How to Purchase a Modern Camera System, Part 3

John Larkin, Senior Partner with Electronic Systems Consultants LLC of Greater Ohio.No matter how many laws are passed, no matter how many law enforcement officers our communities hire, there’s always going to be those who’ll commit a crime, even though they risk arrest and incarceration. The fact is, the lawless among us will always find an excuse to break the law.

According to the FBI 2016 Crime Statistics, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased for the second straight year, rising 4.1 percent in 2016 as compared to the year before.

“The 2016 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 386.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the estimated rate of property crime was 2,450.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate rose 3.4 percent compared with the 2015 rate, and the property crime rate declined 2.0 percent” (FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics,

On the retail front, according to the 2016 National Retail Security Survey, conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the University of Florida, U.S. “…retailers’ inventory shrink averaged 1.38 percent of retail sales, or $45.2 billion [U.S. dollars (USD)] in 2015, up by $1.2 billion from 2014. Forty-seven percent of retailers surveyed reported increases in overall inventory shrink in 2015, with shoplifting accounting for the greatest cause with an average loss of $377 per incident (39 percent), up nearly $60 from 2014” (NRF,

Because of the apparent lawless nature of a relatively small percentage of society, the general public, especially businesses, expect local governments to protect them, but law enforcement officers cannot be everywhere all the time, although your CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) system can be. It’s also the reason why commercial companies and institutional concerns paid security professionals to install and maintain more than $30 Billion globally in quality video surveillance systems in 2016.

parapet-ocean_enhanced-CIn part 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed basic camera technology as well as performance issues as it pertains to image quality versus the use of analog or digital IP technology. In part 3, we’ll talk about how images are typically recorded and how video systems can save you a ton of money by verifying the presence of human beings on site when an alarm comes in. Matter of fact, some communities, such as Akron, Ohio, require some form of verification before they will dispatch police to the scene of an alarm. –John Larkin

Digital Video Image Recording Systems

By the late 1990s, early 2000’s, the industry began to solve the magnetic tape issue by making a video recording system called a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Like the TLTR, the DVR is a standalone, black-box solution that is superior to any recording solution that relies on magnetic tape. This is because the DVR relies on a computer hard drive. Today, it’s the DVR in addition to the HDVR (Hybrid Digital Video Recorder), NVR (Network Video Recorder), and other digital-based data storage systems that are commonly used for short- to long-term data storage.

In both commercial and residential applications, there is a third-party service available where images can be uploaded to a remote location and saved in a conventional or cloud-based computer data center. Video data are kept here for future use in case a crime occurs. Even if the assailant(s) steal the local video recorder along with other goods, having a record of the theft safely tucked away off site helps to assure that the perpetrator(s) will be brought to justice.

The safety of critical evidence is one of three reasons for buying an off-site video recording service. Reason number two is to reduce or eliminate the upfront equipment costs by leasing third-party data processing and storage. The third is the savings that you’ll realize by eliminating the long-term operating costs associated with maintaining network-based equipment. This includes routine software upgrades all of which are the financial responsibility of the owner of the cloud-based computer processing center.

Today, it’s important to know whether to purchase a simple stand-alone DVR/HDVR or a network solution. DVR’s are designed to accommodate analog cameras where HDVRs will work with both analog and digital IP cameras. If your system involves IP cameras alone and you do not, nor will you ever use a LAN (Local Area Network) in the future, then a HDVR is the way to go.

If you already have a LAN, which may or may not be part of a WAN (Wide Area Network), and you intend to use it for your video system, then you’ll need to purchase a NVR. This is because it will work in conjunction with your IP cameras in a network environment. Most of the time a separate network is installed just for the camera system. This assures that the client’s existing business LAN is not impacted in a negative way because of the additional bandwidth required for camera use.

Video Verification

Ohio State PoliceThe reason for having a video surveillance system varies depending on whom you ask, but most of the time it involves the prevention of crime and the verification of alarms so the police department does not waste valuable resources because of false alarms. For example, in Akron, Ohio, the city fathers, in conjunction with the Akron police department, require all calls for police assistance be accompanied by some form of ‘alarm verification.’ This can be a neighbor, a family member, or a professional alarm monitoring center–someone who will witness the presence of a human being on site at the time of the alarm.

“Efficient, accurate alarm verification is crucial to the success of any security monitoring service. By making it possible to accurately determine if an alarm was activated by a real intrusion or safety breach, Visonic’s reliable alarm monitoring solutions help service providers significantly reduce the high costs of false alarms” (

If you’ve ever been charged for repeat false alarms by the village or city in which you operate, then you know how expensive false alarm fines can be and how important video verification is to your financial bottom line. In many municipalities the more false alarms you have the more the fines are. In fact, $1,000.00 fines are not unheard of where alarm systems continue to cry wolf multiple times each month, especially where it involves fire services.

One way to assure verification is to have a professional alarm company monitor your video surveillance system along with your security system. Another way to achieve this is to view images on your personal mobile device(s) when movement has been detected inside the premises. This is achieved using a smartphone(s) or tablet(s) in conjunction with a cellular data/Internet connection.

As a backup, many of these Internet-connected cameras also contain a micro-SD chip on which video images are stored. For example, where a camera can detect movement, the image that caused the alarm is typically stored on the chip for later review. This is in addition to sending one or more images to you via email or directly to your mobile device via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which is a method of sending graphical content, video and sound clips over a cellular network.

If the source of the alarm warrants a call to the police department, you or a central monitoring station operator can make the call to the police department. In some cases the third-party mobile application will allow you to dispatch or cancel by pressing a soft button on your mobile device.

In closing, there are many variables in the selection of a CCTV system and that’s why it’s wise to ask the professionals at Electronic Systems Consultants LLC of Greater Ohio to review your application and need before you decide whether to go with analog or digital IP, as well as which camera resolution your situation requires.

How to Purchase a Modern Camera System Index:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

ESC Can Help

In order to put all of this together, in order to purchase the right camera for your circumstance, it’s necessary to have the help of a highly technical, successful security integration firm, like Electronic Systems Consultants LLC of Greater Ohio. To discuss your situation with an ESC professional, call 614-754-1393, send an email to ESC@Tpromo.Com, or use the comment/suggestion form below.  –John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner