Considerations for Neighborhood Surveillance Systems

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 30, 2012

With many US cities reducing police forces, neighborhoods are left to fill in the gaps. As surveillance technology advances, and with increased pressures, more neighborhoods are looking at deploying their own surveillance systems. However, this can be especially difficult due to unexpected problems and limited funding. In this note, we review the most common places cameras are deployed, the most significant problems these systems face and the most typical means to get funding for these systems.

Where to Deploy Cameras

Residential surveillance cameras are often deployed in the following locations / spots:

  • Communal areas, like pools, clubhouses, and playgrounds
  • Entrances and Exits, with an emphasis on recording legible license plate images
  • Main street intersections
  • Community utility areas: water treatment, drinking water storage tanks

In general, cameras are most likely to be hung in areas that have the most communal use. Many residential associations jointly fund and maintain amenities like pools, gyms, parks, and gardens. Because these areas attract vandalism and misuse, communities often justify surveillance cameras in these areas for vigilant monitoring. The image below depicts a camera view of a neighboorhood association's private pool:

pool

Main neighborhood entrance roads or major intersections are common deployment areas, with an emphasis on recording / capturing the license plate of vehicles entering and tracking where vehicles go. For gated communities, surveillance cameras are often integrated into gate controllers or intercom systems for the purpose of visually logging entry. The image below depicts a typical example of how video is deployed at main road entry gates:

Problems and Constraints

Often, neighborhoods face common problems when deploying and operating cameras, including the following:

Networking: Only the smallest fraction of neighborhoods are developed with video networks in mind. Prewired systems are practically nonexistent. Often times, the customer expects that 'wi-fi' cameras are the easy solution, and they are surprised to learn the costs involved of developing any sort of infrastructure. Due to utility easements and land ownership, practical methods of running cabling like trenching and stringing cable between poles can be challenging obstacles to address.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

When designing the network behind cameras, working with the customer to clearly establish the need for quality network utility is critical. Many end users assume that a scaled expansion of cheap residential routers is all that is required. While many end users are surprised at 'unexpected' cost of cabling or wireless equipment, a common strategy of integrators is to work with 3rd party vendors or volunteers from the neighborhood to reduce cost. Many end users will be more willing to 'do it right' if they are also able to mitigate the cost by furnishing their own equipment or installation labor.

Camera Vandalism/Tampering: Another 'universal' attribute of neighborhood surveillance equipment is how frequently they are targets of malicious activity. While these activities are seldom criminal, neighborhoods are filled with children and teenagers that serve as 'enemies within'. Bouncing balls, thrown rocks, and spray paint all are common sources of tampering. In addition, if a camera presents an obvious target it will attract unwelcome attention. As a result, dome cameras are less vulnerable to tampering than 'tradition' box or bullet cameras.

Landscaping: Many end users underestimate the role changing landscaping can play in video surveillance. For example, a neighborhood tree planting project can significantly affect the usability of an installed system. Before submitting a proposal, a 'complete' site survey that addresses camera FoV changes over seasons should be performed. In addition, coordianting new neighborhood planting work is imperative to ensure video surveillance functionality is not inadvertently reduced. The image below depicts the unanticipated impact of tree planting on neighborhood surveillance:

Privacy Concerns: Aside from simple design problems, among the critical "people factor" issues to answer upfront are:

  • Who will be trained on system operation?
  • Who is permitted access to video?
  • How long is recorded video retained?
  • What is the policy for sharing video with Police/Private Parties?
  • Do proposed Camera Views encroach on private properties?

No standard answers exist for these questions, but they should be addressed up front so the neighborhood customer has time to administratively coordinate new procedures and identify volunteers. Having the answers documented and camera views defined can go a long way in mitigating future legal issues.

Funding

Money is generally the single biggest constraint for neighborhood surveillance systems. Even when neighborhood members agree on the value of the system, sharing the cost of implementation is a sticky issue. The lead time in selling this type of system can span years and the 'point of contact' appointed to procure the system can change several times. Everyone in the sales cycle should anticipate a phased purchase and a committment of several years.

