Top 10 Tips for Combining DVRs and Home Alarm Security Systems

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are slowly becoming more and more popular. After all, if your home alarm security system was triggered and the attempted burglar got away, wouldn’t you want to know exactly who was responsible? Wouldn’t you want to be able to have the best chance of arresting them and getting them off the streets, even if your home was still safe? A lot of people would, and DVRs are the solution to the dilemma of having your house safe, but still feeling that there is somebody out there waiting to break in.   Here are our top 10 expert tips for using Digital Video Recording as a home alarm security system.

1. Leave the overwrite feature on
One of the prime reasons that DVR home alarm security systems don’t record a break-in when it occurs is that the disk was full, the overwrite feature was turned off and nobody reviewed the footage and changed the disk. The easiest way to ensure that your DVR can act as an effective home alarm security system is to simply leave the overwrite feature on.

2. Make sure you understand your system
Your security consultant will be delighted to explain how to use the DVR home alarm security system properly. Take notes while you’re talking to the installer, and don’t forget to ring up later if you think of a new question. Having a home alarm security system you don’t understand could well make it useless.

3. Set up motion detection and have your DVR monitored
A back-to-base home alarm security system monitoring company can track signals from a DVR as well as standard alarm sensors. If you don’t enable this capability, it’s like forcing your alarm system to walk around with one hand tied behind its back.
4.    Think carefully about the cost/quality continuum
While there are some exceptions, generally when you choose a cheaper DVR home alarm security system, you sacrifice a little recording quality. Remember, it is not much good being able to see that there’s a nondescript person, possibly male, breaking into your house. High-res video home alarm security systems are always preferable.

5. Consider getting an audio-equipped model
Did you know that each of our voices is completely unique? Our voice pattern is like our fingerprint – no two peoples are exactly the same. If your concern is making sure that criminals get prosecuted, audio recordings from your home alarm security system could provide you with indisputable evidence of a particular person’s guilt.

6. Be password smart
Use a difficult-to-hack password on your DVR system to prevent remote high tech hacking, or even on-site tampering. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters, and make it longer than 8 characters. Change your password often, just as you would for internet banking, etc.

7. Use a UPS
Uninterrupted power supplies help ensure that power surges and outages don’t allow loss of footage from your DVR. You can get these from computer shops, or ask your home alarm security system installer.

8. Keep it clean
Dirty lenses and bug-covered DVRs don’t tend to create nice clear images, worthy of making an arrest! When you change your smoke alarm battery at the changeover of standard time and daylight savings, make it a habit to clean your DVR home alarm security system lenses as well.

Home alarm security systems linked to a Digital Video Recorder really complete the picture to keep your home safe. Without the ability to find out who’s trying to break into your house, you’re leaving a crim on the streets to either return … or attack someone’s else’s house.

Top Types of CCTV Camera Systems Reviewed

CCTV camera systems are one of the gold standards in both home and business security. If banks, casinos and government institutions still depend on them for crime detection and prevention, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll work for your home as well! There are several different types of CCTV camera systems; within those types you’ll find anywhere from a handful to dozens of different products. Here we look at the broad categories of CCTV camera systems, and how to tell which will suit your home best.

Outdoor Cameras
Outdoor CCTV camera systems are constructed to deal with the environmental pressures of wind, water, dust etc. They have several features that help them survive life in the big bad world!

  • Discreet design
  • Weatherproof
  • Cannot be removed from its mounting or the wall
  • Cables are hidden
  • Tough lens glass

Many outdoor CCTV camera systems have features of additional camera ‘types’ – such as being high resolution, infrared capable, or able to record in colour – we’ll look in detail at these features below.

Indoor cameras
These are usually much less sturdy, but far cheaper than outdoor cameras are. While they obviously aren’t as vandal resistant, be aware that if your CCTV camera system is linked to your back to base alarm monitoring, your security company will be alerted if a camera has been tampered with. This makes indoor cameras the ideal, cost-effective indoor security solution.

