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Getting Informed

Types of Security Cameras and their Benefits



Security cameras and video surveillance systems are incredibly important components of a home security system or business security system. Not only can security cameras be used to identify criminal activity that is taking place on your property, but they can also capture evidence that can later be crucial in identifying criminals.

But what surveillance cameras should you use to protect your home and business? There are a number of different types of security cameras and they all have different strengths, weaknesses and benefits.

Box cameras and bullet security cameras are perhaps the most popular types of surveillance cameras. These cameras are long and thin and they often look like bullets, hence their name. Security cameras of this type are very versatile. They can be mounted in a wide variety of locations, they often have a number of interchangeable lenses and they can be placed inside weather-proof housing so they can be safely installed outdoors. However, box cameras can only focus in one direction at a time and they are easily noticeable. These can be considered disadvantages in some situations. However, their visibility makes them a crime deterrent as well.

Dome security cameras are also very popular. These cameras are typically mounted on the ceiling or on walls. They can be placed indoors or outdoors. Dome surveillance cameras are protected from the elements and from vandalism by a plastic dome. These domes are often tinted, which makes it hard to determine which direction they are facing. The glass or plastic domes also make them more difficult to tamper with.

Both bullet security cameras and dome security cameras are available in black and white and colour models. There are also infrared security cameras which come in handy during low-light situations. These are available in a number of different form factors as well.

When you are installing security cameras in your home or business you also need to consider how you will be recording or viewing this footage. Most people choose to record security camera footage to a DVR (digital video recorder) but you can also decide to have your footage available to view on a secure Internet connection. This makes it possible to watch your surveillance cameras remotely from anywhere with Internet access. 

You can also choose to have your security cameras monitored by an alarm monitoring service. In the event of an alarm, a live monitoring station can access your security cameras, immediately analyze the situation and send authorities to your property if necessary.

Whichever method you choose, deciding to add surveillance cameras to you home security system or business security system is certainly a good idea.


Using Motion-Activated Lights To Protect Your Property


One of the most effective and most affordable ways to keep your home or business safe is by using motion-activated lighting. There are numerous benefits to installing motion-activated lights on your property.


Lighting makes it more difficult for criminals to hide

Burglars prefer to work under the cover of darkness. Dark areas give them more time to work on illegally entering a property. Criminals also like to hide in darkness if they are planning on attacking or robbing someone. Installing motion-activated lights eliminates this factor and forces criminals to work in well-lit areas where they could be caught.


It deters criminals from even trying

Criminals do not want to be caught in the act. Having a well-lit home or business often causes criminals to think twice about attempting to break into your property. In many cases a burglar will think it's not worth the risk to rob a building where they could be spotted.


Lightning increases the effectiveness of video surveillance cameras

There are a wide variety of security cameras that can capture clear images in low light. However, if you have adequate lightning on your property, you can record even better images. You won't need to use an infrared camera or other low light camera to protect your property and you can choose to capture images in full colour, if you have a colour security camera.


It makes it harder to determine if you are at home

Many criminals would rather break into an empty home than a full one. If your home has motion-activated lightning outside and lights that operate on a timer inside, it makes it much more difficult to determine if you are home.


Positioning Outdoor Lightning Effectively 


Where you position your motion-activated lights is incredibly important as well. You'll first want to evaluate your property both during the day and at night. This will allow you to see which areas are the darkest and scout for locations where criminals could hide.


You'll want to ensure that you cover all entry points. Both windows and doors should be illuminated as these are likely the areas that criminals will target. It's also important that you do not focus solely on your home. There should be adequate lighting on your driveway, your garage and any other areas where criminals may attempt to hide. Obviously a larger property will require more motion-activated lights than a smaller one.




Secure Your Backyard, Back Door & Other Entrances With Locks & Alarm Systems



When most people install home alarm systems, motion detectors and other security systems, they focus on the front door of their home. There is some merit to this decision, as many burglars do enter homes through the front door. However, this is not the only entrance that needs to be secured.


Criminals have learned that alarm systems and motion detectors are most likely to be installed with a focus on the front door, so they have changed their methods. Many burglaries now begin with the back door, the garage or even second story windows. It is crucial that you protect these areas of your home with solid locks, alarm systems and motion detectors.


Your first step should be to ensure that all entry points are locked securely. Doors should be locked with a dead bolt. Windows should be locked as well and bars or gates should be installed. This is especially true if breaking the window makes it possible for the thief to enter your property or unlock the window. Don't forget about basement windows, backyard gates and garage doors as well.


