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CCTV and Security Alarms – Reasons to Pair Them

This article was written by John Moran, a director at Minerva Security, which shares over 70 years of experience in the commercial security and fire safety industry.

As a business owner, you cannot be everywhere at all times. However, CCTV systems become your eyes when you are away from your business. With the right security in place, your business has nothing to lose. A commercial CCTV system is larger, more powerful and expensive than those intended for home use.

Another security measure that can also benefit your business premises is a security alarm system. Most alarm systems are configured to alert you either by bell or text message whenever there is an incident at your workplace.

Benefits of Pairing CCTV and Security Alarms

By combining an alarm system with your CCTV system, you get to have your own security guard who can monitor your CCTV on your behalf. With cutting edge CCTV security products that are tailored to particularly fit your business you are always aware of the on-goings in your business. When an uninvited person comes to your business premises, your security alarm system alerts you to check your cameras and then take necessary action. Here are some more reasons to pair security alarms and CCTV.

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To Deter Crime

When CCTV cameras monitor your workplace regularly, and security alarm systems alert you, criminals are more likely to leave your business alone and look for easier targets.

Keeping Records

A commercial CCTV system can store a lot of data since it has enough space for more than one hard drive. The feature is essential since the cameras run throughout and thus record all the happenings at your workplace. Security alarm systems on the other hand alert you when you have an issue in your business premise. The security alarm alerts you in time and gives you an opportunity to contact the police if necessary. A CCTV system helps the police as they can consult the recordings as they conduct the investigations.

To Protect People

With CCTV systems and security alarms are incorporated to your business premises and work well, your employees feel safe while at work. Staff who are at work during unsociable hours are likely to feel more protected as they arrive and leave work.

The best part about both security alarm systems and CCTV cameras is that you can monitor the remotely. Most cutting-edge CCTV systems allow you to view the surveillance over the Internet. The live video from any of the CCTV cameras can be securely transmitted to your PC, smartphone or laptop. As a result, you have the freedom to travel, be away from the office without being disconnected. You can, therefore, keep abreast of all the occurrences in your business premises while on the go.

Security alarm systems are also entirely remotely controllable from your computer or mobile device. With remote access, you can arm or disarm the security alarm at your workplace regardless of where you are. You can also stay updated through emails or text message alerts or alarms. The remote access also allows you to read the details of the alarm log even when you are far from your commercial property.

Security is an essential part of any area, and when you pair CCTV and safety alarms, you arm yourself to deal with any insecurity issues. As a result, you get to enjoy a peace of mind since you know that nothing goes unseen within your business premises.

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The Most Bizarre Home Security Systems in the World

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How do you secure your home at night? Do you lock the doors? Perhaps you have bars on the windows or alarms fitted. The most paranoid of you might even have a surveillance camera system or a panic room.

But no matter how far you’ve gone to ensure your home’s safety, there are people out there who have gone further. Much further. People who have gone to the furthest ends of the earth to ensure nobody, but nobody, gets into their home without their permission. Let’s take a look at some of the craziest home security measures available to people who have a little too much fear and a little too much money for their own good.

Secret Passageways

The glitz and the glamour of Hollywood is analogous with the excesses of America’s wealthiest. But behind the glimmering facade there is a very hard edged, almost militaristic zeal for home security amongst some of LA’s citizens.

Which is why companies such as Creative Home Engineering have moved into the niche of secret passageways. You’ve seen them in every Scooby Doo cartoon ever: bookcases activated by pulling on a candlestick, walls that slide away to reveal underground dungeons etc etc. CHE uses the childhood fascination with concealed passageways and spaces to draw in clients, successfully carving out a niche industry. While secret passageways can be used to hide panic rooms and other security measures, other people invest in them simply for the novelty, and to provide entertainment for children, which makes them a little of a doomsday feel.

long tunnel of a secret underground passage

A long tunnel of a secret underground passage

 

White House Security

Strategically Armored & Fortified Environments (SAFE) is another Californian company which is invested in the booming super security trade.

