10 Benefits of Video Surveillance for Your Home

outdoor-patio-security-camera-480Video surveillance is a useful security tactic for any property, including your home. If you’re a business owner, you may already have installed video surveillance in and around your location to deter and prevent crime. A comprehensive video surveillance system is fundamental to running a safe, secure business. However, it’s also a cornerstone of keeping your home safe as well.

Installing a video surveillance system in your home has many benefits. It’s the easiest way to keep your home secure. Today’s technology makes it possible to tap into your video feed from anywhere, so you’re never far from knowing what’s going on at your place of residence. Video surveillance systems are a great complement to your existing home security plan, or they can provide a great foundation for your security plan, if you don’t have one already.

The following are 10 benefits to installing a video surveillance system in your home.

  1. Video surveillance enhances your existing home security system.

As a homeowner, you may have already installed a home security system. These systems come in all shapes and sizes, from notifying you when someone opens a door or window to alerting the police of a break-in, like the SimpliSafe Wireless Home Security System. A video surveillance system with features like this one can record the actual events in and around your house, acting as a second layer of information when it’s time to solve the crime.

  1. Video surveillance allows you to monitor your home anytime, anywhere.

These days, you can do everything from your banking to setting your thermometer on your mobile phone. Smartphones allow us to store our most important information right in our pockets. These days, you can also use your smartphone to watch the activity that’s happening in your house. Companies that sell video surveillance systems have features that send the video feed right to your phone, along with security alerts, so you can stay up-to-date on what’s happening with your home while on vacation or at work.

  1. Installing a video surveillance system could save you money.

According to Farmers Insurance, one of the top 5 ways to reduce homeowner insurance premiums is to make your home safer. Insurance companies define safer as “anything that can reduce the risk of damage being done to your home.” By installing a video surveillance system in your home, you’re taking a step towards making your place of residence safer and more secure. Catching any activity that causes damage to your property on your video surveillance camera is one way to positively impact your homeowners insurance rate.

  1. Video surveillance systems are easy-to-use.

It’s important to use frameworks and technologies that work for you and fit your lifestyle. Video surveillance can be a great “set-it-and-forget-it” security system for busy people. Most companies will take care of upkeep and maintenance of your system. Once installed, you’ll only be responsible for knowing how to use the software on your computer or smartphone where you can see the video feed.

  1. Video recordings are the best evidence for court cases.

One of the main reasons you might install a video surveillance system is to prevent and deter crime. If a crime were to occur at your home, you’ll need to have a record of what happened in order to solve the crime. The best way to do that is to have indisputable evidence, and video recordings are great tools for the courtroom. Although you may not use it on a frequent basis, court-ready recordings can be a real asset if you’re involved in a criminal case.

  1. Video surveillance allows you to check in on your family and pets while you’re away.

Even though you might be thinking of video surveillance as a safety tactic, it can also be used to check up on your family, kids and pets when you’re away from home. Since most video feeds can be streamed right to your smartphone, you can see if the dog is behaving or if your child made it home safely after school. Video surveillance systems work to keep your home safe, but they can also provide you with peace of mind.

  1. Video surveillance holds your household staff accountable for their work.

At your home, you may employ a variety of people to help you upkeep your home. They could work inside, like a housekeeper or a chef, or work on the outside of your property in the garden or yard. Since these people are under your employment, you are paying them for the services they provide. By using video surveillance, you can be sure your employees are doing their jobs as agreed upon. There’s little dispute on what has and hasn’t been done with video evidence.

  1. Video surveillance systems can communicate with the authorities for you.

One aspect of your security plan is how you will alert the authorities to a possible theft or crime. Depending on where you are in your home, you may not have a phone readily available when a crime occurs. A benefit to installing video surveillance in your home is that you can utilize your security company to communicate with the authorities for you, ensuring that no matter what happens inside your home, police are immediately notified of the situation.

  1. Video surveillance systems can monitor low-traffic areas in your home.

In a business, dark corners or long hallways are prime spots to place your video surveillance system. This is because these areas have low foot traffic and are hard to see, making it a criminal’s dream. The same can be said about your home in areas like your garage, backyard or other areas that are not well-lit or traveled. Installing a video camera to monitor these areas will allow you to have more eyes on your property than humanly possibly.

  1. You can use video surveillance in lieu of other monitoring systems.

Beyond a home security system, special circumstances in your life may call for other monitoring systems in your home. For example, newer models of baby monitors display a video feed from a crib to a handheld device that a parent can take anywhere in the house. Instead of adding another costly system, video surveillance can be a low-cost way to keep tabs on your baby. You can use the same system for dogs, seniors or anything else you’d like to monitor in your home.

Video surveillance systems have many uses and benefits when used in the home. These systems can double as baby and pet monitors, and can also keep you safe by alerting the authorities of a crime. Even if you’ve already installed a home security system, coupling that with a video surveillance system will create the safest environment for you and your family.