You'll also want to ensure that all window and door frames are strong enough that they can't be easily broken. Wooden door frames and window frames should be replaced with stronger metal frames that are more difficult to destroy.


Alarm systems and motion detectors are your next step. These should be installed so that they protect all entry points in all areas of the house. Many people only install motion detectors on the ground floor of their home. This does not prevent criminals from entering the house through the second floor or the basement. You need to make sure that you protect those areas from burglars and other criminals.


The same goes for the garage. There are many valuables inside most garages and there are also tools that criminals can use to cause damage to your property. Having a garage alarm system and motion detectors in your garage eliminates the risk of a burglar using your own tools against you.


It is very important that you take a good look at your home and recognize its weaknesses. Alarm systems and motion detectors are incredibly effective when used properly. However, in many cases they are not used in the most effective way possible. Failure to adequately protect your home could leave you as a victim of a break in or robbery.




How Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) Works To Protect Your Property



Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) uses technology to prevent shoplifting from retail stores, libraries and other locations. Overall, the system works by affixing tags to all merchandise. The store exits are then equipped with a detection system that can determine if the tags leave the store while they are still activated. When a customer purchases a product, the tag is either removed or deactivated, depending on the type of tag. Those products can then leave the store without problem, while products that still have active tags on them will result in an alarm or other alert that lets the store staff know that there is an issue.


EAS is vital technology that makes stopping shoplifting and theft much easier than it ever has been before.


There are several different types of electronic article surveillance systems. Books, smaller items, boxed items and other similar items often use stickers or other small tags. They usually operate on a magnetic system, an acousto-magnetic system or a radio-frequency (RF) system. These tags usually come in the form of strips or stickers that can be applied to an item either in the store or at the manufacturer's location. These tags are deactivated when an item is purchased and they often remain on the item as it leaves the store.


If you've ever found a small white sticker, a thin metal strip or a square RF sticker on an item that you have purchased, you have dealt with these EAS tags before.


There are also larger EAS tags that operate on a radio-frequency (RF) anti-shoplifting system. These typically come in the form of a bulky plastic tag that is often attached to clothing or similar articles. Apparel stores, clothing stores, sporting goods stores, luggage stores and other similar merchants often use these EAS tags on their merchandise. Microwave EAS systems can also be used on clothing in a similar manner.


These tags are reusable and are removed by cashiers or other store staff when an item is purchased. They can then be attached to a different piece of merchandise in the store. If you have ever seen a plastic tag hanging from a piece of clothing that was then removed using a special detacher, you have seen one of these EAS tags.


Almost everyone who has ever been to a store, library or other retail location has seen some form of EAS tag in action. Electronic article surveillance systems are very common and they are used in almost every type of store imaginable. 


If you look around a shopping mall or other retail strip, you'll notice that the majority of stores have pillars, gates or other electronic article surveillance at the front doors of their property. This will show you how common the systems actually are. The reason that they are so common is because they are effective. Not only are the pillars at the front doora visible theft deterrent, but the actual tags themselves are deterrents as well. Shoplifters will not want to risk being caught and using an electronic article surveillance system in your store will let them know that you are serious about inventory control. They will think twice before attempting anything and often move on rather than risk being detected.


The systems themselves are incredibly effective as well. They immediately sound an audible alarm or siren when someone attempts to exit the store with unpurchased merchandise. By having a strong theft detection and theft deterrent system in place, you are protecting your property from shoplifters, thieves and other criminals.


It simply makes sense to have a strong system of electronic article surveillance in your store. If you are not employing EAS technology, you are falling behind. Criminals will recognize this weakness and work to exploit it by stealing merchandise. The cost of installing an EAS system is more than covered by the money you will save by preventing crime and theft in your store.


How Security Bars & Gates are Vital for your Home or Business


Alarm systems, video surveillance cameras and other security services typically receive the most attention when people are looking to upgrade the safety of their home or business. This is for a good reason. Security systems, burglar alarms, security cameras and other types of security technology are incredibly important parts of a home or business security system.


However, one aspect of security that is often overlooked is security bars and gates. These are very important means of securing your home or office. Purchasing and installing bars and gates should be given the same amount of importance as all other parts of your security system as they are vital to a strong security setup.


When criminals and burglars want to enter a home or office, they typically do not care about doing so in a respectful manner. A would-be thief will not hesitate to smash your windows and enter your property. Having strong locks on all doors and windows is very important, but if criminals can simply force their way in by breaking glass, a strong lock becomes much less useful.