SAFE provides the ultimate in home security solutions to clients who can afford them. Their renovations can include a 2,500f square foot home-within-a-home, or, “safe core”. This safe core locks down in the event of the emergency, sealing it off from the rest of the house and alerting authorities. Ballistic proof doors mean even the most determined burglars are never getting through.

 

Infra Red

A lot of people these days invest in CCTV security cameras, but some people take it a step further. Infra Red cameras which can pick out the heat signature of a person up to 15 km away are an emerging technology which allow a homeowner to spy out anybody who might be sneaking about, looking for an opportunity to strike.

Pepper Spray Bombardment

More or less a landmine, the Burglar Blaster Disintegrator lives up to its impressive title. When an alarm is tripped, the Blaster douses the intruder with burning, debilitating pepper spray. While the burglar is incapacitated, the homeowner can deal with them in their own way or call the police.

Trip Wires

Straight out of a bond film, laser trip wires are an actual thing homeowners can invest in to keep their possessions safe. The laser sits invisible on the floor, and when the unsuspecting intruder trips it a tweet is sent to the owner – alerting them of the danger. The device can even be set up to take a photo of the perpetrator!

This trip wire pipe bomb improvised explosive device (IED) simulator, used to train US military service personnel, is displayed in the US Army (USA) Training Support Center (TSC), USA Signal Command and Fort Gordon (USASC & FG), Fort Gordon, Georgia (GA).

This trip wire pipe bomb improvised explosive device (IED) simulator, used to train US military service personnel, is displayed in the US Army (USA) Training Support Center (TSC), USA Signal Command and Fort Gordon (USASC & FG), Fort Gordon, Georgia (GA).

 

Gas them!

Chemical warfare has reached the home! Another product SAFE offers is a distributor which pumps hallways and rooms full of sight obscuring smoke of even debilitating gas! The gas can leave victims disorientated for up to 24 hours – plenty of time for the authorities to arrive and get a confession out of them before they sober up. The gas is the most severe option SAFE offers so far, but who’s to say you couldn’t swap it out for a neurotoxin or something else much more nasty?

The world of home security is a changing industry, at least for the super wealthy. Equal parts fascinating and scary, the new technologies these companies are coming out with make the age old profession of burglaring ever more dangerous.

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The One Stop DIY Home Security Guide

DIY Home Security

DIY home security doesn’t mean rigging your own system from fishing line, duct tape, and other odds ends around the house.  It simply entails installing products yourself that make your home safer.  There are many different choices depending on what you’re looking for and your budget.  Here is what you need to know about each.

Deterrents

One of the least expensive and most often overlooked DIY home security choices are deterrents.  Fake security cameras for example usually only cost a few dollars but can make the difference between a criminal targeted your house or deciding to move on to a less protected one.  That’s because most cameras look so real that they can even sometimes fool security experts.  A large number even use the shell of a real camera but without the components inside to record of course.

DIY Home Security

They are meant to be obvious and placed somewhere they can easily be seen by would-be criminals.  And as even the dumbest of them know, getting caught on camera is a bad thing.  In addition to being extremely realistic looking, some also include a red light to indicate to anyone checking it out that it is recording.  Others may have a motion detector sensor that starts the camera swiveling when someone approaches.

Fake security cameras can be installed in a matter of minutes and are often used to make an existing real camera system  look like it has more eyes watching than it really does.  Adding yard signs which clearly say your property has a surveillance system along with your cameras can also be an extremely effective and cheap combination that most criminals will avoid like the plague.

Security Cameras

Outdoors

For those who require a real camera there are many DIY home security cameras to choose from both indoors and out.  When placed outside at strategic locations like the front and back doors, on the side of the house, near basement access, or close to off-street windows you can not only deter crime but catch someone in the act if they actually do try and break in or damage your property.

DIY Home Security

 

Outdoor security cameras and their components can be bought individually but the best deals can be found in purchasing entire systems.  Virtually all of these can be installed by the average person which can save you even more cash.  Just be sure to choose one that is weatherproof and has an effective range that is suitable for your needs.  Having LED’s for night vision is also very important too.  Today many systems are wireless and can record video to your DVR.