Were you thinking about installing a video surveillance system in your home? Not sure where to start or what you need? Click here for a free quote!

By, Shawn Scarlata May 18, 2016

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The 5 Components of a Comprehensive Video Surveillance System

video screens 2

As a business owner, you want to be able to find out what’s happening with your business at any time, all the time. Now that the Internet has replaced the old, standalone filing cabinet of the past, it can be easy to check in on the records of your business. You might use a service like QuickBooks for your accounting needs, or a service like DropBox for your business files. The accessibility of these files from your computer or smartphone is what makes these services so useful.

Your security plan could be this accessible, too. Companies today that offer video surveillance as part of an overall security plan have features that make keeping tabs on your business easy, affordable and user-friendly. These features usually come as part of a comprehensive video surveillance system, a multi-faceted security plan that touches multiple areas of your business. Business owners today can use a comprehensive video surveillance system to keep their entire business safe, from their budget to their employees.

Here are five components of a comprehensive video surveillance system.

  1. Financial Stability for Your Security Budget

Keeping your business secure can be costly. With new features coming out as technology gets better, businesses have to keep budgeting and financial planning in mind. According to a 2011 report by Electronics.ca Publications, a market research firm, the video surveillance market was slated to grow from $11.5 billion in 2008 to $37.5 billion in 2015 due to increased interest in video surveillance.

When considering a comprehensive video surveillance solution for your business, you’ll want to find a company where you can lock in the costs. Deciding up front what your budget is for security and sticking to it will help you keep new financial addendums to your security plan at bay with the comfort of knowing your business is secure.

  1. Mobile-friendly Features for Your Smartphone

These days, your mobile phone is likely just an arm’s-length away. Our smartphones are our banks, our mailboxes and our social networks. They’ve also become part of our business workflow. This year alone, the U.S. could see an increase of 45 million employees who use smartphones in conjunction with their work.

Your video surveillance system should work the way you work, and if you use a smartphone for business email or documents, it’s best to find a company that can utilize your mobile phone in your security plan. For example, some companies will allow you to view your property from your smartphone, or get security alerts to your phone around the clock. These features can help you stay connected to your business on your time.

  1. Complete Video Coverage of Your Business

Depending on your security needs, you may already be using a security guard at your location. Security guards can be a great option for businesses that are smaller in physical size, or in certain scenarios (like an event) at your business that require a fast reaction or a human touch. But if you’re looking to “see” every square inch of your business at all times, a security guard isn’t enough.

For the most effective 24/7 security monitoring for your business, you’ll want to either supplement your security guards with video surveillance or install a video surveillance system when you create your security plan. Video surveillance systems allow you to have “more eyes” on your business than a security guard has, and can help decrease theft and vandalism in and around your business.

  1. Quick, Robust File Retrieval of Your Video

Businesses that already use video surveillance as part of their security plan understand the benefits of having a record of all the activity in your business that’s indisputable. Video surveillance systems boast one feature that you can’t really get anywhere else: recorded proof of the identity of someone you think may have robbed or vandalized your business. In a serious situation, video recordings may be all you have to prove what you’re saying is true.

For this reason, one component of your video surveillance system should be quick and easy access to your video recordings coupled with the ability to use those files as you see wish. It’s your video and therefore your data, and you have a right to access it in a timely fashion. Plus, different companies might offer different lengths of time to hold the recordings, which could be beneficial if a serious situation involving the law does arise.

  1. The Latest Security Features and Functionality

As your business grows, so will advances in technology. As a business owner, it’s your job to ‘keep up with the times’ and know the latest offerings available to you from your vendors. Even if you don’t handle the majority of the systems maintenance on your own, it’s in your best interest to know if you’re using the right services for your business.

When evaluating systems, be sure it’s understood between you and the video surveillance company how you’ll maintain as well as update your equipment in the future. While the first purchase is important, it’s just as important to choose a company that will guide you through choosing and understanding different features and functionality, keeping your system up-to-date with the latest technologies while not sacrificing what you need from your system to meet your business goals.

Even if you’ve already start dabbling in some video surveillance equipment or techniques, creating a comprehensive plan that includes the present and future maintenance of your system can only be beneficial. Doing so will help you better plan with your security budget, unlock the features you truly need (and those you don’t) and give you the security of knowing that at least one area of your business has a stable, long-term plan. Although it’s noted that video surveillance packages can be costly, you’ll have to balance your budget with services that meet the goals you have for business. Start by researching what these kinds of companies have to offer today.

