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Security Tips

Security Tips For Your Home

Summer is here and many of us are planning and going on vacations, leaving homes unoccupied and prime targets for burglars. Don’t be a victim – be sure your home is protected whether you are work or away on a trip. Here are a few simple ways to keep your home safe this summer and year-round.

  • Lock Doors & Windows
    It should be a habit by know, but sometimes we may forget. Before leaving your home or going to bed, be sure to lock the doors and windows of your home. Some smart home devices may even allow you to lock your doors remotely in case you forget, or if an authorized guest needs to access your home while you’re away.
  • Use A Home Security System
    A home security system is a great defense against burglaries. The mere presence may make burglars think twice about targeting your home. These days, there are various systems available to suit different homes and budgets. If you need assistance choosing the right system for you, give us a call 888-203-6294.
  • Check The Locks
    Much like every other area of your home, locks need maintenance, too. For the best security, install deadbolt locks on outside doors, and use the appropriate locks on sliding doors. Don’t forget to secure any pet doors before leaving as well.
  • Always Occupied
    Your house should always appear occupied, whether you’re home or not. If you are away, use a timer to turn lights on and off to make it appear that someone is home.
  • Reduce Shrubbery
    Don’t make it easier for burglars to hide on your property. Keep your shrubs and trees trim, especially those near upper levels and windows.
  • Secure Your Garage
    Secure your garage like you do with your home. With the exception of detached garages, the garage has an entrance into your home and is a common target for burglars because it is often overlooked. The door leading to your garage should have a lock (a deadbolt for added security) and it is wise to park inside to make it hard to tell whether you’re home or not.
  • Lights
    Use exterior lights to illuminate your perimeter. Motion sensing lights can be helpful for dark areas of your lawn, too.
  • Mail
    If you’re going n vacation, stop your mail delivery or have someone pick it up. Built up mail is a tell tale sign that no one is home.
  • Outdoor Wires
    Telephone lines and electrical wires should not be easily accessible. If these are exposed and easy to get to, intruders will attempt to disarm systems by cutting the wires.
  • Change The Locks
    If you lose your keys, move to a new home, or have someone move out of your home, change the locks on the doors.

Share your home safety hacks with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You can browse our stock of quality surveillance equipment and security cameras online at SecurityCamExpert.com. Contact us at 888-203-6294 to request a free quote or schedule a site survey.

Avoid These Surveillance Mistakes

Installing a home surveillance system can be rewarding, providing you a sense of security and peace of mind. However, the process of choosing, installing and using the right cameras is a delicate task. It’s important to evaluate your needs, understand what features will help you accomplish your goals, and execute installation and use correctly. Avoid errors in the process by reviewing these common security camera mistakes.

  • Mistake: Forgetting to secure indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras.
    If you fail to secure your surveillance cameras, they can be susceptible to tampering and vandalism. To keep your equipment safe, install your cameras at least 9 feet above the ground. You may also want to consider investing in vandal proof and weather proof housing, especially for outdoor cameras.
  • Mistake: Thinking cameras are able to multitask.
    They cannot. When you are installing your security cameras, you must think of the task you want your camera to perform and where to place it. Prepare a diagram for your home security system so you can plan out camera placement. This will also allow you to figure out how many and what type of cameras you need for optimum security.
  • Mistake: Placing cameras at the highest point.
    While this tactic will give you a larger view, you will not a get a detailed look at any person’s features, making it impossible to identify potential criminals. You may want to try a PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) security camera which allows you to view large areas while enabling zoom for a more detailed look without compromising quality.
  • Mistake: Using cameras without Wide Dynamic Range at doorways and windows.
    Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) plays a big role when part of an image is extremely dark but another part is bright. Since lighting conditions indoors and outdoors can vary drastically, this feature is especially essentials for cameras near windows and doorways.
  • Mistake: Failing to provide enough lighting.
    If you require night time monitoring, you should invest in night vision security cameras. However, if your camera does not have night vision, be sure to provide enough lighting so that your cameras can record clear footage. Remember, putting cameras too close to bright lights will cause the picture to be disrupted. Also, if an outdoor camera is pointing to direct sunlight, this will cause stripes in the images.

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SecurityCamExpert.com offers quality surveillance equipment along with expert installation! Visit us online to browse our stock or call 888-203-6294 to request a FREE quote or schedule a site survey.

Should You Install Indoor Security Cameras?

Security cameras offer home and business owners peace of mind by allowing vigilance over properties. As a homeowner, installing an indoor security camera can help you check in on pets or simply watch over your home while you’re away. Although these benefits are appealing, there are a few things to consider before deciding on installing indoor security cameras.