Infra-Red Cameras
Some CCTV camera system of this type will pick up the movement of people even in zero-light conditions – although some systems need at least 0.1 lux of light to work. Infra-red cameras have a traditional camera lens, with additional infra-red detectors arranged around the lens in concentric circles.  Many infra-red cameras nowadays are pet-proof, so if you decide you want to install one indoors, there is no need to worry about false alarm calls to your security company.

High Resolution Cameras
In CCTV camera systems, ‘high’ resolution is around 750 pixels horizontally. ‘Ordinary’ resolution is around 350-500, and on micro cameras or pinhole cameras the resolution may be around 200-300; these are ideal for shorter distances and in constantly lit conditions. However, high resolution cameras can pick up motion up to 240 feet away – and if they are infrared equipped, they’ll be able to do this in complete darkness.

Wide angle cameras
You sacrifice some picture accuracy when you go for a wide angle lens, but you cajn gain up to 170 degrees of vision. Wow! If your CCTV camera system is monitored by your alarm security system company, wide angle cameras can be a good choice – your focus will be on early detection and prevention of burglaries, rather than on getting evidence to prosecute somebody after a break-in.

Micro Lens Cameras
Micro lens cameras can be especially useful in indoor situations; a great substitute for ‘nanny cams’, and completely unobtrusive. However, there is a definite trade-off between the capability of these CCTV camera systems and other more visible and conspicuous types. Micro-lens cameras most often come in black and white, usually need at least 1 lux of light to work (about the level of low street lighting). However, they do tend to be very low-cost compared to other CCTV camera systems, also!

You can also get a free consultation at Pacific Security Technology to help you determine the CCTV camera system type that will work best for you. Don’t sleep lightly for another night!

Simplest Ever Ways to Keep ‘Burgs’ at Bay

Unfortunately, the world is full of people that would prefer not to work in order to earn things … full of people that would rather take what someone else has earned than do the hard yards themselves. Some home security measures (alarm monitoring, CCTV cameras, window films etc) take a bit of initial effort to install and then work to protect you for a long time. However, even alarm monitoring can only go so far if you don’t keep home security at the forefront of your mind. Here are 8 everyday ways to keep burgs at bay!

Keep a Secret

Not letting people know what is in, or around, your house that could be stolen is an essential first step in remaining burglary-free. So:

  • Bring your bikes and tools inside
  • Keep your curtains shut
  • Don’t leave the manufacturer’s boxes from new TVs, stereos etc out in the street next to your garbage.

The Illusion of Occupation

Burglars look for times when they are certain people aren’t home to break in – so leave music playing, or a light on a timer that goes on and off, especially if you aren’t home at night when burglars have better cover. Ideally your car will be parked away off the street, so people don’t have that clue as to whether you are home or not to try and test out your alarm monitoring!

Bringing in the Keys

No matter how clever your hiding spot for the spare key is, there’s a good chance that a burglar with a bit of time will find it. Of course, alarm monitoring will ensure that even if they do gain entry, they have little time to do damage … but better safe than sorry!

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

This is actually a research discipline! Its main concepts include:

  • Removing low shrubs in front of windows
  • Ensuring that tree branches don’t allow access to rooves or upper stories
  • Keeping all entryways visible to the outside
  • Using landscaping and design to clearly define your own space
  • Natural access control using thorny shrubs, rose bushes, high spiked gates, etc.

CPTED is an excellent addition to basic safeguards such as alarm monitoring, CCTV, etc.

Vacation Prep

So, you remembered your toothbrush … but did you catch all of the recommended security points for going on a holiday?!

  • Arrange to have your mail and newspapers collected
  • Leave some appliances on timers to give the illusion of occupation
  • Arrange to have your lawns mowed for an extended vacation
  • Have a neighbour move your car periodically, or park their car in your driveway

Preventive Security

In addition to alarm monitoring, Pacific Security Technology has a broad experience base in home security. Get a thorough security evaluation to help you spot areas that need to be fortified against intruders.

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