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your residents, tenants, customers and employees? Do you want to talk to someone about installing a comprehensive video surveillance system? Click here for a free quote!

by, Shawn Scarlata May 2016

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How to Use Security Guards and Video Surveillance to Protect Your Business

 

ops center 2The security plan for your business is one of the most important operational plans you will have. As a business owner, you have a responsibility and a right to keep the people in and around your location safe. Depending on the type of business you own, you have several choices on how to execute your security plan. Usually, businesses choose either a traditional security guard or a video surveillance system to meet their needs.

Although security guards are known as the more traditional route, it’s not uncommon for security companies to enhance a security guard’s protective reach with technology. More and more, the coupling of human intelligence and technology is becoming a popular way to protect your business, as it provides an extensive and versatile security plan. Creating an effective, comprehensive security plan requires you to consider and outline a framework where both your security guard and surveillance work together to keep your business safe and secure.

Here are three strategies for effectively combining video surveillance and the aid of a security guard for a comprehensive security solution.

  1. Assign ‘roles’ to your security officer and video surveillance system.

It’s true that there is safety in numbers when it comes to protecting your business. As a business owner, having both systems may feel like you’ve ‘got it all,’ and that’s true. Together, these systems can be powerful in preventing and solving crime. But these systems combined are most powerful when they’re each focused on an individual solution.

When creating your security plan, it’s important to know how each system will be used and what you want out of it, so when you implement your system in your business, you know it’s working for you. If you are using both a guard and video surveillance at your location, you should lean on your security guard to prevent crime, and your video surveillance to solve crime. It’s true that security cameras are significant crime deterrents, but a security guard is best equipped to stop crime in its tracks. Cameras are indisputable when it comes to the facts after the crime.

Assigning these roles to each system can help you with the physical implementation, too. For example, if your video surveillance system is present in your business to solve crimes, it should be placed where the faces of the people in and around your business are visible and clear on the video camera. If you own a retail store, you may want to place a security guard near the entrance or exit in case of a theft.

  1. Create a communication framework for your two ‘systems.’

While security officers can come equipped to provide video monitoring duties, it doesn’t mean they’ve come equipped to carry out the systems you’ve put into place for how your security guards and video surveillance system will work together. In fact, getting down on paper how these two ‘systems’ will communicate is one of the most important facets of your security plan.

It may seem strange to think about how technology and a human will communicate together, but that’s not the type of plan you need — it’s more about how one system relies on the other and how they work together. For example, when your guard is on monitoring duty, what should he do if he sees a theft? Who does he alert? How does he do it? It’s also important to consider edge cases like how your guard should report crime when your camera isn’t working, or how to troubleshoot the video surveillance system if it needs a reboot. Understanding the flow of communication from you to your security system and back is one of the ways you can be certain it’s an effective system.

  1. Train your officers and your staff on the whole process.

If you’ve taken the time to sit down with your team, create a security plan, buy video surveillance equipment, contract with a security guard, and work out all of those details in-between, then you have to get your entire staff — including security personnel — on board with the plan. Security training is vital for security personnel, but as a business owner, having your entire workforce on the same page about security can help prevent and even deter crime.

If you’re transparent about your security plan, your employees can help you spot suspicious behavior, recognize known criminals and even report a crime. Teaching them the in’s and out’s of the plan and showing them you are invested in protecting your business will likely deter them from committing crimes themselves. If they know you’re actively participating in your security plan, it may not be worth the risk for them.

While you may have exclusively used one system over the other in the past, combining traditional security guards and video surveillance equipment can create a comprehensive, effective security plan for your business. In order to maximize your benefits, make sure to fully understand how and when each system is used; create a solid communication plan between you, the security system and the authorities; and train your staff on your security plan so they can help your protect your business.

  • Have you starting working on your security plan, and now you’re ready for the next step? Are you looking for ongoing security guard service and video surveillance? Click here for a free quote!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Marijuana Dispensaries Need Video Surveillance

greenhouseToday, the marijuana industry represents a fast-growing group of legitimate businesses serving people that use marijuana (cannabis) for medicinal or recreational purposes. These licensed dispensaries come in all shapes and sizes, with some including a retail storefront and others touting large grow facilities. Currently, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in one way or another.

Even though only some states have legalized cannabis, they all have one thing in common: it’s required by law that a marijuana dispensary (medical or otherwise) has a video surveillance system in place. States like Washington and Oregon even have very specific requirements when it comes to the equipment used in these systems–and that’s for good reason: marijuana dispensaries are attractive spots for criminals. Here are three reasons marijuana dispensaries need video surveillance.

  1. Cameras shed sunlight on employee theft.

An interesting nuance about the cannabis industry is that, at the moment, it’s an all-cash business. It’s actually illegal due to federal banking laws for marijuana businesses to deposit their money in banks, which leaves these dispensaries flush with on-hand money. With such a cash-heavy operation, dispensary business owners are smart to invest in technology that keeps their cash where it belongs.

