by Syn »

Where I live in BC I was told law enforcement may not respond to rural calls unless two officers are available for their security . I too am now looking for both interior and exterior cameras and would like to have night vision . Sometimes I would like to randomly check whom got home in the wee hours or if a bear is in the blind spot of my house before I venture out in that direction since there has been one too close for my comfort encounter .
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