Apartment Security: Alarms, IP cameras, ???

VoroVoro Registered User regular
edited December 2016 in Help / Advice Forum
So, recent events made me want to beef up security around here. I've already got your basic alarm plus a couple of d-link IP cameras (low res, like 480p?).

What I'd like to improve:
- Higher resolution cameras
- More options for what to do when movement is sensed (not just x screenshots every y seconds)
- Ability to upload the pics to a dropbox, instead of just spamming my email
- Nightvision, so it doesn't rely on leaving a lamp on
- On-site continuous recording? Not sure on this, this seems more useful for outside a home. And if anyone broke in, I assume the DVR would just get stolen.
- Ability to easily enable / disable. I don't really want them to record me while I'm in here. A physical solution might be best (lens covers?), so I can be sure the cameras aren't watched remotely while I'm here.
- If there's a good way to hook them up to Comcast Home, that'd be great. If not, I won't lose any sleep over it.

Does anyone have experience with reliable cameras that would fit the bill?

Also, anything I'm missing? I'm really not sure what security measures are available to apartment tenants. I assume security window film is out.

Yeah, going to drop the non-camera angle for this question since the responses are not helpful.

XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
Voro on

Posts

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Your cost for setting this up and maintaining it probably outstrips the cost to move to a more reliable and safer complex. If this were for a purchased property that would be one thing, but for a rental?

    Just bug out. There are also potentially state recording laws that you might be in violation of if you are recording your front door and dont own the property.

  • VoroVoro Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Your cost for setting this up and maintaining it probably outstrips the cost to move to a more reliable and safer complex. If this were for a purchased property that would be one thing, but for a rental?

    Just bug out. There are also potentially state recording laws that you might be in violation of if you are recording your front door and dont own the property.

    Allow me to elaborate:

    The event is my friend's house was robbed. He lives in an entirely different section of the city than I do.

    My concern is about being able to positively ID anyone who breaks in, and get that info to police ASAP.

    These cameras would be inside my apartment, and the blinds are always closed.

    I live in the SF bay area, where the difference between your standard apartment complex and one that's basically Fort Knox is going to be $1-2K/month at the very least.

    Finally, my area is very low crime. But then again, his suburb is low crime too. Spending a few hundred to increase the odds of my things remaining my things is not a problem for me.

    XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Voro wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    Your cost for setting this up and maintaining it probably outstrips the cost to move to a more reliable and safer complex. If this were for a purchased property that would be one thing, but for a rental?

    Just bug out. There are also potentially state recording laws that you might be in violation of if you are recording your front door and dont own the property.

    Allow me to elaborate:

    The event is my friend's house was robbed. He lives in an entirely different section of the city than I do.

    My concern is about being able to positively ID anyone who breaks in, and get that info to police ASAP.

    These cameras would be inside my apartment, and the blinds are always closed.

    I live in the SF bay area, where the difference between your standard apartment complex and one that's basically Fort Knox is going to be $1-2K/month at the very least.

    Finally, my area is very low crime. But then again, his suburb is low crime too. Spending a few hundred to increase the odds of my things remaining my things is not a problem for me.

    If you think the cops actually give a crap about property theft - HA!

    My wife was held up at gunpoint outside Duboce park and they didn't even return our calls after taking an initial report based on a 911 call. Even though we found all her stuff on craigslist with a number that matched call logs from her stolen phone post-theft.

    mRahmanitinwhiskersEncMichaelLCGnome-Interruptus
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Have you got contents insurance sufficient to replace all your stuff? Have you got good strong locks on all windows and doors? Is the main door to your apartment complex too strong to push open and not propped open by tenants?

    That's the place to start, not going crazy with cameras.

    Enckime
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Having solid documentation for renter's insurance is the better investment. That way you get stuff back.

    schussCelestialBadgerShadowfirekime
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Voro wrote: »
    So, recent events made me want to beef up security around here. I've already got your basic alarm plus a couple of d-link IP cameras (low res, like 480p?).