Employee theft is a major concern from an operations standpoint. A dispensary likely has shifts where a number of employees are coming and going, and lots of activity can cause blindness during certain times in the business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees steal at least once, and that half of these steal at least twice. Using video surveillance and other security and operations measures can identify and stop employee theft.

  1. A video surveillance system can positively impact loss prevention.

Just as with employees, visitors to medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries are at risk to commit a crime. Since marijuana still isn’t legal at the federal level, it’s not covered by insurance, making it an expensive, coveted asset to one’s health when used medicinally. And since it’s not approved by the FDA and deemed a Schedule I controlled substance, it’s not always easy to find. These reasons make cannabis dispensaries at risk for theft of all kinds.

Depending on the dispensary, marijuana is usually sold in one-ounce bottles, specifically medical marijuana, making it easy to conceal. Cameras that are strategically placed at exits, entrances and other high-traffic areas can help marijuana business owners monitor activity in their space in real-time, catching crimes as they occur. Knowing there’s a security system in place can stave off a criminal; just the sight of cameras can change their mind to move on to something else.

  1. Cameras are a must-have for your grow strategy.

Medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities are not always located in the same place. Actually, it’s illegal in Oregon, where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal. This means that dispensaries work with grow facilities to acquire the cannabis needed to support the demand at the dispensary.

With one of the most important metrics in a grow facility being dollar per square foot spent, every plant demands resources that can be costly. For example, the price of specific lights, cooling systems and general power your grow facility needs can run you upwards of a million dollars just to get started.

That’s a big investment in both equipment and plants, and keeping it under video surveillance can be beneficial in many ways. Using cameras in your grow facility can protect your investments by monitoring your crops, growing process, daily operations and more.

If you’re considering opening your own dispensary, find out the laws in your state about surveillance requirements for your new location. Green Rush Consulting is one resource for In-depth knowledge of all state regulatory and application processes. Although it can be a big up-front investment in your business, video surveillance can keep your cannabis secure, from seed to sale.

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your marijuana dispensary to protect your investments? Click here for a free quote!

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Security Guards Vs. Video Surveillance: The Pros and Cons

By Shawn Scarlata

As a business owner, one of your main concerns is safety in your workplace. However, it doesn’t matter if you own a jewelry store or an office building there are only of a finite number of tried and true options at your disposal to ensure that your property, your employees and your business is kept safe. Two of these options are security guards and video surveillance systems.

Because no one business is the same, there are times when one of these options will work better for your business setup than the other. Factors like location, size of physical space and money are all attributes to consider when choosing a security system for your business. Here are the pro and cons to security guards and video surveillance systems.

Pro: Security guards can react, not just see, in real-time

One aspect of keeping your workplace safe is the ability to react to threatening situations in real-time. It’s certainly a plus for video surveillance to have undeniable coverage recorded, but that doesn’t solve a more immediate problem: the ability to react to a situation in the moment and potentially deter crime before it happens or is happening.

Security guards can be trained to react in real-time. Security guards receive varying levels of training when it comes to actively responding to crime. Training can include exercises on how to collect information all the way through the ability to detain suspects. As a business owner, it’s up to you to decide what your needs are and what skills a security guard must have to help you meet them.

Pro: Video surveillance systems can cover more ground.

In the case that your business covers a lot of physical ground, spans many floors or is located in a space that can’t be properly surveyed by a human, you’re in luck: video surveillance systems are the answer to being able to see your whole business at once, and maybe even on your smartphone, too.

Due to their range of motion, recording capabilities and the ability to add as many cameras as your budget will allow, video surveillance systems are the best way to see the entirety of a large area at once. This could possibly include but is not limited to spaces like warehouses, parking lots, outdoor shopping areas and more.

Con: Security guards can be expensive.

There’s no denying that the presence of an armed security guard would make most people think twice before even attempting to commit a crime. But for many businesses, having security guards to patrol their property is just not in the cards — or their budget. As a business owner, the cost of paying a person(s) to keep your workplace safe must be considered. Security guards, while ensuring safety, also can incur a large cost on your business.

For small businesses, security guards can run anywhere between $20-$100 per hour depending on the type of work they are contracted to do. While an unarmed security guard typically is about $18-22 per hour, an armed security guard costs more for the same amount of time. The costs for both armed and unarmed security guards can go up during the nighttime, as risk increases during the evening hours.

Con: Video surveillance can lead to delayed responses.

When creating a video surveillance system at your business, it may be tempting to install a camera in every nook and cranny to make sure the system is working for you and keeping your business safe. However, by doing this, you’re ensuring just the opposite. The golden rule to follow when it comes to video surveillance is the more cameras you have, the more staff you must employ to monitor it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to respond efficiently and effectively to a crime in progress.

