View Full Version : Security Cameras

08-16-2009, 07:40 PM
I want to buy a security camera system. I'm on a dark street. Very quiet and no traffic. Had some kid vandalism a couple of weeks ago and some kids walked up around the side of my house Friday night. The light was off in my office and its always on. My truck was gone. Wife saw them and said they were looking around real hard. Since it appeared I was gone when they came up, they may be watching me.

The only easy access to my house is from the front. I was thinking about multiple cameras at first, but I think I'll just start with one fancy one out front. and add more as I need them. A decent night / day infrared camera is $250 or so. One that can pan, tilt, zoom is $400. I figure one $400 camera makes more sense than multiple cheaper cameras as it will do the job of several cameras in my case.

A 4 port (4 camera) DVR that will control the camera described above, allow remote access etc is about $350. So I'm coming in at about $800. Stick a 1 terabyte HD in it and it will record for months.

A packaged system at Sams comes in at $1300. I was warned against these as the cameras are frequently of a poorer quality and you don't have the option to configure it the way you want.

I need to figure out a way to hide the camera. Worst case it'll be a fun toy, albeit expensive. If I get a good order here this month, I'll buy it.

Steve B
08-16-2009, 10:42 PM
Why would you want to hide the camera? The biggest benefit you'll get is a deterrent factor. Having a video after the fact is second best to preventing them from coming in in the first place.

I'd suggest buying the nice camera you wrote about, and supplementing it with a few fake cameras. Add a sign that your site is under video surveilance and they should move on to the next (easier) target.

Dan Furman
08-16-2009, 11:52 PM
Why would you want to hide the camera?

BB Gun? Rock?

08-17-2009, 01:55 AM
Steve is right. You hide the camera if you want to have evidence after the crime has been committed. You make the camera visible if you want to prevent the crime. The visible camera doesn't even need to be a camera. It just has to look like one.

Bill I suspect you're going to want the hidden camera, but also think about placing another camera (real or not) that is very visible.

As far as hiding the camera there are plenty of cameras on the market that you would never know are cameras. You should be able to find something that looks like little more than a wire attached to your house.

Steve B
08-17-2009, 06:24 AM
I just put a couple of fake cameras in at my Mom's house (now that I told you this, I can never tell you where she lives!). I didn't tell the rest of my family and I was disappointed when my sister said she didn't notice it. When I go back I'm going to lower it a bit so it's more obvious.

They sell fake cameras that use the same housing as the real cameras. They look great, but aren't as cheap as you might hope.

08-17-2009, 08:29 AM
Camera vandalism for one. It's a 1 story house. There is no place to mount it that would be out of the way. They could potentially go through a neighbors yard and sneak behind the camera and bash it to death. If they are targeting me, that would be a good vandalism tactic.

This is a very safe neighborhood. Having said that there is this vandalism and a neighbor was burglarized a couple of houses down while on vacation. Turned out he told someone while he was in the hospital that he was going on vacation. That led to the burglary.

If someone is intent on burglarising or vandalizing me, they will do it. They can kill the dogs. Kids can come in with masks and vandalize. Yes seeing them is a deterrent, but not that great of one IMO.

I'm more interested in who it is at this point. Particularly with the kids. I want to see who is watching my house so I know before the fact that something is going to happen.

One other reason to go hidden is if you ever wanted a nannycam sort of setup. If you have an outside camera, there would be an assumption that there are inside cameras as well, although crooks don't always add 1+1 and get 2.

VG, I went to a couple of hidden camera sites and didn't find anything that would work for the camera I want. Mostly for nannycams and a couple of outside cameras that don't have the tilt and zoom I want.

08-17-2009, 11:12 AM
is there anything you could build around the cameral that would look natural? Or is there a vent that leads to the outside where you could put the camera inside and have it able to record what's happening outside?

08-17-2009, 12:32 PM
I'm going to mount it on the outside of the front of the garage. There is a light fixture there now. I'm going to go to home depot and see if they have any light fixtures that would work (or anything else).

It can't go through glass or screens as the IR light would be impacted. If I can't find anything, I'll just mount it visibly.

08-17-2009, 07:48 PM
If you're going to mount it to a light fixture, I would think you could find a camera that's built into some kind of light fixture. Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but I imagine something like it would exist.

08-17-2009, 08:29 PM
Could be, but I have yet to find anything for the type of camera I want??

08-17-2009, 11:05 PM
Have you though about a motion light instead of a costly camera? A light turning on will get rib of about 90% of the trouble.

Steve B
08-18-2009, 06:57 AM
A motion light is going to be harder to hide than a camera. I don't think he wants to prevent the crime as much as he wants proof of who is doing it.

I think you might have to go with a comprimise. Perhaps you can find a place to put a camera that is at least out of reach of an easy rock throw. They have wireless cameras, so maybe you can put one up in a tree if the mounting locations on the house are too low. Of course, the farther up it goes the lower the quality of the picture.

Or perhaps multiple cameras. You can set up one of the cameras in a position to catch the person while they're vandalizing the first camera. Bad guys hopefully will know that destroying the camera doesn't destroy the images that were made before the camera was wrecked.

Where I live it will be much easier. I'll have one focused on the driveway - so they're pretty much busted as soon as they drive up. I'm out in the country and on a very busy road with no shoulder - so they pretty much have to come up the driveway in a car. Then, a second camera will get a better shot of them if they come to either of the doors. I should get lots of good images even if they decide to stand there and throw rocks at the camera (they will be high enough so they can't be torn down). In my case, I'm interested in prevention so the cameras will be mounted in plain site and I'll have a sign bragging about our video surveilance system.

Dan Furman
08-18-2009, 11:45 AM
If someone is intent on burglarising or vandalizing me, they will do it. They can kill the dogs. Kids can come in with masks and vandalize. Yes seeing them is a deterrent, but not that great of one IMO.

If it's at this level, it is a problem. Vandalism (bashed mailbox, eggs, etc) is, sadly, somewhat "normal" where there are kids (a few years ago, my mailbox was hit... but I figured I was owed that from my own youth :) )

But breaking into a house, killing dogs, masked vandalism... that isn't normal for a typical neighborhood. That's crossing a definitive line, and needs to be addressed.

If you feel this is a possibility, it's time to get police and neighbors involved. A neighborhood watch meeting is a good idea - police are usually very receptive to these types of things, and will help you here.

Let me ask a quick question - why you? Why would they watch you?

08-18-2009, 10:09 PM
Dan, I don't think its at that level. I was just using it as an example.

Why me? Mixed couple (wifes 20 years younger and latina - we usually speak in spanish). The attitude is very much old south bigotry and there education level here is pretty low. It's really kind of a strange place IMO. We certainly don't fit in.

The neighborhood I'm in is actually very safe and pleasant. Mostly elderly. After 8 pm maybe two cars an hour drive by. Its adjacent to a main road where kids would be passing buy though. Its very dark and quiet and close enough to the main roads that it would be attractive for kids or a burglary. With the economy, there are some houses rented out with kids that don't look that great as well.

So Steve B is right. I really don't anticipate problems, but if kids are coming in my yard at night looking around, I'd like to be able to hand a cop a DVD. Most people have yard services etc as well. A lot of semiskilled workers in and out.

Realistically, it would be a high tech toy as much as a security device. Also, my college job was security for sears. It was kind of a game (catch the shoplifter). I caught over 300 shoplifters in 3 years doing that. That was a fun college job and I think some of that is still in me.