Indoors

For use indoors there are even more options since they don’t have to be durable enough to deal with the weather.  The majority don’t look nearly as obtrusive as the ones used outside.  In fact many look just like webcams and have a base so they can be simply placed down on any counter top, table, or desk where they will have an unobstructed view of the room and don’t require you to put any holes in your walls.  Others can be mounted on the wall or give you the option of both.

DIY Home Security

Many consumers use their DIY home security camera not just for surveillance but to keep an eye the kids and pets when in another room or from outside the house via a smart phone or computer. A few models even have two way radios so you can have a conversation with your family if you need to, or talk to your pet if it’s looking lonely or getting into something it shouldn’t.

Motion detector cameras or ones which have a motion detector setting are very popular because they only record when the sensor is triggered. That means if you were to need to watch the footage later on, it would take much less time to do so. While some DIY home security camera systems record to an SD card, other models may save to a DVR.  There are also many IP cameras that will keep your footage in the cloud as opposed to physically in your home.

DIY Home Security

Motion Sensors  

One of the least expensive DIY options are motion sensors. These are also both a cinch to use and set up, and you can often have them up and running within a few minutes of taking them out of the box. While some units use a reflective beam, the majority use a sensor with infrared technology that detects changes in heat, and therefore picks up movement by humans and animals. When the sensor is triggered it sends a signal to a receiver and either an alert or alarm is sounded.  They can do a phenomenal job of letting you know anytime someone or something has entered your property.

You can choose to go with just one sensor or many manufacturers offer models which can be used with multiple sensors for each receiver.  By using more than one sensor in different locations you can create a simple yet effective DIY home security system.  Some but not all units can also be set up so that different sensors can have their own alert tones allowing you to instantly know where someone has entered your property by the unique sound.  Motions sensors can also be used indoors and ones which are battery operated can be portable for use when camping along with a wide range of other applications.

DIY Home Security

Driveway Alarms

DIY home security systems don’t just target people but vehicles too.  A driveway alarm can be used to alert you whenever a car or truck has entered your driveway.  A large number of these are actually infrared motion detector systems that are meant to be installed with the sensors near your driveway. If that is the case they will be triggered by humans too.  Other units may actually only be set off by vehicles. This type is known as a magnetic driveway alarm as it will go off only when something large and metal passes through its electromagnetic field. Normally sensors of this type are buried under the ground requiring you to simply dig a hole. Driveway alarms are a great way to add to an existing alarm system or can be used on their own.

DIY Home Security

Window and Door Alarms

Another low-cost DIY option are window and door alarms.  Both function in the same way and many units can be on the door or window.  Each alarm comes in two parts. One is attached to the window frame or door frame while the other is mounted on the window or door itself.  When the window or door is in the closed position the two pieces are parallel to each other.  But when either is opened the alarm will recognize that the pieces are separated and be triggered.

Using both of these can help you to make sure all entry points that a thief could use to get in your home are being monitored.  Some models have different modes so that if you know you will be opening your doors or windows frequently you can set them to only make an audible alert when opened as opposed to an actual alarm.  This can also be very helpful for letting you know when young children are going in and out.

DIY Home Security

 

***All-In-One DIY Home Security System Packages***

One of the biggest sellers in recent years are all inclusive packages or kits.  These are entire systems that conveniently come in one box and are very appealing for many reasons.  One of the biggest incentives is price.  In the past your only option was to pay a private security company a hefty installation fee and then also every month for monitoring it.   This can really add up to a lot of cash spent especially over time, and is the most common reason the majority of homeowners do not choose to purchase one in the first place.  DIY home security systems are a game changer.  They are affordable, usually not more than a few hundred dollars, and offer a tremendous value for what they provide.

Basically it is fairly simple concept. You purchase a system which means that you personally own all of the components not a company.  Those components are then installed by you, which is designed to be as effortless a process as possible. If you want a system which is monitored by a security company many brands offer this service with their products for a greatly reduced monthly fee.  A lot of consumers prefer this knowing that if there is an emergency the company will contact the police or fire department for them.

DIY Home Security

The other option is an unmonitored system which is monitored by you and costs nothing every month.  Typically if there if there is a break in you will get a text message or phone call to alert you and a loud siren will sound to let others know something is wrong.  Some unmonitored systems have a direct-dial feature which will automatically call emergency services.