Worries
It’s true that security cameras are meant to put your worries at ease, but at the same time, they can feed your anxiety. Because you can check in on things at any time, you may find yourself obsessively monitoring your feed.

To minimize this, set up a camera with motion detection so that it may alert you when there is activity. If you have pets, you can filter out their activity so that you are not inundated with false alarms.

Hackers
With internet-connected security cameras, you run the risk of hackers gaining access to your camera. This type of attack is much more common with cameras that have little to no built-in security. Luckily, there are ways to combat these risks. First, you should invest in well-know, higher quality security cameras that have better built-in security. Once you have chosen a camera, change any default logins and use strong, hard-to guess passwords. Also, be sure that your home Wi-Fi network is also highly protected.

Pets
As previously mentioned, indoor security cameras provide an easy way to keep an eye on your pets when you’re away. But when it comes to motion detection, they can easily trigger false alarms. Once you adjust your settings to accommodate pet activity, the security camera can be a great help. Whether you’re missing your pet while you’re away or if you’re working at home, security cameras allow you to see what they are up to.

Valuables
Of course, security cameras are meant to keep you safe from burglars. Their presence alone can help to deter criminal behavior. But in the case that it does not, it can provide useful footage that can be submitted as evidence.

Do you have security cameras installed at your home or business? How have they helped? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of quality IP and HD security cameras for your home or business, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!

Benefits Of Dome Security Cameras

You have likely encountered dome security cameras when out in public, whether you’re shopping at the store or visiting the bank. They are small, dome-shaped objects attached to ceilings or walls. The dome of the camera is usually heavily tinted, and they are often vandal proof, weather proof and have built-in infrared LEDs. If you are considering installing security cameras, here are a few reasons why dome cameras are a smart choice.

Visual Deterrent
Part of the allure of security cameras is that their presence is effective in deterring bad behavior. With dome cameras, they are inconspicuous enough to blend with décor, however, the heavy tint on the dome is relatively hard to miss. Whether or not an incident occurs, you will have video footage to review and potentially use as evidence.

Ambiguity
As mentioned, the heavily tinted dome not only protects the camera, but it makes people question which direction the camera is aimed. People may also be unsure of whether or not the camera moves to monitor a wider area. This ambiguity helps to further deter any criminal acts. Some may opt to install dummy dome cameras as a low-cost alternative. Remember that it is not guaranteed that a dome camera will prevent all criminal activity, thus, it is better to install a real dome security camera.

Variety
Of security cameras, dome cameras are relatively inexpensive and are available in a wide variety of styles. As mentioned, if you are installing your cameras outdoors, you may want to look for weather proof and vandal proof dome cameras. This will ensure that your cameras can withstand harsh environmental elements, as well as physical damage should someone attempt to tamper with your security cameras. And if you need around-the-clock surveillance, infrared dome cameras offer night vision, allowing your camera to record in low to no light situations.

If you need help choosing a dome camera, or other security cameras and equipment, please contact us at 888-203-6294. Browse our stock of quality surveillance systems and more online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Nanny Cams

Nanny cams can give parents peace of mind when they’re away from home. They can be hidden or installed in plain sight to monitor the nanny and children’s activities and behaviors. While some see as it as helpful, others may see it as an invasion of privacy or an uncomfortable situation.

Of course, there are rules and regulations in place to combat these issues. Recording a video of anything that happens in your home is legal, however, you must have a legitimate reason for doing it. Monitoring your baby or caregiver falls into that category, but regardless of whether the surveillance camera is hidden or not, they must be located in public areas of the house such as the kitchen or living room. Video recording in areas where there is an expectation of privacy (such as the bathroom or your bedroom) is not permitted.

When it comes to audio recording, you must inform and get the consent of the person being recorded. Because of this, often times nanny cams do not record audio. If you do record a video with audio that has evidence of abuse, the footage would be inadmissible in court and you could be liable for breaking privacy laws.

With that said, if used appropriately and within legal limitations, nanny cams can be a useful tool for parents. If you are considering installing a nanny cam, here are some of the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Peace Of Mind
    Especially with new parents, it can be hard leaving your children in someone else’s care. With a nanny cam, you can ease your worries by checking in on your children to see that they are safe.
  • Nanny Behavior
    If your children are young, they may not be able to tell you what is happening while you’re away. You can’t always rely on feedback from friends and neighbors who may see your children and nanny together at the park or school. The nanny cam allows you to monitor behavior and address any issues accordingly.
  • Connection
    For parents who feel guilty for going back to work and missing quality time with their children, nanny cams can enable them to feel more of a connection as they can periodically check in and see what their kids are up to.

