Member Discussion

Covert Pole Cameras For Law Enforcement

I have a request to create a pole camera law enforcement covert use. I have looked at several designs online involving utility boxes and I believe this has become too obvious to criminals. Does anyone have any sugestions or can you post any ideas that may help.

Kevin, I'll start off the conversation. I did 10 minutes of searching and saw a covert birdhouse, covert rock, covert mailbox and covert gardenhouse. None of them strike me as terribly better than a covert utility box.

I will send this discussion out and see what better ideas are out there. Thanks for asking about this.

Why do you think using utility boxes has become obvious?

I think there are bad ways of implementing the idea. For example, I totally believe a crook can sniff out a new shiny plastic nema box on an old pole.

In my area, the police have used rusty old metal boxes / meter heads the power utility have taken off poles and out of service. They come with ID stickers, 'high voltage' warning plates, and look like the have been there for years:

The upside to using old meter boxes is that they are typically mounted low enough to be read by a person, which also benefits camera positioning.

I'm not arguing your point at all, I'm just curious as to why you think it has become an easy spot for bad guys.

That's clever.

For member reference, this is the typical covert camera electrical box sold online:

That is my point we have used these for years also, but if you search online that is exactly what shows up, I am trying to think outside the box so to speak. Has anyone used a Lightarm or a cable box any ideas, keep in mind this requires a wireless radio also. Thanks for the suggestions.


So Brian's suggestion is different from what typically is shown on a search online. You have used real 'old meter boxes' for years or you have used covert kits that look like utility boxes for years?

Maybe to be alternating between covert rustic meter camera and with this (dummy) camera which is 'obvious to criminals', and will

driving crime right where we need to see it, in front of real camera 'oblivious to criminals'. (I am speaking outside of box here.)

This isn't a pole mount enclosure, but I got a kick out of it:

Traffic Barrel Camera Enclosure

Never underestimate the stupidity of criminals. I'm pretty sure you could put up a bright pink camera with a klaxon that shoots laserbeams out of it and they would still sling dope right in front if it.

In my experience, career criminals have a fairly keen eye for spotting security and surveillance measures and attempting to avoid them (e.g., with cameras, looking down and away from them, covering up their face / head, etc.). I don't think you want to assume your adversary is an idiot.

When I worked for an integrator, we were installing pole cameras in Chicago. They had flashing lights, and the police logo on the side. We caught our first drug dealer within moments of powering it on one of the cameras. He was selling drugs about 75 feet away from the camera. Crazy thing is, the installation wasn't even complete yet. We were still in the bucket truck, working on the camera, with 3 uniformed officers hanging out as an escort.

I did a large installation for a city in Florida. I brought a potential customer to tour the installation, escorted by the Deputy who managed the video. We were driving through the area to check out the installation in a slick top "detective's car" - an unmarked Crown Vic. Both the officers in the front in plain clothes, me in the back. We pulled up to one intersection to find several guys literally congregating around the big concrete pole with the camera hanging on it. They were leaning on the camera. We stopped at the stop sign, just chatting about the system. One of the guys came strolling up to the car, and the officer in the passenger seat rolled down his window. "You boys looking to party?" Seriously. He asked two cops, in a cop car, if they were looking to party, while he was hanging out by a camera.