Each individual system is different in what it includes which is really great because when shopping it allows you to choose the best DIY home security system for your unique needs and budget.  In general they will usually have multiple motion detectors, window alarms, a siren, and a console where everything is controlled. Remotes that can be used to arm and disarm your alarm are pretty standard as well. Some remotes may also have a panic button which can instantly let your security company know you are in serious trouble.

DIY Home Security

 

An intercom that allows you to speak with people in the house can be very handy feature, as can one that just lets you secretly listen in on what’s being said in the house.  A few kits include security cameras too which can allow you to see inside your home when at the office, on vacation, or even in another country from a computer, tablet, or smart phone.  Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can also be something to look for, if you want a truly all-in-one system.

Because it makes installation much easier for the average consumer, the majority of kits are not hardwired, meaning they aren’t physically wired into the house’s electrical power supply. Instead sensors usually run on battery power while consoles and sirens may need to be plugged in but have a backup battery just in case of a power outage.  That is why you will see them advertised as, “DIY wireless home security systems”.  And, they may operate using a cell connection, land line, or a combination of the two in order to help guarantee that if one were not to work the alarm system would not be affected.

DIY Home Security

When shopping for one, the best place to look is online.  That’s because unlike in local shops, or even some of the really big home stores, you’ll not only be able to find the biggest discount but also accessories and add-ons for the system you want that are not always available where you live.  Being able to check out the latest DIY home security system reviews is always a plus too.

Home security is one type of Do It Yourself project that often times requires little or no skill yet that can pay huge dividends in safety, peace of mind, and protection from theft.  Consider what area you would like to keep safe and what level of protection you need to make deciding on an option easy.  In the end like all DIY projects, when it’s completed you’ll feel a little extra bit of pride every time you use it, knowing you installed it by yourself.

DIY Home Security

 Extra DIY Home Security Tips

-One of the most important yet overlooked things you can do to help ensure the security of your home is to not skimp out when it comes to quality.  While this may seem like common sense and it is, many consumers love DIY projects because they save money, however it is very important that you always purchase high quality products.  While it’s smart to buy on sale and take advantage of good deals, even if it costs a little more, by sticking with the top brands you can greatly increase the chances of protecting your home.

– If you will be installing motion detectors and also own pets, it’s very important to place your sensors where they won’t be set off by your animals.  You can achieve this either by setting them at a height taller than your pets or at an upward facing angle.  When using them outdoors you may also want to be careful there are no shrubs or tree branches in the field of view of your motion detector that are likely to sway back and forth in strong winds and cause a false alarm.

DIY Home Security

– Even though most DIY options are made to be easy for the average person to install, some may require a little more skill than others.  Also, not everyone has the same physical abilities, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone who is handy if you need it. Even the best DIY home security systems can’t be expected to function properly if they are not installed correctly from the start.

-Criminals are often surprising good climbers, especially when motivated by your valuables.  To keep your home from being a target be sure to cut down any tree branches that could help a thief gain access to the upper floors of your house.

-Any shrubs or bushes that could also provide cover for a criminal while breaking into the lower floor windows or even doors should be trimmed down or removed. If you insist on having plants in these locations stick to ones with thorns that would make any attempt to hide behind them extremely painful.

-Making it seem like you’re home when you’re not can also be a huge deterrent.  Something as simple as setting timers for lights or just leaving the TV on can often times prevent a break in.

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The Fast Guide To Driveway Alarms

Driveway Alarm

Knowing when someone has entered your property is your first line of defense.  Whether that person is a burglar or just the mailman, a driveway alarm will immediately alert you to their presence.  These handy devices are one of the least expensive and most useful security options available today.

What Are They And How Do They Work?

Even though there are a few different types to choose from all driveway alarm systems use the same basic principles.  These are not alarms which require any codes or that automatically dial a security company or the police. Instead, they rely on one of several types of sensors that are installed near your driveway.  When the sensor is triggered it sends a signal to a linked receiver you keep inside your home and an alarm is sounded.

