Friday, December 17, 2010

Things to Consider Before Buying an IP Camera

IP Security CameraSecurity systems are great and one of the most popular types of cameras to get is an IP camera. The main market for small security camera systems is typically small businesses and homes. The problem is that many people just jump right into getting a security camera system or an IP camera and do not fully consider all the options. Before you run off and buy an IP camera for your small business or home, there are a few things you need to consider.

Ask yourself if you want a complete picture or more detail. The purpose of why you want a surveillance system will determine what field of view you need. With overview images, you will have a view of a complete area such as an office, a parking lot or a driveway. You will also be able to monitor the general activities in the specific area. A highly detailed image is valuable where you have the need to identify specific details of any products, objects or people.

Another thing to consider is what area are you going to be monitoring and how wide is that area. When you take the specific area into consideration, try and determine the strategic points of your area and how far away they are from each other. Knowing this will determine what type of IP camera you need and just exactly how many you should get.

Another question to ask is when will you need your camera?Will you need to monitor only in the day time? Only at night time? Or in both day and night? Day and night IP cameras are intended for indoor and outdoor use in which there are poor lighting conditions. One thing to note is that when lighting levels drop to a certain point, the IP camera will automatically switch to night recording, using infrared technology to keep quality in black and white mode.

Ask yourself what type of housing your camera will need. You need to know that in areas of humidity, dust, snow, rain, high winds and other elements, adequate housing is necessary. You need to ensure that your device is protected from all elements, even from human vandalism.

Do you need the installation of your camera to be discreet? Do you want to install a camera and not let anyone else know that it is there? This is another important factor to take into consideration. It also helps in determining the type of camera, the camera mounts and the housing you will need.

Quality of image is important to everybody, but what you need to do is determine how important it is to you. The best way to find the best camera for you is to look at various screenshots and images from different IP cameras and determine which one looks good enough for you. IP cameras with progressive scan technology are ideal for people who plan on recording moving objects.

How about audio? Do you want to just see your camera feed or do you want to hear what is going on as well? If you do want audio, then you need to determine whether or not you want one way or two way audio. A majority of IP cameras out there that have audio functionality have a built-in microphone as well as input for connecting additional microphones and speakers.

So there you have it, pretty much everything you need to know about picking the right IP security camera for your small business or home. If you take all of these things into consideration, then you will have no problem getting the absolute best camera to suit your needs.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why We Need Security Cameras

The use and need of security cameras in today's world is rapidly increasing each and every day. It is sad that with what we like to think is a civilized race, we may become a victim of a crime at any moment. With the rough economic times, many people turn to crime as a means of surviving which is where why we need security cameras comes into play.

Security camera systems are being introduced for the safety and security of everyone, including you and your family. The basic security system means you don't leave any of your doors or windows unlocked or open. What many people don't seem to understand is that being a victim of a crime costs you a lot of money. More money, say, then it would take to install a security camera system.

A proper security system can assist you in more than one way. Not only can it alert you, your neighbors or local police officers of a crime but it can even catch the person doing it or even deter them from every doing it in the first place. A home that is protected by a security system is far less appealing to a criminal.

Being alert at your home or office is also helpful and a security system allows you to know what is going on at all times. This allows you to avoid unwanted accidents as well as burglaries and can also end up saving you and your family a lot of trouble and money.

Many security systems are very user friendly. You need to make sure you consider the features of your security system as well as the equipment and accessories that come along with it. A back-up power supply is also very helpful. A burglar will most likely cut the power to your house first so making sure your security system stays running with the power cut is extremely important.

Security systems are some of the best weapons a home owner has against a burglary or a business owner has against theft. So make sure that if you feel unsafe at your home or office that you get a proper security system as soon as possible.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Security Camera Tips

CCTV Camera GirlGet a good face shot: Use Higher quality cameras at entry areas

Doors, gates and other entry areas need a good quality, high resolution camera to record a good 'face shot.' The video from this camera should be considered a highly valuable since it can be used as evidence in identifying a person in a court of law. This is a classic use for Wide Dynamic technology that is designed to capture clear, easy-to-view images under poor or unpredictable lighting conditions. Such as occur near doors where the lighting can suddenly change and become brighter or darker.