Cons

  • Trust
    Aside from privacy issues, the person being recorded may feel violated or offended if they find a hidden camera. To combat this issue, it’s best if you are upfront and honest about your plans to install a nanny cam. Most nannies are comfortable working in the presence of a nanny cam.
  • Misuse
    Your nanny cam should be used to deter or prevent potential neglect or abuse, not used to capture it. Communicate your expectations and take action if you feel something isn’t right.
  • Legalities
    As mentioned, you must abide by the law. Look into your state’s laws regarding privacy and recording and be sure that your nanny cams and surveillance system are in compliance.

How have nanny cams helped you as a parent? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Need help choosing the right nanny cam or surveillance system for you? Contact us at 888-203-6294 and we will be happy to discuss your options. You may also browse our stock of IP security cameras and other surveillance equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com.

Shopping For Dash Cams

Security cameras are not only reserved for residential or commercial properties. Aside from protecting your home or business, you can also keep an eye on your car and driving habits.

Dash cams are small security cameras that are installed on your dashboard. Depending on the type, you can monitor the road ahead, inside your car, or both. While these surveillance devices are not mandatory, their use in your own car can be rather beneficial. Some insurance companies offer discounts, you can gather useful video footage in the event of a car accident (whether involved or as a witness), and it can simply give you peace of mind.

If you’re looking to purchase a dash cam for your vehicle, here are a few things to look for:

  • Looping Feature
    The looping feature on a dash cam will enable it to automatically record over old video you no longer need. This will help save space while eliminating the need for you to delete the footage manually.
  • G-Force Sensors
    Dash cams with g-force sensors can detect when you’ve been in an accident. This technology will enable the dash cam to record and save the footage recorded at the time instead of looping over it.
  • Overnight Recording
    We may drive at all hours, so a dash cam that can record during nighttime reliably is crucial. Just because a dash cam has infrared or night vision does not necessarily mean that overnight footage is the best quality. Do research, read reviews, and look into the cameras performance in different environments.
  • Image Quality
    With that said, you also want to ensure that your dash cam records in at least 1080p. For a better, wider view, opt for a dash cam that records in 2560×1080. Be sure to evaluate your needs and ensure that the field of view is sufficient for your standards.
  • Additional Features
    You may want to invest in dash cams that have lane departure sensors to help keep you focused on the road, or motion sensors that can sense and record break-ins or vandalism. You may also want to invest in battery backups to ensure your camera doesn’t run out of power.

What other features or functions do you find helpful when it comes to dash cams? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of quality HD and IP security cameras and surveillance equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To discuss your options, schedule a site survey, or request a FREE quote, please call 888-203-6294.

Stay Safe When Traveling

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and thus, the unofficial start of the summer. Many people like to go on fun summer trips and vacations to relax and unwind from the daily stresses of life. Unfortunately, thieves know summertime is prime vacation time, meaning unoccupied homes ripe for invasion. However, if you prepare and enlist the proper security measures, you can put your mind at ease. Here are some things you should do to ensure your property (and you) are safe and secure.

Before You Leave
Preparations should begin before you even leave for your trip.

  • Inform a trusted neighbor about your travel plans and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Or enlist a loved one to check in on your home periodically while you’re away. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police.
  • Lock all of your windows and doors, including doors leading to the garage and second story windows.
  • Halt mail and newspaper delivery while you’re away. A tell-tale sign that nobody is home is a stack of mail and newspapers, along with garbage cans left at the curb. You can contact your newspaper carrier and the post office to temporarily hold your mail, and ask a trusted neighbor to bring your garbage bins in.
  • Put your yard tools away. A ladder, rakes, and even patio furniture can all be used to gain entry to your home.

At The Airport
Airports are often busy and filled with people rushing to get around. You must keep a close eye on your luggage at all times, even once you board the plane.

  • If you’re traveling alone, try to befriend someone in line. This could be someone who could assist you in keeping an eye on your luggage at the counter or going through security.
  • If you are traveling with your laptop, put it on the x-ray belt last. That way, it will come out after your carryon luggage and hopefully around the time you are cleared (you don’t want your laptop out in the open unattended for too long).
  • Once you board, you can either put your luggage under the seat in front of you, or in the overhead bin across the aisle from you. Both of these places are within your view so you can make sure that nobody is opening your luggage.

While On Vacation
Once you’ve arrived at your destination safely, don’t put your guards down just yet.