The type of tone which is emitted and volume of the alarm can be adjusted to suit your preferences and needs. Depending on the brand and model you choose there may be one or two tones while some offer up to thirty. Others may also feature programmable voice messages.

Not all, but the vast majority of units are actually wireless, so the outdoor sensor works on batteries while the indoor receiver can work on both batteries or be plugged into an outlet. Even if the model you are looking at is not specifically advertised as a wireless driveway alarm system it most likely is. Some units are even solar powered so you won’t even have to change batteries every few months.

Driveway Alarm

Each unit has its own has its own maximum effective distance for how far away the receiver can be used and how close or far away the sensor can detect an object.  This will vary, will some are more suited for situations where your driveway is closer to your house others are specifically made to function as long distance driveway alarms.  And while many of these can reach very far distances in general the more obstacles such as walls that the signal has to pass through to reach the receiver the shorter that distance will be.

As an early warning system driveway alarms as a whole offer many benefits such as:

Security Without The Cost

Driveway alarms give you the ability to monitor movement in or out of your property without having to spend thousands of dollars. In fact while some are a few hundred dollars in price a large number are much cheaper.  It depends on what type and brand you choose.  In purchasing one you won’t have to pay any installation fees either since all can be installed easily by you.

Driveway Alarm

 

They Give You Time

It’s always nice to have a little time before someone is waiting impatiently at your door.  A driveway alarm system will let you use that extra bit of time from when they enter your driveway and the alarm is sounded until they reach your door to get ready, straighten up, grab the pooch, or go out greet them (depending on who it is of course).  Alternatively if it is a criminal your alarm will give you the time to call the police.

No More Missed Packages, Pizzas,  Or Guests

Nothing is more frustrating than missing the delivery man or guests when you were actually home in the first place.  Whether you’re doing in work in a home office on the other side of the house, fixing something in the garage or basement, or just happened to doze off for a quick nap often times it can be difficult to hear someone at the door or outside your house.  A driveway alarm mounted next to the driveway or front walk will let you know it’s time to head for the door.

Excellent For Those Who Are Hard Of Hearing

Since they have multiple volume settings they can be adjusted so that people who are hard of hearing will have no problem knowing someone has arrived as well. For this reason driveway alarm systems are actually a very popular, functional, and much appreciated gift for parents and grandparents who don’t have the hearing they used to.

 

Driveway Alarm

Types Of Alarms

While they all detect motion there are a few different technologies that can be used to do so. The one you choose will depend on your preferences, location, and exactly what you will use your alarm for.

Infrared Driveway Alarms

This is by far the most common and inexpensive option.  They use what is called PIR or passive infrared sensors.  That means that unlike other types of motion detector sensors they do not send out or emit any type of waves or energy and detect changes in them. Instead they simply determine movement by looking for rapid changes in the amount of infrared energy (heat) they see. For this reason they will pick up the movement not only of cars but humans and animals as well.

Like all other types their sensors can use batteries or solar power while the receiver can use batteries or be plugged into an outlet.  While they are designed for the driveway in mind since they are portable and easily installed just about anywhere these motion sensors can actually amazingly versatile.  From garden sheds or garages that house expensive tools, vehicles, equipment and supplies to the backdoor or yard they can be mounted in almost any location to let you know when someone is trespassing whether day or night.  By using multiple sensors strategically placed around your property you can be alerted when there is any movement anywhere.  Some models allow you to even have different tones for different zones so you can instantly recognize where that movement is.

Driveway Alarm

Some people choose to use infrared driveway alarms inside their homes as well often facing the front door, stairwell, or other choke point in the house where an intruder is likely to pass through. They are turned on after locking up for the night and turned off in the morning. Some models let do this via remote from your bedroom.  Using them inside can also be a really easy way to keep teens from sneaking out, monitor what time they “really,” come home at night, and prevent late night video game sessions on school nights.  Placing a sensor with a view of the stairs usually is the easiest method for accomplishing this, depending on the layout of your house.

Using one in the driveway of a business is a smart idea as well. Of course since they work indoors too by mounting one on the wall of a business busy employees or owners who may be somewhere else in the shop will quickly know it’s time to head to the front and attend to a customer’s needs.  This can also cut down on theft and customer loss since there will always be someone to greet them.

