Subscriber Discussion

Using Security Camera At Bottom Of Stairs?

Aaron Auseth
May 14, 2013

I have a warehouse that has occasional trespass issues. There are several doors and possible entrances. Only the bottom floor is really secure. The other 4 stories have no product, but the doors and windows are OLD, so old that we have difficulty getting them all to close and lock. Trespassers generally climb a fire escape and enter via the roof and one of the upper 4 floors. I have some cameras on the main floor with a wide angle to review warehouse activities, not for trespass ID. My only real pinch point is the stairway. The upper floors & stairwells are unlit. I'm thinking about putting a camera at the bottom of the stairs, lookup up. I'd add a few lights to get a decent image. Sounds simple, but I've never seen an install like this, so I'm concerned that I've overlooked something.

These guys wear hoodies so I want a low angle on them as they come down the stairs, hopeful I get a good shot of their face.

John Honovich
May 14, 2013

A minidome camera mounted low (2 or 3 feet high) and aimed looking up the staircase should work well, even if they have hoods. Is there any lights there, or at least motion detector triggered lights?

I know there's a natural tendency to mount cameras high but if you do that in this scenario, you are guaranteed to only get the top of their heads (especially with the adversaries walking down). Better to get a really good angle / shot with the low mounted camera and risk having it damaged afterward than the later.

Sean Patton
May 14, 2013

We've mounted them at 5'-6' height at the bottom of stairs, and what really works well (in stairwells in general), is an Axis camera that has Corridor-Format (9x16) capabilities to give you more effective pixels up the stairs, vs a wide shot that wastes a lot of pixels shooting the walls.

Michael Peele
May 14, 2013

We put cameras in stairs, all the time. We place them at 8-9', angled straight/up at the landing above. Gets good recognizable face shots, unless they know about the camera and purposefully hide. And, at 8-9', they are nearly out of reach of accidents and some vandalism.

Paint the walls and ceiling in the stairs a light color to improve lighting - putting in celing lights that shine down won't get good light on the face.

You may consider some CPTED principles as well, like: Try a fire escape that has one of those drop-down ladders, or a one-way turnstile at the end. Try a fence around the property, possibly with a perimeter alarm. Motion lights on the outside of the building. Motion lights on the inside of the building near a window - so people outside can see the lights come on. Trim bushes and trees...

Stairs and camera.

cam*-> ___A______

| ______| ^Subject

|door ______|steps


Ethan Ace
May 14, 2013

Michael wins the Best ASCII Camera Mounting Diagram award.

Brian Rhodes
May 14, 2013
IPVMU Certified

Yeah, Michael. Now do an escalator. :)

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