When setting up your system, don’t forget to create a plan of who will monitor which cameras and when. Doing this, paired with some investigation on exactly where the best places are to install cameras, will get you started off on the right foot. Don’t forget that video surveillance systems these days come with features like remote video feeds, different camera types and more, and these nuances need to be worked into your training so folks can properly react to what they’re monitoring.

While there are pros and cons to security guards and video surveillance systems, there’s also a third option that might work for your business. A comprehensive approach is a blend of using both security systems to keep your business safe. It’s possible that a security guard during the day adds an extra layer of protection to the cameras that already monitor your space at night. No matter what, understanding the pros and cons of both systems will help you make the best choice for your business.

Are you looking for ongoing security guard services for your commercial or residential property? Click here for a free quote!

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Why Your School Should Have Video Surveillance

Three security cameras attached on the office building corner

A growing concern among educational institutions today is safety. In America, there have been 171 school shootings since 2013. Gun violence, theft and vandalism are issues that schools deal with every day. As a result, school officials have an ongoing mission to find the best solutions to keep their schools safe and secure for their students.

For protection against these threats, schools are turning to security cameras as an indispensable aid to identifying and resolving issues. Sixty percent of US residents and 52 percent of Canadians polled agreed they would feel that their children were safer with surveillance cameras in place (Ipsos Public Affairs). Implementing video surveillance at your school can help you monitor potentially large school grounds effortlessly, impact negative activity like vandalism or theft positively, and create a more secure system for school visitors.

Consider the following three reasons to use video surveillance at your school.

  1. Video surveillance is the best solution to secure large areas.

While an average of 23.1 students fill the typical American primary school classroom, every school is different in terms of size and shape. An educational campus may house football or baseball fields, an athletic center, a library or even own the grounds around the school. When hundreds or thousands of students have access to these areas during school hours (or pay a visit to these locations during off-hours), it can become hard to manage the traffic coming in and out of your school grounds.

Video surveillance can help school officials easily maintain these areas without having to leave their offices. Today’s video surveillance technology offers IP cameras, which can be connected wirelessly over a school’s internet network. These cameras are an upgrade from older surveillance systems like CCTV, which can’t broadcast footage over the internet. Being able to tap into your video stream at any time makes it easy for you to monitor different areas of your school hundreds of feet away in seconds.

  1. Video surveillance can prevent and reduce crime in your school.

Walpole High School in Walpole, Massachusetts recently upgraded their security system based on prior violent incidents at other schools like Sandy Hook in Newton, Connecticut and recent events like the Boston Marathon bombing. Walpole High’s principal, Stephen Imbusch said that in the 1,165-student high school, the existing security cameras used to monitor inside threats and student behavior have proven useful in determining what might have happened in certain disciplinary or criminal situations.

Just as these security cameras are meant to solve crimes at your school, they can also act as deterrents for crime. Conspicuously placed school surveillance cameras have been shown to reduce threats of violence and vandalism drastically. This means that, at your school, you’ll want to install some security cameras in plain sight. Knowing that your face or voice can be caught on tape is enough to deter a student who may be considering vandalism or theft.

  1. Video surveillance can help monitor visitor activity at your school.

In recent years, schools have implemented a plethora of safety measures not only inside the school itself, but also in the processes by which visitors are welcomed onto school grounds. These measures can span from a sign-in sheet to metal detectors and body searches. The U.S. Department of Education Indicators of School Crime and Safety reported that 98% of schools require all visitors to sign or check in upon arrival. But what happens after the check-in can be anyone’s guess, if you haven’t taken the proper security measures.

Video surveillance, along with tactics like badges, sign-in sheets and other identifiers, is a great way to protect students from unauthorized visitors. It’s not uncommon for a parent or relative to visit the school for reasons like parent-teacher conferences or to pick their sick child up from school, but confirming parental rights or even the true identity of a visitor isn’t always part of the process.

And while non-students visiting school grounds is usually a daytime activity, unwanted visitors could return at off-hours, when the school is empty and the grounds are dark. In this scenario, video cameras can monitor this activity and inform school officials about exactly where on school grounds incidents are likely to happen, and can even provide information on the person(s) involved in any suspicious activity.

While school officials looking to implement video surveillance should check the laws in their state about where video surveillance is allowed (as to not infringe on any privacy laws), video surveillance can aid schools in keeping their institution a safe and secure place for student and visitors. The ability to stream the cameras over the school’s network allows for real-time monitoring, no matter where you are. And along with reducing and possibly preventing crime, video surveillance serves to protect everyone on school grounds, both students and visitors alike. Using video cameras for security purposes allows schools to easily monitor school activity and respond fast to possible security threats.

Thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your students, residents, tenants, customers or employees? Click here for a free quote!