More Info: CCTV Security Camera Recommendations

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Security Cameras in Schools

School safety has unfortunately become a bigger and bigger concern in recent times. Threats that were never a problem ten years ago now plague students with fears and worries that make it almost impossible to study. Cyber bullying, hazing, and gang violence are more prevalent today than they have ever been and parents are starting to fear for their students to go to school and the students are becoming so stressed that they can't get their work done. More and more schools today are installing security cameras in their hallways and parking lots to reduce the violence and persecution between students, but does it really make a difference?

Security camera installation in schools seems to be something that will obviously help protect students in a learning environment, but as much as it will help some parents and students are up in arms about the invasion of privacy that security cameras represent. In a world where no touch under any circumstances laws are being passed concerning students and teachers the idea of watching students constantly may irk some people. The reality is the news networks are full of stories about students being hurt or even killed in their school environment. The presence of security cameras can not only protect students but it can help deter the bad behavior in the first place.

Take Fontainebleu High School in St. Tammany Parish School District. Recently one student approached another student brandishing a curling iron. Panic ensued. Some students jumped in to break up the fight while others threw up their fists in encouragement for the combatants. The crowd was enormous and teachers had to fight the tide to get to the fighting students. With these kinds of reactions to fights making it nearly impossible to see who is fighting security cameras would be invaluable. Luckily for Fontainebleu High School the school security cameras had recently been installed and the offenders were picked out among the crowd. Even better the students who tried to help were praised and the ones who egged the fight on were scolded. "Someone told me that we have more cameras in our high schools than the city of New Orleans has fighting crime on the streets, and ours work," Superintendent Gayle Sloan told the public.

Security cameras in schools can be expensive, anywhere from $500,00 for closed circuit television systems to millions for digital feed systems that broadcasts in real time to a computer network. In the past schools have been able to raise the money without a problem because to parents their childs safety is priceless.

A few things to consider when installing cameras are not to place them directly in classrooms so that they do not interrupt the teachers with unnecessary pressure. Hallways, entrance ways, parking lots, and stair wells are the best places for camera placement. Another thing to consider is that sound should probably not be used. Recording the conversations of students takes the privacy issue to a new level and it is best to avoid it. With careful planning security cameras in schools can greatly improve the lives of school age children that feel threatened at school. offers a full range of iPad Rentals. Get yours today by visiting or by calling 800-736-8772.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Security Cameras Aid Police in Drowning Investigation

Security Cameras Aid Police in Drowning Investigation Last Saturday, Veronica and Angelina Andreottola were found floating in their backyard swimming pool. According to the Boston Herald, the girls' mother was heard screaming, as she pulled them from the pool. Neighbors, including an off-duty police officer, attempted to perform CPR, but unfortunately, it was too late. Both of the girls died.

The swimming pool was said to be covered with an electric-powered retractable cover, but how the girls managed to pull the cover back, or if they did, hasn't been determined.

According to a spokeswoman for the local district attorney's office, state police will be viewing footage from the home's residential security cameras. They are hoping it will help them find out exactly how the two little girls ended up in the pool.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Security Camera Terminology Part 2

Security Camera Terminology Part 2

Last week, we took a look at some Security Camera Terminology. Knowing what some of these terms mean can help anyone who is looking to buy a surveillance system for their home or business find exactly what they're looking for. Unfortunately, the language of security cameras goes beyond those twenty words. Since so many people found our first list of security camera terms very helpful, we've decided to follow up with a second list of even more words and definitions.

1. AC Adaptor - The power supply to your camera. The AC adaptor converts AC power to DC power and should come along with your camera.

2. Alarm Input - Some security cameras will begin recording when activated by a sensor or alarm.

3. Angle of View - The angle of view is the range in degrees that you can focus a security camera without causing the image to become distorted.

4. Aperture - The opening of the lens that controls the amount of of light that goes into the camera is called the aperture.