  • Refrain from sharing too much information on social media. Even if you have the strictest security settings on your social networks, hold off on posting photos and “checking in” just in case.
  • Share your itinerary with friends and family at home. In case something happens, this information can come in handy. Let them know your plans as well as departure and arrival routes and times.
  • Keep cash and credit cards in separate places. Never carry your credit cards, cash, and passport at the same time – keeping these things apart may help you in case of pickpocketers. Keep some cash in your wallet and stash the rest in a pocket or money pouch. Utilize the safe in your hotel room (if available) and leave the majority of your cash there – only bring what you need for the day.
  • Make copies of your passport before you leave. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or family member at home and take the other copy with you. When you’re out and about on vacation, take the copy with you and leave the original in a hotel safe until you travel again.

When it comes to traveling, you can never be too careful. Want to share your own safety tips with your traveling peers? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Secure your home and properties with quality CCTV surveillance systems and security equipment from SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our stock online or call 888-203-6294 to discuss your options.

Troubleshooting Infrared Security Cameras

If you’re looking for surveillance around-the-clock, infrared night vision cameras are a smart choice. These security cameras enable you to monitor your business or property overnight, when light sources are minimal. Night vision cameras have infrared (IR) LEDs which emit their own source of light, but of course, nothing is perfect. When using infrared cameras, you may come across some of these common IR issues.

Foam Ring
Keep in mind that not every camera will have one, but most of them do. The foam ring helps to eliminate the reflection of the IR light on the glass. When the IR light reflects off the glass and back into the lens, it will wash out your footage, essentially rendering your camera useless. If your camera seems to be missing a foam ring, first make sure that your camera should in fact have one. If so, to eliminate the issue, replace the foam ring.

While the aforementioned situation is rather unlikely, having an improperly placed foam ring is far more common. If the foam ring is not flush with the IR board, or the base of the lens, it will produce a similar effect as a missing foam ring. To correct this, you will need to open your camera and reposition the foam ring accordingly.

Glass
Most security cameras come with a thin plastic protective film over the glass on the camera. It is in place to protect the camera, however, it should not be left on when the camera is in use. Once your camera is installed and you are satisfied with the placement and viewing angle, remember to remove and discard the film covering.

Another common issue with the glass is obstructions. Dirt, dust, and fingerprints on the glass can create infrared glare which interferes with the quality of your footage. Be sure to clean the glass routinely to ensure that your cameras are obstruction-free.

Infrared Glare
As mentioned, debris on the camera or glass reflection can cause IR glare, but there are other common causes. With outdoor cameras, you want to avoid aiming your camera at reflective services (ex. bodies of water, large lightly colored surfaces). For indoor cameras, be wary of the items or furniture around your camera as they may be close enough to reflect the IR LEDs. Despite all this, the most common cause of IR glare is improper installation. Cameras should be carefully mounted and tested in both day and low light conditions before the job is completed.

Infrared Reflection
Here are some of the common things that cause IR reflection:

  • Your camera is indoors looking through a window. Because the IR will bounce off the window, IR cameras should not be mounted behind any glass.
  • For cameras with a glass dome cover, be sure that all the IR LEDs are looking through the glass dome. If your camera is set improperly inside the glass cover, the IR light will bounce inside the camera and hit the image sensor.
  • Remember to remove the plastic cover on the outside of the glass dome
    Clean the glass dome with a damp microfiber cloth or windshield cleaner only.
  • If your camera is mounted too close to a wall, ceiling, or between two walls, the IR LEDs will be obstructed and will result in IR reflection.

Infrared Obstruction
As mentioned, when an object is too close to your IR camera, IR light will cause overexposure. In turn, to compensate, your camera will automatically dim the picture, reducing the IR intensity of your camera. Again, proper placement, installation, and testing will minimize these issues.

Share your own troubleshooting tips with us and your peers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Find a great selection of cost-effective infrared night vision cameras, CCTV surveillance packages and much more at SecurityCamExpert.com. Call 888-203-6294 to learn more about our products and services or to request a free quote!

Secure Your Home

When was the last time you evaluated your home security? With summer, and likely a vacation or two, around the corner, now is a great to time reassess your home security measures and upgrade or improve them as needed.

Doors
A surprising amount of burglars enter homes through the front door, so be sure that all of your doors (especially the front door) are strong and secure. Inspect the door frame, ensure the hinges are protected, and if your door has a mail slot, make sure someone can’t reach through and unlock the door.

To further safeguard your doors and entryways, you can install a deadbolt and/or add a strike plate. You can even upgrade to smart locks or install a doorbell camera. And if you have any sliding glass doors, remember to reinforce them by using a window bar or dowel in the track. Or you can invest in a door sensor or glass break sensor, which will alert you if the door is opened or tampered with.

Windows
Another common entry point for burglars is windows. And unfortunately, window latches and locks can be flimsy and rather ineffective. To better secure your windows, install improved locks or key-operated levers, or implement window bars. You can even reinforce the glass with window security film and install window or glass break sensors. In addition, you can plant prickly bushes under first-floor windows, but be sure to keep them trimmed.

Lighting & Landscape
Intruders want to be as inconspicuous as possible, so why not shine a light on them? Outdoor lighting can help to keep burglars at bay. Light up your yard (front and back) and pathways and place lights near the garage or other outdoor structures. Motion-activated lighting, solar-powered lights and timers can be helpful as well.

While the lights help to prevent burglars from hiding in the darkness, maintaining your landscape plays an important role, too. Be sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed down to eliminate any hiding spots. If there are trees near windows, remove them or add extra security to those windows. And remember to put away stools, ladders, and other tools and lock your gates and sheds.

Garage
An attached garage offers another way to access your house. But even if it is detached, burglars know there’s likely good stuff stored in there. You should always lock all doors to the garage, both interior and exterior. Consider keeping your garage door opener in the house. That way, a burglar can’t steal it from your car. You may even consider upgrading to a smart garage door opener, which alerts you when the door is opened or closed and enables you to control it remotely.

Wi-Fi Network
Securing your home wireless network is also an important part of your overall home security. To keep hackers off your home network, be sure to secure your wireless router and enable WPA (Wi-Fi protected Access) or WPA2 encryption. You should also rename and hide your network, use a firewall, install antivirus and anti-malware protection, and always create strong passwords and change them periodically.

Security System
These days, you can find a home security system that suits your needs and budget. Depending on your unique situation, you may consider DIY versus professional installation, along with the upfront and monthly costs, and the different features offered.

If they are not part of your security system, you may want to install security cameras outdoors, indoors, or both. Some features to look for include remote access, motion detection, night vision, and Wi-Fi capability. If you need assistance, you can visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call us at 888-203-6294.

Your security is our priority. Contact us to learn more about our products and installation services, site surveys, or to request a FREE quote! You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Upgrading Security Camera Systems

It’s about time to upgrade your analog cameras to HD-CVI or IP security cameras. By upgrading, you are equipping your home or business with more advanced surveillance solutions. These advanced cameras deliver top quality, with 720p or 1.3 Megapixel and up to 4K resolution. Worried about the compatibility with your current system and the new cameras? Luckily, there are products out there to aid in a smooth transition. And if you have any questions, you can always call SecurityCamExpert.com at 888-203-6294.

Here are some tips to help you ease into a better quality surveillance camera system.

Storage
If you are only upgrading a few cameras, hybrid and tribrid DVRs allow you to use new HD cameras with your existing equipment. However, higher resolution cameras will use more disk space.

If you want to maximize your storage space, you may want to consider is decreasing the frames per second at which you are currently recording. For example, if you are recording at 30 frames per second, you may scale that back to 15 frames per second. You will save storage space while still producing quality images.

In addition, if you are currently recording around the clock, you may want to switch it to motion-only. This setting allows your camera to remain in standby mode and only record when motion is detected.

Wireless Bridge
A wireless bridge is used when you want to install a camera in an area where it is impossible to run cables. It can be set up as a transmitter or a receiver. Each camera needs one transmitter, but the receiver can receive signals from multiple transmitters.

But remember, this will only work with network or IP cameras. And for most cameras, you will still need a power source.

Baluns
You may be hesitant to upgrade because wiring your system can be a costly hassle, however, baluns could be the easy and convenient answer.

Your existing cables depend on the type of security camera system you have. Most IP camera systems use CAT5 or CAT6, while traditional analog systems and HD-CVI systems run on cables more commonly known as Siamese cable (which is coaxial cable along with and 18/2 power wire).

A balun is a type of converter that you put on each end of your existing cable. Depending on the type, it will either allow you to convert CAT5 to an analog signal or use your analog cables with IP cameras.

DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name Service)
For remote access and viewing of your surveillance footage, you need to connect your system to your home or business IP address. Unfortunately, these are usually provided by your internet service provider (ISP) and they will often change this IP address, making it difficult for you to connect to your system.

The DDNS is a personal domain name (ex. “YourLastName.DDNS-service.com”) which will always resolve back to your home IP address regardless of what the IP address is, even after it has changed. Thankfully, a DDNS configuration is built-in most new security recorders, so when your home IP address changes it will contact the DDNS service and update it so that your domain name will always resolve back to your home or business.

If you need helping choosing a new security camera system for your home or business, please feel free to contact us! You can browse our stock online or give us a call to speak with one of our representatives directly. You may also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Your security is our priority and we are always happy to help.

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