This is why you should be sure to protect all glass surfaces with security bars and security gates. 


These security devices are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and designs, so you will almost definitely be able to find one that suits your needs. Bars and gates can typically be installed on the inside or the outside of a window or door and doing so makes it much more difficult for a burglar to enter your home.


In many cases, burglars will simply move on from a home or office that has security bars or security gates installed. It is much easier to break into a location that has less protection and offers less hassle for the burglar. You will be protecting yourself from being attacked just by installing security bars and gates on your windows and doors.


Many people worry about how bars or gates look. They are concerned about having their property “look like a fortress” or feel that having bars on their windows will discourage visitors or customers. That is no longer true. Thankfully, today there are a variety of designs that are made to compliment the look of your existing windows and doors. These designs blend into architecture of your home or office and give your property a beautiful, inviting look while still providing maximum protection.


But where should you install your security bars? Anywhere that has glass that could be broken by attempted burglars.


Many people only install bars and security gates on the ground floor of their homes. Some only install them on those windows and doors that are facing the street. Both of those methods are incorrect and could lead to a break-in. While many criminals enter a home through the front door or ground floor windows, they will attempt other entry points if they feel those points are weaker. Criminals are known to smash second floor windows, sliding patio doors, basement doors and other alternative entrances during robberies. All of these locations should be secured with window bars or security gates. Your security system is only as strong as its weakest link.


However, if you are planning on placing gates on a basement window or a bedroom window, be sure that they can be safely and quickly removed from the inside. In the event of a fire or other disaster, anyone sleeping inside the house must be able to get out through the window. You don't want to trap yourself or your loved ones inside a burning building. There are specialized gates available that can be taken out from the inside easily while still offering strong resistance to anyone attempting to break in from outside.


In addition to home alarm systems, business security systems and video surveillance cameras, door and window bars and gates are vital components of your security system. When combined with a powerful alarm system and security cameras, you have the ultimate protection system that will keep your property safe from intruders and burglars.



Positioning Outdoor Security Cameras


Security cameras are an excellent way to protect your home or office from criminals. Not only are security cameras and other surveillance equipment excellent crime deterrents, but they are also one of the best possible ways to identify people who have committed crimes. Footage from surveillance cameras can be used to prosecute suspects as well. In fact, one of the first things the police ask for when a crime takes place is “Is there any security camera footage?”


However, like all security technology, you need to use security cameras effectively in order to get the most out of them.


The first thing you will need to know when you are positioning a security camera is the area that the camera will cover and the goal of the camera. If you are planning on having only a few cameras cover a large area, you will need to position them differently than if you were going to have many cameras arranged in to pick up fine details.


If you are planning on only having a few cameras and you'd like to cover a wide area, you will need to position the cameras high up or far away from the area you are planning on monitoring. This method works best if you are filming a warehouse, parking lot or other area where there isn't a great deal of activity. In these cases you will want to see if anyone enters the area and detail is not that important.


Note that you will be sacrificing detail when you position cameras to film a large area. You will be able to see if anyone walks in front of the cameras, but you may not be able to identify their facial features and small movements may be missed.


If you want to pick up details, you will want to place several security cameras in key areas. For example, if you are guarding against burglars from breaking into your house, you will want to place the cameras near any entrances, such as doors and windows. Be careful when placing cameras in these areas. You don't want to position them too low where they could be tampered with and possibly damaged.


Having a good mixture of cameras to cover distances as well as fine details is an excellent way to keep your property secure.


You will also want to consider wiring when setting up your cameras. Wireless cameras are an option and these can be moved around quite easily. However, their signals can sometimes be disrupted. Wired cameras are generally more reliable, though they can only be installed in certain locations where wiring is possible. Before buying security cameras, you'll need to take a look at where you're placing them and make a decision on using wired security cameras, wireless security cameras or a mixture of both.


Once you've placed a few cameras, walk around the area for a while and record yourself. Take a tour around every spot and make note of where you have been. Then, when you watch the recording, you will be able to see if there are any significant blind spots. Sophistical criminals understand how security cameras work and they will analyze the situation before attempting a break-in. Burglars can use blind spots in your security set-up to conduct their crimes unnoticed. If you know where the blind spots are ahead of time, you can make adjustments to ensure that no one can travel very far without being noticed and recorded.