Driveway Alarm

Because infrared detects rapid changes in heat, sensors will be triggered by animals. If this is something you want to avoid be sure to mount your sensors higher up and facing an area where there will be as little traffic by nature or pets as possible. You may also want to consider a magnetic unit.

While many homeowners setup their system so that it purposely does not get set off by critters like squirrels, birds, or chipmunks  by installing them near your garden or garbage cans they  be used to catch pesky wildlife in the act of searching for leftovers or using your garden as a buffet.  Many pet owners install them above their dog or cat door so that they will be aware when they come inside for the night. Alternatively they can be used as to let you know when your naughty pet has gotten into a room or area that they should not be in or when the neighbor’s pets have gotten into your yard. The ability to detect critters and humans plus the fact that they can be portable when using batteries means infrared units can be employed when camping or traveling too.

Like with all types of security equipment purchasing from a reliable brand is always smart since your safety may depend on the quality of your unit.  Dakota, 1byone, Swann, and Chamberlain driveway alarm systems are all top-notch.  Optex is another very highly trusted company. Guardline driveway alarms too are a phenomenal brand particularly if you are looking to use an unlimited number of sensors to make sure your entire property is being monitored.

Driveway Alarm

 

Magnetic Driveway Alarms

Different from infrared units these use an electromagnetic sensor buried underground that is connected to a transmitter above. When a car enters through the sensor’s electromagnetic field the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver and the alarm is sounded.  The sensor’s electromagnetic field detects large metallic objects so these systems can only be set off by vehicles not humans, animals, or other moving non-metallic objects.

Magnetic types can make a better choice than infrared for some situations.  For example, if you have children or pets that play in the area the unit is installed an infrared driveway alarm would constantly be set off and could get pretty annoying very quickly. Many models make excellent long range driveway alarms since they can transmit to receiver up to a thousand feet away. Also for those who live in more rural areas you won’t have to deal with frequent  late night alarms from the local wildlife passing through, or false alarms activated by  trees blowing in the wind which can many times also be the case with infrared.

Driveway Alarm

Yet another reason many homeowners choose to go with a magnetic unit is that they are usually more discreet.  You won’t see any flashing lights on these and most visitors will have no clue it’s even there, which if you are using it for security is obviously very important.  Of course magnetic driveway alarms are not just ideal for the driveways of homes but for businesses too. Businesses which may have you working in another room, a studio, garage, or shop, while you are waiting for customers are all good candidates for one.

As with other types the transmitters use batteries but can also be solar powered.  Be sure to remember not to bury your sensor near any large metallic objects and not so close to the road that it may pick up vehicles which are only passing.  There are a few very reliable brands that always get very high ratings and reviews.  Mighty Mule, Safety Technology International, and Dakota driveway alarms are all well-known consumer favorites.

Driveway Alarm

Reflective Beam Sensors

Other than infrared and magnetic systems there is one more option that you could use.  Reflective beam sensors while not always marketed specifically as driveway alarms since they have many other uses, can also get the job done.   This type has a transmitter which emits an infrared beam to a reflector on the other side of your driveway that in turn reflects it back. This beams is invisible to the naked eye of course and if is broken by a vehicle, human, or animal passing through it can be used to sound an alarm. These too can be solar powered.

Different from other types, these sometimes are wireless and sometimes not, it simply depends on the one you choose.  Also because they can be used for other tasks such as a parking indicator, or a sensor to open gates or garages they may not include a speaker with a chime as not everyone purchasing one will be using it for this purpose.  However this gives you the option of hooking them up to doorbells, outdoor lights, speakers and more.  With even minimal skills these can therefore make a fantastic DIY driveway alarm that you attach to the method of alert you choose. Dakota and Seco-Larm are two of the best brands for this variety.

Driveway Alarm

Choosing the best driveway alarm for your home or business is pretty simple. Pick the technology which most suits your needs and location, and be sure to stick to top brands. By doing so you will be ensuring that you and your family will be quickly alerted and have the time to respond accordingly whenever you have guests, both wanted and unwanted.

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