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by Shawn Scarlata, March 24, 2016

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Top 3 Reasons to Implement Video Surveillance at Your Apartment Complex

by Shawn Scarlata

As the owner of an apartment complex, you are responsible for the upkeep of your property, maintaining both the inside and the outside of your building. The amount of time and effort you spend doing this depends on the size of your property, but big or small, one of the more top-of-mind jobs to address is safety, whether that’s keeping employees or tenants safe inside, or monitoring public activity outside. If you own an apartment complex, this can be a more challenging task.

These days, apartment complexes don’t only include apartments, but also parking lots, garages, gyms, an office and sometimes even a hall or gathering area for the tenants. With so many people organized in a defined amount of space, each living on different schedules with their own personal lives, it’s important to provide safety measures like around-the-clock video monitoring for your occupants in your public spaces. Sometimes, implementing video surveillance can even help you comply with the law.

The following are the top 3 reasons to implement video surveillance at your apartment complex.

  1. Video surveillance provides safe, comfortable facilities for your tenants.

In New York, for example, there’s a tangible line between privacy and safety. The general rule states that law-abiding tenants can freely use their homes without unreasonable interference or annoyance, and rental clauses frequently cite that the occupants are entitled to “exclusive control” of their space when they sign the lease. However, tenants of your apartment complex may not want the same kind of personal privacy in your public spaces.

As a property owner, you have a duty to provide safe, comfortable spaces in the public areas of your complex. If your tenants feel unsafe around their home, it could hurt your business with a bad reputation and not enough occupants to pay the bills. Video surveillance in public areas, defined by the New York Courts as “hallways, lobbies, vestibules, public telephone booths, stairwells and any other areas used for ingress and egress where access is relatively uncontrolled,” is necessary to provide this type of environment for your tenants.

  1. Video surveillance teaches you to spot suspicious activity and prevent crime.

Even though you may have tenant turnover when leases are up for renewal, you’ll still have long-term or noteworthy tenants that exhibit certain patterns of behavior you’ll learn over time. Using video surveillance is one way to quickly get up-to-speed on the ecosystem of your complex, which could help you prevent crime before it occurs.

Monitoring spaces like the parking lot, gym, security office and other highly-trafficked public areas can help you understand when that’s a busy area, a slow area–or an area someone shouldn’t be in at all. If you’ve taken the time to learn the patterns of your apartment complex, that too can aid in catching suspicious activity. Management Enterprises, a property management company, recalled an incident when at a property they operate, staff suspicions were aroused when a visitor consistently entered the building at a particular time of the day. A current resident, who was allowing an unauthorized person to live with her, would only admit to having the guest after being told everything was logged on the apartment complex’s DVR.

  1. Video surveillance can help you easily comply with property laws.

As a property owner, you’re likely familiar with all of the rental laws that are applicable in your state. Sometimes these laws pertain to how you are allowed to rent the space within your property, the allowance of animals or smoking inside and on the premises, and a myriad of different scenarios that make up the experience of renting an apartment. If you know these laws, you’ll know whether or not your state requires you to have video surveillance at your apartment complex.

In California, the law says that property owners have a legal duty to provide a safe and secure environment for their tenants. Video surveillance technology can help fulfill this requirement. Video surveillance is a good fit for preventing theft and vandalism, actions that can breed more serious criminal activity in your complex. You’ll want to check the laws in your state, as being a crime deterrent is one of the noted benefits of using a video surveillance system.

 

Were you thinking about installing a video camera system at your property to protect your residents, tenants, customers and employees? Would you like a roving patrol officer with your video monitoring? Click here for a free quote!

If you want to first find out a little more about how our VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service) works you can click here to download our information sheet.

 

 

 

 

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How to Install a Video Surveillance System

by Shawn Scarlata

Whether you’ve just signed a first-time lease on a new building for your business or are profitable enough to be opening up a second location, keeping your business protected should be at the top of your move-in list. Installing a video surveillance system can not only help you solve a crime once it’s been committed, but can also act as a deterrent for would-be criminals.

However, just like with computers, phones, tablets and all of your favorite electronic gadgets, video surveillance systems come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of business you own, or the kind of insurance you have, certain features of video surveillance systems will be more beneficial to you than others.

Before installing any video surveillance system, it’s important to understand what kinds of additional functionality you might need at your business. For example, ADT business solutions include email notifications, motion detection and cloud storage solutions. Another company, Dropcam, a cloud-based monitoring service, allows users to turn their cameras on and off at specific times of the day or week via a scheduling option.

After you’ve determined the functionality you need and have purchased the equipment, it’s time to install your video surveillance system. No matter what video surveillance system you choose, there’s a few commonalities all video surveillance systems share. Here are some tips to installing your new safety monitoring system.