A common strategy of neighborhood associations to fund video surveillance projects are to amend 'membership dues' to include a monthly fee to support installation and maintenance projects. The installer may find opportunity to position 'lease agreements' as a purchase option to neighborhood customers.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Embattled $400 Million China Funded Philippines Surveillance System Proceeds on Jun 13, 2019
An embattled 12,000 camera surveillance system project that will cost ~$400 million will proceed.  The project contract was awarded, had its...
Axis Will Not Block Resellers on Jun 10, 2019
While Axis generally has strong favorability amongst integrators, the biggest complaint is their channel model, which results in smaller integrator...
Directory of 30+ VSaaS / Cloud Video Surveillance Providers on Jun 07, 2019
This directory provides a list of VSaaS / cloud video surveillance providers to help you see and research what options are available. 2019 State...
China / US Trade War Impact Splits Industry on Jun 04, 2019
As the trade war continues to heat up, 170+ integrators told us "What impact will the US / PRC China conflict have on the industry?" Respondents...
Verkada Favorability Results 2019 on May 29, 2019
Verkada has taken the industry by storm with the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever and a half billion dollar valuation....
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
ADT's Top Dealer "The Defenders" Sued 20+ Times on May 07, 2019
ADT's largest authorized dealer, The Defenders, has been sued more than 20 times since 2012, IPVM has verified through analyzing legal...
Aegis AI Gun Detection Video Analytics Startup on May 07, 2019
Gun detection analytic startups are increasing as the promise of AI and the threats of active shooters grow.  One company, Aegis AI, is being led...
Restaurant Security Manager Interview on May 06, 2019
Wright’s Gourmet House in Tampa, Florida has been around for over 50 years. During most of that time, there were no security measures in place. Now...
Bastille Cell Phone Tracking Profile on Apr 30, 2019
Is tracking someone by their cellphone the next generation of surveillance? Bastille is a US startup which tracks people by their cellphone or...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Sighthound Transforms Into Enterprise AI Provider on Jun 14, 2019
Sighthound is now rapidly expanding its R&D team, building an enterprise AI service. This may come as a surprise given their origins 6 years...
ADT Eliminating Acquired Brands, Unifying Under 'Commercial' Brand on Jun 14, 2019
ADT is eliminating the brands of the many integrators it has acquired over the past few years, including Red Hawk, Aronson Security Group (ASG),...
NSA Director Keynoting Dahua and Hikvision Sponsored Cybersecurity Conference on Jun 13, 2019
The technical director for the NSA’s Cybersecurity Threat Operations Center will be keynoting a physical security cybersecurity conference that is...
Farpointe Data Conekt Mobile Access Reader Tested on Jun 13, 2019
California based Farpointe Data has been a significant OEM supplier of conventional access readers for years to companies including DMP, RS2, DSX,...
Embattled $400 Million China Funded Philippines Surveillance System Proceeds on Jun 13, 2019
An embattled 12,000 camera surveillance system project that will cost ~$400 million will proceed.  The project contract was awarded, had its...
False Verkada 'Unrivaled' Low Light Performance Claim Removed on Jun 12, 2019
Verkada falsely claimed that it delivered 'UNRIVALED LOW LIGHT PERFORMANCE' until IPVM questioned. In fact, Verkada's low light performance is...
Manufacturer Favorability Guide 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
The 259 page PDF guide may be downloaded inside by all IPVM members. It includes our manufacturer favorability rankings and individual...
Camera Course Summer 2019 - Register Now on Jun 12, 2019
Register for the Summer 2019 Camera Course.  This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology...
Favorite Wireless Manufacturers 2019 on Jun 12, 2019
Many wireless options exist for video surveillance but how are integrator's overall favorites? 170 integrators answered the question: What is...
Carnegie Mellon AI Startup Zensors Profile on Jun 11, 2019
Zensors is a startup formed by Carnegie Mellon graduates from a Carnegie Mellon research project, offering customized models per camera that they...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact