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

Anixter / Bosch Sells Direct to Amazon on Jan 18, 2017
Anixter regularly says they do not sell direct to end users or that they do not do it anymore. However, over the past year, Anixter has sold Bosch...
How Axis Can Beat Hikvision on Jan 09, 2017
Hikvision has rocked the industry globally, bullying former video surveillance revenue leader Axis even in the Western world. What can Axis...
Hikvision Discontinued 'Migration' Tested on Dec 16, 2016
In 2 weeks, Hikvision's online service web portal will be discontinued. Hikvision has now framed it as a 'migration', though the transition will be...
2017 Video Surveillance Predictions on Dec 15, 2016
2017 should be an active, if not rocky, year for the security industry, according to predictions from IPVM integrators. We surveyed integrators,...
No One Should Ever Use Simplisafe on Dec 12, 2016
Simplisafe, the upstart DIY intrusion alarm system, is increasingly Public Enemy Number One in the alarm business. Recently, Security Sales ran an...
Knightscope - $122,509 Revenue, $2.5 Million Loss Seeks $20 Million Investment on Dec 09, 2016
The robot that ran over a child, Knightscope, wants money and they need it. Investors can invest as little as $1,000 to participate and...
'Solution' Manufacturers Threaten Integrators on Dec 09, 2016
The race to the bottom has driven manufacturers to become 'solution' providers, threatening integrators. Axis shift to 'solution' sales might be...
$38+ Million Funding Powers VMS Challenger IronYun on Nov 09, 2016
VMS and video analytics have received little funding this decade. However, one Taiwan startup, IronYun, has bucked this trend, with a relatively...
Anixter Sales People Selling To End Users on Nov 03, 2016
Anixter's most frequently heard defense of selling to end users is that they used to do it, but not anymore. However, this was undermined by...
The Xiongmai Botnet 'Recall' Will Not Work on Oct 25, 2016
The Xiongmai 'recall' has been the topic of global news, following the unprecedented bot net attacks that use their equipment, among...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Canon 250MP Prototype Targeted At Surveillance on Jan 17, 2017
At one point Axis declared the megapixel race was over, but now parent company Canon is showing an imager that would be a rocket ship in a...
Cut in Half, Everfocus Shifts Strategies on Jan 17, 2017
The race to the bottom impact continues. Now, Everfocus, who used to be one of the larger budget providers, is shifting strategies after years of...
Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...
Amazon Sales of Hikvision China Cameras on Jan 12, 2017
Hikvision has become widely available in the US, including on popular retail outlets like Amazon, with over 2,600 results: 4MP Hikvision outdoor...
Last Day IP Networking Course January 2017 on Jan 12, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...

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