Getting Started

Although it may be tempting to break open your new equipment right away, you’ll want to make sure you have the items necessary to complete the installation of your video surveillance system. According to VideoUniversity.com, you’ll need:

  • Surveillance camera kit
  • Drill with bits
  • Fish tape coil for mounting wires (unless you’ve chosen a wireless system)
  • Video monitor for viewing

While every video surveillance system will likely come with its own user manual, it’s important to have the materials noted above so you can install your system right away. The user manuals will come in handy when it’s time to learn how to operate the camera and how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise during installation.

Setting Up

Before you drill any holes in the wall, it’s a good idea to survey the area(s) where you’ll be placing your cameras and map it out. For example, depending on how many cameras you purchased for your monitoring system, you may have to prioritize certain areas of your business above others. Business Insider suggests that beyond understanding crime in your area, knowing how employees use your exits, entrances and parking lots can help you make good decisions on where your cameras should be placed.

If you’ve got a good idea on where you’d like to place your cameras, VideoUniversity.com advises you connect your first camera to a power source as well as your video monitor. Then, you can hold the camera where you think you’d like to mount it. After you check via the video monitor that the camera placement gives you the range that you want, make a mark on the wall to determine the location of the camera mount, which will come with each camera you purchase. You’ll want to mark where you’ll be using the drill and screws to secure the camera mount.

If you’re not an electrician, it might be worth checking with one to ensure you aren’t drilling in or around any electrical wires, which could have serious repercussions. Once you’ve confirmed it’s a safe zone to drill, VideoUniversity.com recommends drilling pilot holes (holes smaller than screws) before placing the mount and screwing it onto the wall with real screws. This way, you can be sure the first time you screw the mount onto the wall, the mount is in it’s rightful place and won’t need to be moved again, which can be a hassle depending on the amount of cameras you have.

System Optimization

Here’s where the camera user manual might come in handy! Depending on the video surveillance system you purchased, you likely have a host of features that you can choose to take advantage of, like recording schedules, mobile phone alerts and more. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with your options on how to monitor and stay connected to the video surveillance you’ve purchased for your business, now is the time.

After you’ve mounted the cameras, you’ll want to pull out the control box, which is the virtual home base for your cameras. VideoUniversity.com instructs folks to connect the cable that comes with the camera to both the camera and the control box. If you’re keeping the control box in a back room or out-of-sight, this may require another hole in your wall, so checking again for electrical wires is a must. Once the camera is connected to the control box, you can test the video recording and monitoring as well as any other feature you’ll be utilizing in your video surveillance system.

Installing a video surveillance system can be easy, but only if you come prepared with the materials and knowledge of your new system and how you’ll be using it to protect your business. Understanding the features as well as having a general plan for the layout of your cameras will make installing your video surveillance system a breeze.

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How Video Surveillance Cameras Can Prevent Crime Before it Happens

These days, it’s not hard to find the video surveillance cameras that exist in many brick-and-mortar stores. One reason is because this popular surveillance technique can be relatively inexpensive in comparison with other costly surveillance methods, like hiring a security guard. In fact, businesses may be able to benefit from government-funded video surveillance grants, as the Department of Homeland Security awards billions of dollars per year to U.S. cities for safety purposes like video surveillance.

And business owners aren’t hiding these cameras, either. In fact, having them in plain sight is part of the plan: video cameras are not only useful for recording crimes in order to identify thieves, but also to deter criminals from committing crimes in the first place. Knowing that your behavior could be caught on camera can sometimes be enough to prevent crime, if not also supporting evidence for the crime after it’s been committed.

Video surveillance can prevent crime before it happens, but only if your video surveillance system has the support it needs to work that way. Here are three attributes your video surveillance system needs in order to prevent crime before it happens.

  1. A Well-trained Monitoring Staff. Depending on your business, you may have a small number of cameras that focus on one room or a large number of cameras that can see the span of several large areas, inside and outside. No matter what your setup is, having a well-trained staff to oversee what’s happening on these cameras is one way to prevent crime before it happens.

Video monitors or camera operators should be trained in not only the systems and processes your business sets up for when a crime is in progress or has been detected, but also those “soft skills” that can make a team of people watching your business work for you. For example, according to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, a surveillance team can often come to know the faces of local offenders, giving them a leg up on possibly preventing crime. Being well-versed in the community, the types of recurring local crime and even basic training like how to recognize someone who is high on drugs, can help prevent crime before it happens.

  1. The Right Number of Cameras. When installing your video surveillance system, it’s tempting to fill every nook and cranny with a camera to catch everything that happens in or around your store. And the intention there is right — as a business owner, you want to secure your location, which is why you are setting up video surveillance in the first place. However, an unmanageable number of cameras can have a negative effect on your surveillance plan.

GCN, a website that delivers technology assessments, says that the best approach is to start small and place cameras in your area carefully and thoughtfully. You’ll want to start with cameras that film the most vulnerable spots in your store, like the cash register or the entrance. Then, as your staff becomes more well-trained on how to respond to activity seen on the video surveillance system, you can feel secure in adding more cameras into the mix to strengthen your method of crime prevention.