    What I'd like to improve:
    - Higher resolution cameras
    - More options for what to do when movement is sensed (not just x screenshots every y seconds)
    - Ability to upload the pics to a dropbox, instead of just spamming my email
    - Nightvision, so it doesn't rely on leaving a lamp on
    - On-site continuous recording? Not sure on this, this seems more useful for outside a home. And if anyone broke in, I assume the DVR would just get stolen.
    - Ability to easily enable / disable. I don't really want them to record me while I'm in here. A physical solution might be best (lens covers?), so I can be sure the cameras aren't watched remotely while I'm here.
    - If there's a good way to hook them up to Comcast Home, that'd be great. If not, I won't lose any sleep over it.

    Does anyone have experience with reliable cameras that would fit the bill?

    Also, anything I'm missing? I'm really not sure what security measures are available to apartment tenants. I assume security window film is out.

    Yeah, going to drop the non-camera angle for this question since the responses are not helpful.

    I've installed several of the cheaper camera/dvr systems (Q-See, Zmodo, Swann) and the software sucks, and there are wires you have to run from camera to dvr, and you have to secure the dvr since none of these came with a cloud storage service for video. Since I was dealing with building owners I could puncture walls and run cabling out of sight and they could all terminate at the dvr which was in a controlled-access (locked) room.

    You can get high-res cameras but they will cost more. All outdoor marketed cameras and nearly all indoor/outdoor marketed cameras will have IR. Look at the camera front end, if you see LEDs near the lens it has IR.

    You probably want the camera to only record upon motion sensing. You do not want to have to wade through hours of recording to find the 2 seconds where you can see someones face. Whether you can use motion sensing/record to also cause other events (e.g. email, text, etc) depends on the software built into the dvr.

    Not sure about dropbox, but some camera systems come with cloud storage service (subscription-based, but could be free for 1st year or 3). Would recommend this if you cannot secure the dvr.

    You should be able to setup the hours which the dvr/camera system is "on".

    I don't know about integrating with 3rd party home automation services like Comcast Home (have you seen what Comcast has to offer?), but most of the services you ask about are available on some systems out there, but you'll pay for it.

  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Registered User regular
    We recently just bought a Piper unit after a break-in at our house. It runs 24/7 with a decent camera and audio and you can stream right to your phone. It also can alert you to any movement, temp changes, loud noises, etc. It cost about $300 but has given us some peace of mind.

  • VoroVoro Registered User regular
    We recently just bought a Piper unit after a break-in at our house. It runs 24/7 with a decent camera and audio and you can stream right to your phone. It also can alert you to any movement, temp changes, loud noises, etc. It cost about $300 but has given us some peace of mind.

    Thanks, I haven't seen anything about Piper, but it sounds promising. I'll definitely check that out.

    Djeet wrote: »
    Voro wrote: »
    So, recent events made me want to beef up security around here. I've already got your basic alarm plus a couple of d-link IP cameras (low res, like 480p?).

    What I'd like to improve:
    - Higher resolution cameras
    - More options for what to do when movement is sensed (not just x screenshots every y seconds)
    - Ability to upload the pics to a dropbox, instead of just spamming my email
    - Nightvision, so it doesn't rely on leaving a lamp on
    - On-site continuous recording? Not sure on this, this seems more useful for outside a home. And if anyone broke in, I assume the DVR would just get stolen.
    - Ability to easily enable / disable. I don't really want them to record me while I'm in here. A physical solution might be best (lens covers?), so I can be sure the cameras aren't watched remotely while I'm here.
    - If there's a good way to hook them up to Comcast Home, that'd be great. If not, I won't lose any sleep over it.

    Does anyone have experience with reliable cameras that would fit the bill?

    Also, anything I'm missing? I'm really not sure what security measures are available to apartment tenants. I assume security window film is out.

    Yeah, going to drop the non-camera angle for this question since the responses are not helpful.