5. Armor Dome Camera - An armor dome camera has a high-impact dome casing around it, in an effort to prevent vandalism. The dome is made of reinforced polycarbonate.

6. Backlight Compensation - BLC is the ability of the camera to compensate when the background light of the subject being filmed is obscured by blooming or silhouetting.

7. CCD - CCD stands for Charge-Coupled Device. Every camera either has a CCD or CMOS chip. CCD chips produce a higher quality image.

8. Compression - This is when you take an incoming signal or image and restructure the data so that it uses less resources for transmission and storage.

9. Duplex - A duplex allows you to transfer data in and out of the recorder at the same time. For example, a duplex DVR can capture and record images while displaying another image.

10. Focal Length - If you want to know the strength of your lens, check the focal length. A longer focal length provides a narrower angle of view, a shorter focal length means a wider angle of view.

11. Iris - The iris is located on the camera lens and it controls how much light is let into the camera.

12. Low Light - This refers to normal darkness or dim lighting.

13. Lux - Lux is the amount of light a camera needs to capture a good image. For example, if you're using an infrared camera, you have a very low lux.

14. Micro Camera - This is a very small camera that is often used as a hidden camera when you don't want people to know they are being filmed.

15. Motion Detection - Some cameras only begin recording when an image moves or changes and sets them off. This can save hard drive space and is great in areas where there is not a lot of traffic and you are only looking for suspicious movement.

16. Mounting Bracket - There are many different types of mounting brackets. They are used to install cameras on the wall or ceiling.

17. Pin-Hole Camera - As you can imagine, a pin-hole camera has a very small lens with a very small hole. They require more lighting than a normal camera but are great for covert operations.

18. POE - POE stands for power over ethernet. This is an adaptor that allows you to transmit power to a security camera through an ethernet cable.

19. Real-Time Recording - 30 frames per second is the standard for real-time recording. This means the image looks just like real-time with no hesitation or jerkiness in the video.

20. Video Gain - This is also called amplification and basically means an increase in video signal power by an amplifier.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Security Camera Terminology

Security Camera Technology
When you're purchasing a security camera, it's hard to know exactly what you're looking for. There are so many different terms association with surveillance systems that the average person probably doesn't know what they mean. That can making purchasing a camera or surveillance system a lot harder than it should be. In the event that you are purchasing a camera and need a little help with the language, here is a quick guide to 20 security camera terminology and definitions.

1. AES - AES stands for Auto Electronic Shutter. This is the ability of the camera to compensate for changes in light without using auto iris lenses.

2. Analog - In electronics, there are two different ways to represent data: Analog and Digital. Analog represents data by measuring a continuous physical variable as a voltage of pressure.

3. Bullet Camera - A bullet camera is a camera that is essentially shaped like a bullet, and often a less expensive choice when choosing a security camera.

4. CAT5 - Cat5 stands for Category 5 cable, which is often used in networking applications.

5. CCTV - You may see CCTV often when looking for cameras; this stands for closed-circuit television.

6. Dome Camera - Like its name says, a dome camera has a dome-like shape and is often used indoors. Features often include infrared lighting and they are often tamper-proof.

7. Field of View - This is basically what is visible to the lens of your camera and that will vary based on the distance of the camera from its subject or what type of lens is being used.

8. Housing - A camera's housing is the container or cover surrounding it to protect it from elements such as weather.

9. Infrared Camera - These types of cameras have special infrared lights around the outside of the lens and can capture pictures even in complete darkness.

10. JPEG - JPEG stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group." This is the standard way of compressing photographic images.

11. Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera - Pant-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras allow you to use adjust the position and focus of the camera with a remote control. They can be fairly expensive.

12. Plug and Play Cable - These types of cameras have three wires built into one with attached connectors.

13. Remote Surveillance - The ability to view your cameras from a remote location. For example, if you own a store and have place cameras in that store, you can view the images from your home computer.

14. Resolution - Resolution basically tells you how much detail your camera can see. The higher the resolution, the more detail that can be viewed.

15. Smart Search - This feature of digital video records allows you to search for changes in an image over time. If something is stolen, you can fast forward to and search for the point in time when the item disappears from the camera's view.

16. Switch - A switch takes multiple camera inputs and shows them on a monitor, one at a time, or allows you to view a particular input at a time.

17. Transformer - Transfer energy from one circuit to another, inductively coupled wire coils that effect such a transfer with a change in voltage, current, phase, or other electric characteristic.

18. Video Input - This is a connection that allows you to plug a camera into a video controller or recording device. You can connect as many cameras to a device as there are input devices.

19. Weatherproof - Any camera described as "weatherproof" means that it can be placed outside and not, for the most part, be affected by harsh weather or extreme temperature changes.

20. Wireless Camera - Wireless cameras transmit video and audio via waves instead of wires.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Boston Security Cameras Keeping Streets Safe

Boston Security CamerasIn hundreds of cities around the country, local law enforcement have been using security cameras to catch people breaking the speed limit and, even more recently, running red lights. Well, the officers in Boston, Massachusetts are taking this idea one step further. Boston Police have installed cameras all over the city that are capable of detecting the discharge of firearms.

Financed by the Federal Government, these cameras are being placed under bridges, on thoroughfares and around bustling shopping districts as part of an anti-terrorism campaign. A camera was installed last week in East Milton Square in Boston, seven cameras, with the hopes of two more added this year, have been set up in Quincy and in Everett 16 to 20 cameras are trained on the port, major road arteries and industrial complexes, all of which have been deemed potential terrorist targets.

Police in all the above communities wish to link their camera feeds in hopes of keeping an eye on towns and cities outside their jurisdiction. Police also say that the technology will help officers track a suspect fleeing from one town to another.

But with everything that involves government and security, there is a fair share of skepticism, especially from the Civil Liberties Union. Carol Rose, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, says, "We're building a system that creates a net of surveillance over everyone in the Boston Metropolitan Region. It's a net of surveillance that allows local police and federal agents to monitor and record our every movement without any oversight of how the information will be used now or in the long run."

There are a grand total of nine communities that are a part of the new camera program: Boston, Quincy, Winthrop, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Everett, Chelsea and Revere. All nine of these communities have been deemed by the federal government to be at a high risk for terrorist attacks. These areas make up one of 64 areas around the nation that come under a program called the "Urban Area Security Initiative", a program receiving $832.5 million this fiscal year from Homeland Security.

"We focus these grants on the cities that face the highest risk," said Homeland Security spokesman Chris Ortman. "We continue to improve our risk assessment tools to ensure we are calculating these risks in the smartest and most efficient ways possible." Lieutenant Bob Gillan, Supervisor of the Quincy Police Homeland Security Unit, believes that the cameras will help officers quickly figure out the problem and what kind of help to give. "A picture is worth a thousand words," he said. "If we can see it that much faster, we know what's going on."

Officers in almost all of the cities have reported that they have met with little or no resistance to the cameras. Gillan reports that the cameras in place do not pick up anything that the average passerby can not see. "Anything we see is completely public." Other stories from different cities have reported the value in the cameras. Milton Police Chief Richard Wells noted how cameras in Brookline assisted in the quick capture of two rape and kidnapping suspects last year.

However, programs like this have seen bumpy spots in the road. The program in Cambridge came to a halt last year when the City Council unanimously voted against activating the cameras. Twelve cameras in Brookline are only allowed to operate at night, a compromise reached after a Town Meeting passed a resolution to take them down.

Boston Security Cameras like these, and the ones all over the country, do have an immense potential to assist Police Officers in keeping local streets safe from not only local criminals but also potential terrorist attacks. While the privacy issues noted with the cameras do hold their own weight of concern, I believe the potential good of the cameras far outweighs the potential bad.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Security Cameras Make Perfect Witnesses

Security Cameras Make Perfect WitnessesWhen a detective visits a crime scene, one of the first things he does is look for a security camera. Security cameras are becoming increasingly common these days. You can find them in everything from businesses to schools to government buildings and even in private homes. And they work a lot better than your average human witness to a crime.

Security cameras can perform a number of functions. Some say the mere sight of a camera in your home or business can prevent a crime from happening because the would-be criminal knows how easily the police can use the captured images to identify him. And in the event a crime does take place, police and other officials do have the best possible evidence when the crime was caught on camera. Images can be released to the public, through the media, in hopes that someone can identify the criminal. And of course, those images can later be used in court to prove that person committed the crime.

"People forget that we're always under surveillance, except maybe in our home. Once we walk out those doors, everyone can now see what we're doing and record what we're doing," Tod Burke, a professor at Radford University and former police officer told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

There is one problem detectives and other police officers often run into when dealing with security cameras: technical issues. There are so many different types of security cameras, often with many different features or using various types of software, that figuring out how to retrieve information isn't always simple. Detectives may find themselves pouring over hours and hours of video, just waiting for the right moment or for the right person to walk by.

Human witnesses are great for getting a quick story about what happened in the event of a crime, but when it comes to the details, the human brain isn't exactly reliable. Any number of things, including other witnesses, our own biases, or even questions asked by police officers can convince someone they saw something they didn't. It may be as simple as saying the criminal wore a blue shirt instead of a black one, or it could be that the witness thought she saw three men instead of two. But when a security camera is present, there is no doubt in anyone's mind as to the exact details of what happened.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hotel & Motel Security Cameras

Hotel & Motel Security Cameras If you run a hotel, motel, or any other place where people often stay overnight, you know security is an important part of daily operations. Despite the down economy, studies have shown that more and more people are traveling these days, which means more and more people are lodging away from home. People want to stay somewhere where they feel safe and secure. At the same time, you can't keep an eye on your entire property at all times. Hotel Security Cameras can provide you with solutions for your security needs, guest comfort, and more.

Hotel security cameras can do so much for you and your business. They can:
  • Let guests know you are as concerned about keeping them safe as they are.
  • Deter criminals from stealing or committing other crimes on your grounds.
  • Allow you to monitor your facility for potential criminal acts.
  • Allow you to monitor employees and reveal potential employee theft
  • Attract customers who are looking for a nice, safe place to spend the night.
  • Allow you to keep an eye on things when you can't be at your hotel or motel.
  • Aid police and other officials in the event there is a crime committed on your property.
  • Provide answers in the event of a dispute.

Some things to keep in mind when purchasing cameras for your hotel or motel.

  • You should always place cameras at entrances and exits so you can see who is coming and going at all times.
  • Cameras in public areas that often see a lot of traffic are important. These may include your lobby, swimming pool, or any dining areas.
  • Do you keep a safe or any valuable items at your hotel? This is another place where you may find it necessary to keep a camera.
  • Does your hotel have any outdoor facilities that are away from your building? Swimming pools, tennis courts, parking lots, etc. will need to be monitored with cameras.
  • If there are certain areas that often fall prey to theft or vandalism, a camera can help you figure out who is committing the crime.
  • Does your hotel or motel have separate buildings that are impossible to monitor with human eyes all day? You'll need to draw up a map of your hotel to help you figure out where to place your cameras.
  • Are you curious about what types of cameras you need, how much they'll cost, or how to install them? You can get these answers to those questions and more at

Monday, May 31, 2010

Apply Logic When Choosing Cameras

Apply Logic When Choosing Cameras There are so many types of security cameras, how do you know which one is right for you? Do you need a dome, bullet or standard body? Will your camera require Pan-Tilt-Zoom, Low Light, Infrared Low-Light, or License Plate technology? The most important thing you can do when buying a camera is apply logic. Here are a few tips that will help you do that and pick out the right camera to suit your needs.

1. Sketch a Floor Plan. When you sketch a floor plan, you'll want to put in all the camera locations and this will help make some key decisions. How far is your target surveillance area from your camera? Do you need a zoom lens of 4mm, 8mm or 12 mm? Maybe you need something more powerful? Maybe you need to move your camera closer?

2. Consider Field of View. Take a picture of the areas you'd like to have covered by a security camera from the proposed camera location. Do you need a wide angle or fish eye lens to cover your entire field of view?

3. Resolution & Details. How much detail do you need on your surveillance target? Are you hoping to capture the details of a face or a car license plate? The answers to these questions will help you determine, not only where to mount your camera, but the quality of the camera you choose. The more detail you need to see, the higher quality of camera you'll need to purchase.

4. Vandalism. Just like other objects you're working to protect, a security camera can be vandalized. From kids up to no good to criminals attempting to hide the camera's eyes from watching them commit their crime, to even weather and natural conditions, your cameras may need protection. If you feel this could be a problem, you'll want to consider vandal-resistant cameras and even housing to protect the camera.

5. Lighting. What is the lighting like in the area you are looking to keep an eye on? Does the lighting changed due to natural conditions? Do you need to monitor in the dark? Maybe you need infrared or low light cameras, or maybe a Wide Dynamic camera.

6. Budget. This is probably on your mind anytime you go to purchase something, but it's important to keep in mind that with security cameras, you get what you pay for, much like any other technology. But even so, having an inexpensive camera is better than nothing at all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Security Cameras for Libraries

Security Cameras for Libraries Libraries are usually thought to be fairly docile, harmless places, but these days, no place is totally safe. People of all ages, from all walks of life take advantage of what all a library has to offer: research materials, children's activities, free internet usage, and more. One librarian can't keep watch over the entire facility but that's only one reason why library security cameras are a good idea.

Like other government buildings, libraries stand to benefit from security cameras in a number of ways. One of the main reasons is to keep patrons and staff safe from harm's way. Cameras may deter would-be criminals from committing a crime and in the event a crime does take place, police have a picture of the criminal to use in the following investigation. A second reason is to protect library materials. People have a tendency to steal from libraries and having cameras around can prevent valuable books and other materials from walking out the door without permission. Librarians, or whomever's in charge, can also monitor parts of the library when they can't physically be there to keep an eye on things.

So where should you place library security cameras? It really depends on the needs of your library. Libraries can vary greatly by size and type. You'll want to ask yourself a few questions such as "What part of the library poses the biggest security issue?" and "What type of security systems are already in place?" You'll also want to protect particularly valuable or collectible items in your library. Do you have a rare book or expensive equipment? At the library in my hometown, they often have rare displays of artifacts from around the world in the windows. Focusing cameras on items that are attractive to thieves is just plain common sense.

Placing cameras near your entrances and exits is a common sense move in any establishment. Everyone must enter and leave via these doors and therefore, everyone's face is captured. You'll also want to place cameras in common areas. Many libraries have rooms where they offer children's story hours, author visits, and even community meetings. Anyone can walk in those doors and cause a great deal of harm to library patrons, so it's important to keep cameras focused on those doors.

For more information on library security cameras and any government building security cameras, visit

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicago Mayor Wants Security Cameras In Local Bars

Chicago Security CamerasMost people have probably noticed the security cameras hanging all around Chicago, Illinois. Typically the cameras are aimed at government buildings, train platforms or intersections and there are even special police cameras with microphones that can detect gunshots within a two block radius. But it seems that Mayor Richard Daley has some new ideas about where some security cameras should be focused.

Daley's new plan is to require bars or nightclubs open until 4 a.m. to install security cameras with the ability to identify individuals entering and leaving the building. But these are not the only establishments under Daley's eye. Eventually Daley would have businesses like convenience stores and other places open longer than 12 hours a day to do the same. This proposed idea from Daley adds more to the security measures put in place after the September 11th attacks.

Although the addition of security cameras in places like these may seem like a good idea to some, the fact that they are being added, especially being required by the government, is troubling to some civil liberties advocates. A member of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union, Ed Yohnka stated "There is no reason to mandate all of those cameras unless you one day see them being linked up to the city's 911 system. We have, perhaps, reached that moment of critical mass when people want to have a dialogue about how much of this is appropriate."

Chicago isn't alone in the proliferation of security cameras at private businesses. Milwaukee is also considering making stores that have called police three or more times in one year install security cameras. In Maryland the Baltimore County Council required large malls to install cameras in their parking lots after an individual was murdered in a parking garage just last year. According to Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, "We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step."

