Considerations for Neighborhood Surveillance Systems

Author: 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

ADT Wins Fire Death Suit But Faces Appeal on Dec 05, 2018
ADT/Protection 1 has won a wrongful death court case in which it was sued by the estate of a deceased customer. However, the attorney for the...
SS&Si Claims To Be "The New Face of Security Distribution" on Dec 03, 2018
Can 27-year-old Jake Voll disrupt the security distribution giants? He has positioned his company SS&Si as the 'NEW FACE' of...
Haven Targets School Security with Lockdown Lineup on Nov 08, 2018
Haven, a US startup founded in 2014 as a residential-focused company, has now raised funding and is offering a lineup of commercial grade locks for...
Wyze Explosive Growth Disrupting Consumer IP Camera Market on Oct 30, 2018
Wyze, a company founded only in 2017, is poised to disrupt the consumer IP camera market by combining American marketing and Chinese manufacturing...
Directory of Access Control and Intrusion Startups on Oct 30, 2018
This directory catalogs access control and intrusion detection startups IPVM has found noteworthy. The directory is provided for your review to...
ADI's Financials Revealed + W-Box Growth Priority on Oct 15, 2018
  ADI is one of the most powerful distributors in the security industry but how big are they? How much profit do they make? How much do they sell...
ASIS GSX 2018 Mixed Manufacturer Reviews With Declining Overall Attendance on Oct 02, 2018
ASIS GSX 2018 show drew 9% fewer total registrants, however, it gained 15% more paid registrations, according to ASIS. In this note, we look...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference 2018 Review - ADT, Resideo, Alarm.com, Arlo, Eagle Eye, ACRE, More on Dec 14, 2018
Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference is an event matching industry executives with financiers that frequently leads to future funding...
Cisco Meraki New Cameras and AI Analytics on Dec 14, 2018
Meraki has released their second generation of video surveillance with 3 new cameras, AI-based video analytics, and 2 cloud-based storage...
Foolish Strategy: OEMing Facial Recognition on Dec 13, 2018
Almost as 'hot' as face recognition marketing right now is OEMing facial recognition. Last year, they were a who's who of company's with...
DVR Examiner - Video Recovery from Recorder Hard Drives on Dec 13, 2018
Bypassing passwords and long download times on-site, DVR Examiner collects and organizes video evidence directly from a hard drive extracted from...
2019 Access Control Book Released on Dec 12, 2018
This is the best, most comprehensive access control book in the world, based on our unprecedented research and testing has been significantly...
Huawei Hisilicon Quietly Powering Tens of Millions of Western IoT Devices on Dec 12, 2018
Huawei Hisilicon chips are powering, at least, tens of millions of Western IoT devices, such as IP cameras and surveillance recorders, a fact that...
FLIR Launches Body Cameras Unified With VMS (TruWitness) on Dec 11, 2018
While FLIR is best known for their thermal cameras, now they have expanded into body cameras, launching TruWITNESS, a public safety focused body...
Startup Sunflower Labs' Autonomous Drone Security System on Dec 11, 2018
Startup Sunflower Labs is claiming a unique design on a home security system, combining autonomous drones and 'Sunflower' sensors. Imagine an...
The 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 10, 2018
The 300 page, 2019 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covers the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...
Multi-Factor Access Control Authentication Guide on Dec 10, 2018
Can a stranger use your credentials? One of the oldest problems facing access control is making credentials as easy to use as keys, but restricting...

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