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Shopping For Security? What to Look For When Considering a Home Video Security System

Security-Camera-iconThis is a fact — Home video surveillance equipment isn’t just for the wealthy or just for business owners anymore. Anyone looking to protect their home, property, and family should consider buying home surveillance equipment. This once very expensive and hard-to-operate equipment has become considerably less expensive in price, allowing homeowners of all budgets the ability to protect their families and precious property.

Before buying any home surveillance system or equipment, decide some important factors first. Choose between an indoor or outdoor system, decide on the number of cameras you might need (make a small plot plan of your property and call out where a camera may be useful), pick out desired features, and choose a storage system. Buying video surveillance equipment doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge but it does require a bit of research. Consumers can find home surveillance equipment in electronic stores and speciality monitoring shops. Online shoppers can turn to Internet retailers and online auction sites like eBay to buy video security systems.

Types of Home Surveillance Systems
First time buyers considering home surveillance equipment can feel a bit overwhelmed. However, once they have learned a few technical terms and device types, consumers can start to feel more confident about their purchase. The first step is to narrow down the type of security system you need. You can choose from either an indoor or outdoor home surveillance system.

Indoor Home Surveillance
Indoor video security is useful for many reasons. Cameras can be used to keep an eye on babysitters, housesitters, construction workers, and anyone else that might be in your home when you are away. Consumers can monitor multiple rooms, or just one area. Indoor cameras generally produce a high quality picture.

Outdoor Home Surveillance
Meant to deter or catch home intruders, outdoor cameras can be very discrete or extremely obvious. Larger cameras can be advantageous because it might prevent criminals from trying to break in. Outdoor home surveillance cameras are built to withstand the elements. They are usually waterproof and might even have wipers to protect the lens. Buyers can monitor one specific area, like the front door, or have multiple cameras to watch the whole property. Outdoor cameras should be of maximum resolution (800 lines and above) and offer night vision when dark.

Night Vision
Night Vision features on a color camera mean that that camera has the ability to automatically adjust it’s color operation to black and white once the available light has diminished. Night Vision on a color camera allows you to record good video even with very little available light. Night Vision cameras are most always equipped with Red LED’s that can brighten sometimes a distance of 100 ft. or more – again even in complete darkness. Unless your property is very well lit at all hours of the night then you really need Night Vision cameras.

Other Camera Choices
Buyers can choose from single cameras, multi-room cameras, whole house cameras, and hidden came
ras. Price and need generally dictate which type of cameras consumers buy. Single cameras are useful for monitoring a front door or a single room. Multi-room and whole house cameras are good for both indoor and outdoor uses. Hidden surveillance is good for nanny cams and discrete filming.

Types of Cameras
Consumers can choose from many different types of home surveillance cameras. You can either buy individual cameras or purchase an entire home surveillance system. Consumers only interested in purchasing one or two security cameras might be better off buying the equipment separately. Some examples of cameras include:

Home Surveillance Equipment Features
Once you have determined which type of home surveillance equipment you want, it’s time to decide on the different features. Features affect the quality of the camera, as well as the price. Consumers can compromise on certain features depending on their needs and budget. Before buying home surveillance equipment, you need to choose between wired and wireless, color or black and white, resolution, and coverage. If you want great image quality and reliability then you should choose a high resolution DVR with a higher frame rate per channel (channels mean camera basically)78002big

Wired vs. Wireless
Wired and wireless home surveillance equipment both have advantages and disadvantages. The term “wireless” refers to the signal transmitted by the camera. Wireless cameras have more flexibility and are generally more discrete. Consumers have the freedom to install them wherever they are needed. However, interruptions from the wireless Internet can affect the signal. You might lose a few minutes, hours, or even days of recording time if the wireless network isn’t properly working.

Wired cameras can be harder to install and are often less discrete. The wires can be cumbersome and unattractive. However, wired cameras often offer users a clearer picture and more reliable service. Wired cameras are also good for new construction where the wires can be built into the walls. They can be installed as part of a complete home security system or structured wiring network.

Color vs. Black and White
In most instances, color is not necessary for home surveillance equipment. Sometimes, businesses and commercial properties use color cameras,, but chances are you won’t need that feature in a home video security system. However, buyers should look for a camera that produces a high quality black and white image.. A grainy picture won’t be useful when trying to identify an intruder. Those using an outdoor system should definitely look for a camera with night vision capabilities. Surveillance systems with this feature can capture high quality images at night. Outdoor cameras in low light can benefit from infrared LEDttechnology, which can illuminate an area.

Resolution
As with any electronic device, a higher resolution equals increased image quality. A typical home surveillance camera has about 350 to 400 TV lines (TVL) of resolution. High-resolution cameras, with TVL of 480 to 800, offer good images and accuracy. But now HD Security Cameras have hit the market and offer full 1080P resolution which is unbeatable.  The only drawback to these new HD cameras is cost and compatibility with your old equipment.  Most if not all HD cameras use newer LAN connections that go straight to a LAN HD DVR.  If you are just looking to upgrade the quality of your cameras to be compatible with an older model DVR then choose the highest resolution that’s compatible with your DVR.

Coverage
The amount of area a camera lens can cover varies greatly. Some cameras only shoot directly in front of the lens. Wide-angle lenses cover a larger space, while pan-tilt-zoom cameras can videotape a 360-degree view. For outdoor cameras, choose an automatic iris, which automatically adjusts to different levels of light. Some more expensive cameras come equipped with adjustable lenses that can narrow the field of view or close up on it if you like.

Video Surveillance Storage
Consumers need a device to record and store their footage. Gone are the days of VHS tapes. Now, users can digitally record hours of high quality footage on a hard drive. While choosing a DVR recorder is going to be a straightforward decision, the biggest choice home video surveillance buyers will need to make is between an IP or analog camera.

DVR Recording Device
A DVR recorder allows users to store a certain amount of footage on a hard drive. A 750 GB hard drive records for about 45-60 days. Larger storage amounts are available and the amount of storage you will need depends on the number of cameras you have and your camera type. The advantage of a DVR recorder is that you can immediately access any point within the video and monitor the footage remotely. Typically, a DVR offers higher quality video than VHS tapes. For multiple cameras, be certain you have enough DVR outputs.

surveillance-iconIP and Analog
IP and analog cameras offer two different types of access to the camera’s footage. An IP camera connects to the homeowners’ Internet system. You can access the camera via the camera’s URL address. While IP relies on your home’s Internet bandwidth, it also works well with wireless systems.

Analog surveillance systems,, also known as closed-circuit televisions, are less expensive and can record endless hours of footage. They convert the analog signal into digital before processing the footage. Analog systems are sometimes more appropriate for the home because they don’t take up Internet bandwidth. However, IP cameras are generally better for connecting multiple wireless cameras.

Tips for Video Surveillance
Novice buyers might feel a little lost when purchasing their first video surveillance system. Always take your time and do plenty of research beforehand. The more you know the smarter you will be when it comes to fighting crime at your own door.

Where To Get The Best Deals?
To get the best prices on your home surveillance purchases we recommend shopping for your equipment at Fry’s Electronics, Amazon, and eBay.

Our recommendation  – go HD (Hi-Def) equipment if you can afford it. See this companies promotional video about HD Security systems capabilities.

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


Protect Your Mobile (And Other) Devices – What You Can Do

official-apple-logo-pngHow to secure your Apple Products (Android will be featured in a separate post)

There are simple solutions available now that can help you safeguard your mobile devices in case of theft or even if you loose them.  Many times your technology platform of choice will have an App or some kind of security solution that actually really do work, and Apple Inc. is one of those companies and the focus of this post.  Using their “Find My iPhone”  App – you are now able to locate everything from your iPhones, iPads, the iPod Touch, and your Mac’s – including your Macbook Air and Pro laptops,  your iMac, MacMini, and Mac Pro desktop models.  The Apple Find My iPhone App can locate all of your registered devices.

find-my-iphone-trans

Find My iPhone Icon located on your Apple Mobile Devices

Find out more about safeguarding your devices from Apple Here

Now there is Activation Lock – New on iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad Air and Mini
When you enable Find My iPhone on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7, your Apple ID is securely stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to your device. From that point on, your password will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device, erase your device, or reactivate and use your device.

Download the Apple Find My iPhone App Here

To set up Find My Device (iPhone, iPad, MacBooks, Mac’s etc) Click Here

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


When To Call 9-1-1

If there is an EMERGENCY, call 9-1-1. Crimes in progress such as a burglary, robbery, a fight, or anything life threatening are considered an EMERGENCY
When you call 9-1-1 the operator will know the location you are calling from. Often times, the crime is occurring elsewhere on the property from where you are calling. Be prepared to describe exactly where the crime is occurring so that the police can be effective and safe in responding to the situation, while minimizing the ability of the suspects to escape. When in doubt, use 9-1-1, but use common sense and proper discretion when deciding whether or not a situation is truly an EMERGENCY.

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


Terrorism – What You Need To Know

terrorisminfo

TERRORISM AWARENESS IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS
No matter how well trained and vigilant, law enforcement simply cannot be everywhere. Your eyes and ears are needed. After all, you know best what activities in and around your neighborhood, school or workplace appear to be “out of the ordinary” or suspicious.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

• Individuals who do not fit the surrounding environment-dressed in bulky or inappropriate attire for the location or time of year;
• Individuals who show unusual interest in building security systems or access to restricted or sensitive areas;
• Individuals who loiter around buildings, parking lots, and other locations not generally open to the public;
• Individuals making diagrams, taking notes, photographs or video in areas not normally of interest to tourists;
• Multiple sightings of the same suspicious person, vehicle, or activity, separated by time, distance or direction;
• Individuals who do not appear to have a means of support;
• Neighbors without customary furnishings or utilities and whose habits seem odd;
• Neighbors who receive deliveries or visitors at odd or unusual times;
• Any activity that appears suspicious or out of place to you!

WHAT TO DO:

Report suspicious activity IMMEDIATELY to security and/or police;
Give as many details as possible i.e. time, location, description, license number;

EMERGENCY HAPPENING NOW – CALL 9-1-1

LAPD TERRORIST THREAT TIP LINE:  1-877-A-THREAT (1-877-284-7328)

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


Your Neighborhood Fire Station

fireinformation

In case of an EMERGENCY Such As Fire or Medical Emergency, Call 9-1-1

For Your Safety, Melrose Action Wants You To Know Our Neighborhood Fire Station Location and Information

Los Angeles Fire Department
Fire Station 41
1439 North Gardner Street
Los Angeles CA 90046-4101

This fire station is located on Gardner Street between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Blvd. and serves our area.

If you would like to contact Fire Station 41, please call the city’s non-emergency phone number at 3-1-1 and they will connect you.

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


How To Report A Crime

reportacrime

If You Were A Crime Victim, What Should You Do Now?
If you were the victim of a crime, the following information might be helpful to you.

YOUR LOCAL POLICE STATION:
Los Angeles Police Department
Wilshire Area Police Station
Front Desk (213) 473-0476
4861 West Venice Boulevard
Just East of La Brea Av.
Los Angeles, California 90019
CLICK HERE FOR MAP AND LOCATION OF LAPD WILSHIRE STATION

If the crime just happened, and you have not yet reported it to the police, please do so immediately. If the crime involved violence, or the threat of violence, call 911. For other crimes, call 1-877-ASK-LAPD.

When you call, give as many details as possible.

You may need to wait a while for a police car to arrive at the scene of the crime. For example, if something was stolen out of your parked car, but at the same time there was a shooting in a nearby neighborhood, then the police will be busy at the scene of the shooting.

Please don’t give up and fail to report the crime! If the crime does not get reported in the official police statistics, then our neighborhood will wind up getting fewer police patrols assigned here, and you and your neighbors will be more likely to become crime victims in the future.

You may want to call friends and ask them to wait with you until the police arrive. It can be helpful to have friends there to assist you.

If you have trouble filing a police report, or feel that your report has not been followed up on adequately, then call our LAPD Senior Lead Officer for this area, who is our “neighborhood cop.” He is Officer Arthur Gallegos, and his cell phone number is (213) 793-0708. Keep in mind that Officer Gallegos only answers his cell phone when he is on duty, so if he is off duty for a few days, he will not get back to you until he returns to duty. Do go ahead and leave a voicemail message for him. We have found Officer Gallegos to be very responsive.

If you filed a police report and want to know the status of the investigation, try to contact the detective assigned to your case. If you do not know the detective’s name, call the LAPD Wilshire Detective Desk at (213) 922-8205

For more information about crime and public safety from the Los Angeles Police Department, visit the LAPD web site by clicking here

To learn more about our neighborhood’s safety and crime prevention efforts, check for information regularly on this web site. You may want to “bookmark” this site. We also recommend that you sign up to receive our e-mail safety alerts. See the Crime Alerts Button in The Menu Bar Above.

We hope that this information has been helpful to you.

From your neighbors in the Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


Help Combat Graffiti – City of L.A. Offers Reward

lapdgraffitireward

The City of Los Angeles offers a reward for information resulting in the identification, apprehension and conviction or final adjudication of persons committing the act of graffiti vandalism or illegal dumping. You must have been involved in the conviction or final adjudication in order to qualify for this reward. Reward is $1000
The City of Los Angeles Ordinance 165152 states that it is unlawful for the owner or person in control to allow any graffiti to exist on a building or fence that is visible from a street or public alley. Be warned.Report Graffiti by calling 3-1-1.

To report Graffiti – Click Here To obtain an application for a reward Click Here

Posted in Neighborhood Watch


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