    I've installed several of the cheaper camera/dvr systems (Q-See, Zmodo, Swann) and the software sucks, and there are wires you have to run from camera to dvr, and you have to secure the dvr since none of these came with a cloud storage service for video. Since I was dealing with building owners I could puncture walls and run cabling out of sight and they could all terminate at the dvr which was in a controlled-access (locked) room.

    You can get high-res cameras but they will cost more. All outdoor marketed cameras and nearly all indoor/outdoor marketed cameras will have IR. Look at the camera front end, if you see LEDs near the lens it has IR.

    You probably want the camera to only record upon motion sensing. You do not want to have to wade through hours of recording to find the 2 seconds where you can see someones face. Whether you can use motion sensing/record to also cause other events (e.g. email, text, etc) depends on the software built into the dvr.

    Not sure about dropbox, but some camera systems come with cloud storage service (subscription-based, but could be free for 1st year or 3). Would recommend this if you cannot secure the dvr.

    You should be able to setup the hours which the dvr/camera system is "on".

    I don't know about integrating with 3rd party home automation services like Comcast Home (have you seen what Comcast has to offer?), but most of the services you ask about are available on some systems out there, but you'll pay for it.

    On Comcast, the cameras they offer aren't great and I'm trying to avoid more monthly fees if possible (can't buy it outright from them).

    On hours, yeah, I have that for screenshots from my current cams, but it isn't great outside of scheduling work hours. I end setting them to always record and plug them in when leaving.

    I did see the cloud storage as my friend uses nestcam (or dropcam? not sure), but it would be nice if I cpuld piggyback on what I'm already paying for.

    Motion sensing is definitely a plus, but my current cams still send false positives if it's bright outside and a shadow hits the blinds, or if it's dark and headlights shine in. Better than missing something, but if I'm getting hi res video, it won't be great with the new caps.

    Thanks for all the info! :+1:

    XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I think you should divide up your expectations of the system you want.

    1st, If you're trying to leverage whatever camera/dvr system you have and add features that aren't there already, then good luck. If all the video clips could get dumped/copied to a location your dropbox synchronizes then you can try that. Thing is, cheap systems have shitty software that's not flexible and can't do things other than what they've documented it can do (if they can do that). I can't really help you there.

    Getting IR and motion activated record along with some notifications, you can get those with many of the cheaper systems out there (see earlier post). So buy those capabilities, though it might be a bit of a pain to setup initially.

    If you also want cloud service, prepare to shell out a monthly, or implement your own solution that grabs the video from the DVR and posts to dropbox. The Arlo systems look to do what you want. Haven't used them myself.

  • Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    Djeet wrote: »
    I think you should divide up your expectations of the system you want.

    1st, If you're trying to leverage whatever camera/dvr system you have and add features that aren't there already, then good luck. If all the video clips could get dumped/copied to a location your dropbox synchronizes then you can try that. Thing is, cheap systems have shitty software that's not flexible and can't do things other than what they've documented it can do (if they can do that). I can't really help you there.

    Getting IR and motion activated record along with some notifications, you can get those with many of the cheaper systems out there (see earlier post). So buy those capabilities, though it might be a bit of a pain to setup initially.

    If you also want cloud service, prepare to shell out a monthly, or implement your own solution that grabs the video from the DVR and posts to dropbox. The Arlo systems look to do what you want. Haven't used them myself.
    Arlos are great! Except their batteries last like, three weeks in high-traffic areas. Grab the wired ones if you can and the software is solid.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    I know you're asking about IP cams and whatnot, but also consider better doors and windows (and by extension, locks, gates, etc...). People get super psyched about elaborate camera systems to catch the bad guys only to have a great high res photo of someone stealing their stuff that no one will ever use to prosecute anyone. If they're deterred from getting in in the first place, you don't need to worry about that.

    This is totally not to derail the wonderful advice you've already received in the thread. It's just another path.

    VishNubtastydonuts
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