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everybody," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez. Suarez was the first person to suggest the mandatory installation of cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?" The local businessmen that will be required to put in the cameras are not too fond of the idea of mandatory camera installations.

Nick Novich, who owns three bars in Chicago, is worried about the cost. "every added expense puts a small business in greater jeopardy of going out of business." Daley believes that the cameras will help to decrease crime rates. To that, Novich stated "that's what we pay taxes for." President of the Illinois Restaurant Association Colleen McShane believes that the mandatory addition of security cameras is an unfair burden on small businesses. "This is once again more government intrusion," McShane says.

Julia Shell, spokeswoman for Ala Carte Entertainment, says that "It's far more cost effective to have them than to not have them." Ala Carte Entertainment has security cameras in all 30 Chicago clubs, restaurants and bars owned by the company which they believe makes patrons feel safer.

By this spring, Chicago will have Red Light Cameras at 30 intersections around the city. The cameras are designed specifically to catch people who run red lights. Over 2,000 cameras around the city are linked to an emergency command center. These cameras, however, are partially paid for by federal homeland security funds. The newer "smart" cameras are able to alert police whenever there is gunfire, whenever somebody leaves a package or lingers outside of public buildings. This system is based on the same one being used in London in an attempt to capture suspected terrorists after last summer's subway bombings.

According to Rajiv Shah, an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago is installing the "smart" cameras more aggressively than any other U.S. city. Shah studies the policy implications of surveillance technology. According to Shah, recording what people do in public "is just getting easier and cheaper to do. Just think of your camera cell phone."

There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. Yes these cameras could lower crime and even help to catch criminals. On the other hand, the cost imposed on some small businesses could be devastating to them, not to mention the fact that the government could try to use the cameras as more than just a security measure. Regardless, we still have some time before anything is put into action so I guess we will just have to wait and see how it all unfolds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Responsibility for Newark Airport Breach Taken by TSA

Newark Liberty International AirportRecently in the news we heard about how the Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey was shut down for hours because a man walked the wrong way through a security checkpoint. The unidentified man's actions prompted a security breach which not only shut down Terminal C in the airport for hours but also prompted the rescreening of thousands of passengers.

The discovery about the man was discovered after a passenger in the airport reported to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer Sunday afternoon that he believed a person had walked through a security checkpoint the wrong way. In a startling discovery, the TSA attempted to confirm the breach via security cameras that they funded which were installed and operated by the Port Authority. The only problem was that though the cameras were on, they were not recording.

New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (D) reported in a news conference Wednesday that the camera system had been down since December 28th but that statement couldn't be confirmed by a Homeland Security Official. Thankfully the security cameras for Continental Airlines had been on and recording. The tapes confirmed that an Asian male breached security though TSA officers were unable to find him.

With some more alarming news, TSA notified the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about the breach. However, according to an airport source, the news of the breach did not reach the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey until 80 minuets after the breach occurred. Reports say that the unidentified man walked through the exit on the public side to the secure "sterile" side in the airport.

How the man was able to pass security undetected remains unclear. An official from Homeland Security told CNN that the TSA officer at the post was distracted by a passenger asking for directions or something like that. The guard in question was removed from screening duties after the breach and was put on administrative leave as of Tuesday.

Although TSA was unable to locate the man, a spokesman said "any threat he may have presented was eliminated by rescreening everyone and re-combing the airport to make sure he didn't introduce anything to the environment or hand anything off to anyone."

Due to the breach and the disabled cameras, TSA has volunteered to check the cameras daily to make sure they are working properly. Airport sources said that the TSA "has that system at their workstations. They have the ability to check it. They need to check it and tell the Port Authority if it's not working." TSA is taking full responsibility for the breach and promise to do everything they can to prevent breaches like this from happening in the future. Which is especially crucial at the Newark airport considering it was one of the airports from which the September 11th hijackers departed.

A problem like this security breach may have been easily avoided had the airport had a remote checkup service for their camera system. Camera Security Now has remote DVR/NVR server checkups that will ensure all of your equipment is running like it should.