  1. Integration with the Right Technology. While training your monitoring staff to be well-versed in your surveillance plan and preparing them to know what to do to prevent and report crime is important, it’s not enough. With the technology we have at our fingertips today, it’s extremely beneficial for business owners to evaluate ways to integrate their video surveillance systems into technologies they are using every day, or processes and systems that make communicating the crime faster and easier for all involved.

The Urban Institute, a research organization dedicated to bringing objective analysis and expertise to policy debates, says that in their evaluation of three cities, integrating video surveillance technology into all manners of law enforcement activities proved to strengthen their surveillance technique, as doing this created a more effective system overall. For businesses, that could mean streaming your video surveillance to mobile devices or discussing possible integrations with your local police department.

Business owners can more efficiently prevent crime if they make it easier to communicate the situation, whether that’s seeing the video or an automated alert, using technology we use every day.

Video surveillance systems can not only be effective at catching criminals after the fact, but when set up properly, these systems can prevent crime before it happens. Having a well-trained staff, the right number of cameras and proper integrations with other communication systems will leave business owners with a setup that works to protect their business in multiple ways.

 

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Are there Benefits to Implementing Video Surveillance Over a Traditional Security Guard?

These days, safety in the workplace means having more than a first-aid kit on hand when one of your employees needs a Band-Aid. For example, keeping your company data safe and secure is a rising concern as cybersecurity becomes a hot topic among business leaders today.

But it’s not only your company data that needs security. It’s your environment, too. Businesses today have to consider not only protecting the data they hold, but their workplace as well.

Physical security like video surveillance or security guards can help deter employee theft, breaking and entering and even robbery. While traditional security guards have been around since the Stone Age, advancements in technology have made it possible to keep an eye on your business even if no one is physically present. And the improvements aren’t minor, either: video surveillance systems now offer top-of-the-line features like thermal imaging and panoramic technology.

While there may be precedence at your company to hire a security guard to keep your workplace safe, it’s important to understand the benefits of video surveillance and why it might be a better option for managing the safety of your business.

The following are two benefits to implementing video surveillance over a traditional security guard to protect your company.

Technology. Every year our iPhones get bigger; our gadgets get smaller; and our computers get smarter. Using video surveillance, you can tap into the latest technological advancements in this industry to keep your business safe. By combining video security and video surveillance, you can create a system that is automated and works faster than any human can. According to Security Magazine, today’s systems incorporate “smart” cameras, include internal storage and analytics, and have the ability to stream to mobile devices.

SightLogix Inc, a manufacturer of intelligent video surveillance systems, combines video surveillance with smart technology that uses computers to watch what’s happening on-screen, and will alert folks in real-time when an intrusion is taking place. SightLogix helps you create a comprehensive video security solution with detection and video verification, taking the best parts of a human and machine solution to security.

Price. Budget is always a factor when it comes to security for your business. As of January 2016, the average pay for a Security Guard is $10.49/hr, or $29,084 annually. Video surveillance pricing isn’t as cut-and-dry. For example, a comparison of business security systems from FitSmallBusiness has different pricing for installation, monthly services, warranties and more.

Price is a benefit when it comes to video surveillance systems because businesses can pick and choose which services and items they want based on their needs, or their type of business and what they sell. It’s not about hiring one or more guards — it’s about choosing what security you want and where. For example, CostOwl.com says that you should expect to pay about $1,000 per camera for the total package.

The Hybrid Approach

While video surveillance has it’s benefits to keeping your workplace free from intruders, it’s important to understand the risks involved with choosing one solution over the other. Neither are foolproof, and taking a hybrid approach may make the most sense for your business.

To help make the best decision for your company, consider your main goal in implementing a surveillance solution. For some companies, it’s monitoring employees internally for theft. For others, it’s keeping non-employees out of the building or keeping what’s inside your building safe and secure.

Christopher Lara, StarKnight Incorporated’s marketing director, makes the point that video cameras don’t always have that 360-degree view a human has, and they’re not always evenly distributed throughout the building. If your video surveillance solution is not set up properly, it could do more harm than good, weighing your budget down with a solution that isn’t working for you.

Security guards have the ability to react in real-time to security issues that arise, and can follow up accordingly on the spot. However, they also can’t be everywhere at once, and therefore can’t see the entire scope of what they need to keep secure. Hiring multiple security guards could be a strain on your budget, and may not be a sustainable option for your business.

Although there are benefits of using video surveillance versus a traditional security guard, businesses have a duty to themselves to figure out their true security needs and implement a system that works best for them. Considering both options when vetting out how you’ll keep your business secure will allow you to understand the benefits and risks of workplace safety when applying security systems like video surveillance or traditional security guards.

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