You'll also want to position your surveillance cameras relative to the lighting on your property. If you are using a camera in a low-light area, you may want to add additional lightning or use an infrared camera or other security camera that can film in reduced lighting conditions. You'll also need to pay attention to areas that have too much direct lightning. Pointing a surveillance camera directly at a light source could “blind” the camera. All you'll be able to see on the recording is a bright light and that isn't very helpful. 


Remember that the sun is also a source of light; one that moves throughout the day. Just because a camera offers a great quality recording at nine o'clock in the morning, it doesn't mean the quality will be the same at four o'clock in the afternoon. Taking note of how the sun lights the area you are filming is crucial when you are positioning security cameras on your property.



How Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Save Your Life


Fire, smoke and carbon monoxide are incredibly dangerous. Even a small fire can spread rapidly and smoke inhalation can cause much more damage than you may initially think. Carbon monoxide is deadly as well. 


Most people have at least one smoke detector in their home, but unfortunately that's not enough to truly protect your family and your property.


A single smoke detector cannot possibly provide adequate protection. When you think about the fact that most people neglect their smoke detectors, you realize the risk that you are putting yourself at by ignoring this issue. 


At a very minimum, you should have one working smoke detector on each level of your home. Almost all states and provinces across the United States and Canada require smoke detectors in homes, but the specific requirements vary in different regions. Rather than strictly follow guidelines, you need to do what is best for your family even if it involves going beyond what is required. 


You should have smoke detectors on each level and have additional smoke detectors outside all sleeping areas (such as bedrooms.)


With smoke detectors, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Installing and maintaining smoke detectors is quite easy and the benefits they offer are huge. Having properly functioning smoke detectors in your home can save your life.


Newer homes usually have hard-wired smoke detectors installed when the home is built. These smoke detectors should work as long as their is electricity. However, many people become complacent when dealing with smoke detectors. They're usually an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. You never really notice them until you need them, but that doesn't mean they do not require maintenance. 


You should test all smoke detectors monthly to ensure that they are working properly. If they are not, you should replace them right away.


Even if your smoke detectors are hard-wired, you should still be vigilant about replacing their batteries. Smoke detectors that are wired into a home often have battery back-up. If there was a power outage and a fire broke out, this back-up battery is the only way you would be alerted to the fire. 


Obviously, if your smoke detector is not hard-wired, you will rely only on the batteries inside to power the device. You should definitely change the batteries in your smoke detector at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries in your smoke detector on a specific date each year. Some people change their batteries on daylight savings time, others on their birthday or New Year's Day. Choose whatever method of remembering works best for you and ensure you change the batteries yearly at a minimum.


Also, if the “battery low” light turns on or the alarm has an audible notification for a low battery, you will need to change it then as well. Never remove smoke alarm batteries to silence them or to use the batteries for other purposes and change batteries as soon as their is an issue.


If your smoke alarm has a lithium-ion or other longer-lasting battery, remember that these usually last a maximum of ten years before they need to be replaced. In fact, all smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years regardless, to ensure that you always have properly functioning alarms.


Carbon monoxide detectors are also incredibly important. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas. It is invisible to people and by the time you recognize the effects of the gas on you health, it is often too late. Carbon monoxide is poisonous and deadly. Having working carbon monoxide detectors in your home is by far the best way to spot this gas before it can cause serious harm or death.


Furnaces, ovens, clothes dryers, fireplaces, grills, water heaters, space heaters and vehicles can be sources of carbon monoxide. 


Carbon monoxide detectors are usually installed in new homes, but again, you want to ensure that your detector has a battery back-up in case your electricity is cut. You will need to change the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors as well, so follow the same guidelines that you would follow for smoke detectors. Each floor of your house should have a carbon monoxide detector and so should each sleeping area.


Remember, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are different devices that detect different dangers. You should certainly have both in your home as only one or the other isn't good enough. There are dual devices available that contain both carbon monoxide and smoke detection equipment.


Never assume that a fire won't happen in your home or that you will be aware of a fire without a smoke detector. Your life could be at risk. For a relatively small cost you could protect your family and your home from the dangers of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide.


What Home Alarm System is Right for You?

When you are looking for a home alarm system, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all of the options available. However, if you fully analyze your situation before purchasing and installing a home alarm system, you'll be able to make a much better choice.

The home security system you choose will depend on the type of home you live in and its layout. If you have many entry points (doors, windows, etc.) you'll need to make sure that you have a system that can handle all of them. It may be tempting to ignore a some areas of your house and leave some entry points unprotected, but that isn't a good decision. Burglars will try anything to get into your home.

