Community cameras are definitely a great option. Choosing a right technology, placing the cameras at vantage points, monitoring those (in real time and historical), archiving, retrieval the saved information and policies on retrieval (viewing data) bear down the decision on proceeding with the cameras. All these activities need resources and we can either explore mobilizing our own home owners doing that or hire outside resources ($125, 000 for five years, a costly option). Thus funding also becomes a critical issue for the success of this initiative.
While we resolve the complex decisions around community cameras, I had suggested earlier using “Dummy Cameras”. The design of those dummy cameras can be made to retrofit, if we decide to proceed with permanent community cameras, once we choose a permanent option. Dummy cameras backed up with signs such as “Neighborhood Watch with Smart Phone Alert” can dissuade or discourage many. Thus, reactivating Neighborhood watch and repainting those signs indicating Neighborhood Watch with Smart Phone Alert will provide an interim workable option.
Below, I have reactivated the polls to collect the community opinion. Please forward this to anyone within the community. These polls will end on Dec 26, 2016. Please visit the link on http://wp.me/p7XEWW-pj. I have called out the Top Ten Things to consider while placing the community cameras.
Several factors are important while choosing and placing the cameras. Eg. Fixed focal length lenses are available in various fields of views: wide, medium, and narrow. A lens that provides a “normal” focal length creates a picture that approximates the field of view of the human eye. A wide-angle lens has a short focal length, and a telephoto lens has a long focal length.
Top Ten Things to Consider while Placing Community Cameras
- Location of the cameras – unobstructed view, redundancy (if one fails or obstructed by a vehicle, alternate place for capturing). Away from Vandalism. Mounting Electric poles or homes where cameras can be
- Types of cameras (depth of field) – narrow angle, wide angle regular, pan tilt zoom (PTZ) etc. Wide angle is required at the entrance and exit, where as a narrow angle will be required while focusing on the alley or narrow street. Zooming will help if there is active monitoring. Tilt and pan will serve a similar purpose.
- Frame per second – remember, intruders will be very fast and agile in completing their tasks. Higher number of frames per second helps in gathering precise information
- Night vision enabled cameras are a must obviously since thefts are like to occur while it is dark.
- Cloud storage and safety of the data is critical. While dealing with a cloud solution, you may want to explore if that is from the manufacturer or service provider.
- Power option – solar powered are best preferred.
- Integrating all the cameras into single dashboard is not a difficulty thing but you need folks with sound knowledge in networking.
- Monitoring (do we want real time monitoring?). Who will be responsible for retrieving older information, how long do we save that information etc.)
- Policies and Access to Saved data needs an adequate understanding from the users. This is one key aspect that will cause a lot less heartburn if resolved early on.
- CCTV and cabling
Don’t forget to account for –
- Installation cost (not the purchase cost)
- Maintenance (include services, repair or replacement)
Overall, you need Governance on all these aspects. A group of dedicated folks with experience and or understanding on the different aspects need to handle all issues related with cameras. I know, you might have just thought that I made it so difficult. However, it is easy to install and very difficult to maintain unless you have given an adequate thought to all these aspects.
How about Residential Cameras?
Home perimeter cameras are still a good option. Cheaper, no hassle decision, and monitoring under home owners control (on the Smart Phone). In addition, they provide granular information right until where the incidence is happening (in this case your home). My personal experience has been exceedingly good since the time of placing (Perimeter) Home Cameras. Dummy Cameras on my farm have provided me a lot of safety too.
Use the same 10 principles mentioned above while installing home perimeter cameras.
Multiple layers of security are required to secure our community. Each has its place, advantages and disadvantages. Also, just in case one fails, we have other layers of security. While a decision of installing community cameras is not an easy one, community should explore interim options, such as dummy camera, that are easy to deploy.
Not sure why we wait in closing decisions on issues that matter us universally? Do you think you don’t need this because you will never be affected? Are we waiting for someone to take an initiative? Are we opposed to installing cameras? Simply voice your opinion. It stays anonymous.
Please share your opinion –
To see additional opinion from community members on security related issues or for additional links on below topics, visit documents or links on –
The blog mentioned above offers hyperlinks to topics or documents addressing concerns on –
- GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC VIDEO SURVEILLANCE: A guide to protecting communities and preserving civil liberties
- An example of Camera Policies from University of Wisconsin at Green Bay
- Code of practice: A guide to the 12 principles (This does not apply to US scenario but it offers good understanding of issues to consider)
- Camera Types from Brick House Security (Offers an understanding of different types of cameras)
- Principles of Design for Operational Risk Reduction