Different home alarm systems are capable of monitoring different numbers of zones/entry points. Make sure the home security system you choose meets your needs.

You'll then need to decide on the types of sensors you are going to use. Do you want to monitor only when the windows and doors are opened? Do you want motion detectors as well? How about sensors that can determine if your windows and doors are unlocked? All of these factors are important decisions when choosing a home alarm system.

Installing motion detectors is recommended, but if you are planning on having motion detectors as a part of your home alarm system, there are a couple other things to consider. If you have pets, you'll need to ensure that the motion sensor you choose can handle a pet without sounding an alarm. Many modern motion detectors can be set to ignore the motions of animals based on their size. If you have a pet, make sure you check with the home alarm system manufacturer or installer so that your dog or cat won't set off the alarm.

You'll also need to take a look at the keypad and determine how it works. Remember, every member of your household should be able to properly activate and deactivate your home security system. Have all family members learn how to use the system and provide feedback before you make your final decision.

Installing a home security system is an excellent idea. There is no better way to keep your family and your property safe. Once you've taken some time to consider the home security options that are available, you'll be able to easily make an informed choice. The right home alarm system will protect your family for years to come.



Daytime Break Ins and Robberies

Many people have home security systems in order to protect them from break ins during the night. However, many break ins take place during the day, so you need to ensure that you're protected at all times. Properly using your home security system will keep you safe.

Criminals assume that most people are away from home during the day due to work and school. They know that they can strike a home during this time and go relatively unnoticed. This is why it is so important to arm your home security system during the day. Most people remember to activate their security systems when they leave the house for a long period of time, but it's quite common for people to avoid setting their home security system if they're just going out to run an errand and they believe they'll be back in a few minutes.

The thinking in these situations is that you'll only be gone for a short while, so there's no need to worry about a break in. Unfortunately, that isn't true. Criminals have been known to scout houses for several days in order to recognize patterns. If a criminal knows that a homeowner leaves every day at noon to pick up coffee or every afternoon at three to collect his or her kids from school, that information can be used to plan an attack when no one is watching.

This is why it is so crucial to set your home security system whenever you leave the house, even if it's only for a few minutes. Criminals can be in and out of your house very quickly, so you can never be too careful.

If you work from home, work shift work, stay home with children or are at home during the day for any other reason, you'll still need to ensure that you're protected during the day. As mentioned earlier, many criminals choose to strike homes during the daytime as they assume that there will be fewer people around to notice their crimes.

When you're at home, you should always set your home security system to continue monitoring your windows and doors. Obviously, you'll want to deactivate your motion detectors inside your house, but you shouldn't shut the security system off completely. Criminals may not realize that you are at home or they may not care and try to rob you anyway. Having a home security system that gives you the option of protecting your entry points while still allowing you to move freely around your house certainly goes a long way to protect your against daytime break ins.


Home Alarms Need to Protect All of your Home's Entrances

It's common to want to secure the front door of your home above all else. After all, it's usually the most accessible door and many criminals start their break ins by walking through the front door. However, that isn't the only entrance to your home that needs to be protected by a dead bolt, a security system and a home alarm.

Home alarms need to protect your entire home. If you do not have motion detectors, alarms and security cameras focused on all entrances to your home, you're not keeping yourself and your family as safe as possible. Remember that your windows and all other doors in your home need to be monitored and equipped with home alarms as well.

For your windows, you should think about installing security bars. These will work in conjunction with your home alarm system to keep criminals out. They can be installed rather easily and provide a great deal of protection. Don't forget your basement window, if you have one. On that note, it's also important to consider having a home alarm that will protect more than just the main floor of your house.

You may wish to install a home alarm system that will protect your basement and your second floor as well. Criminals are not above finding a way to climb up to your second floor in order to break into your house.

You'll also want to insure that all of your doors have strong dead bolts, not just the front door. Criminals have started to realize that many people have weaker side doors and back doors than they do front doors. Don't fail your home alarm system by having weak locks on your other doors.

It's also important to secure any other buildings around your home, such as your garage or your shed. While you may not be able to access your home through the garage or shed, criminals can use the tools they find inside to make it easier to break into your home. After all, it's a lot easier to break a door down or destroy a lock when you have a hammer or pliers. Criminals can use the tools they find to cause damage to your home. Alarm systems help, but having a strong lock on your shed and your garage is key. It's the first line of defense.

It's important that you secure every aspect of your home. Alarm systems are only as strong as their weakest link, so doing your due diligence and protecting all of your home's entrances will certainly help keep your family and your property safe.