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A case for security cameras

I little bit of local awesomeness from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department:

A Patterson (NY) man was committed to the Putnam County Jail in lieu of bail in connection with three separate thefts of copper fixtures from cell communications towers in Patterson and Kent.

The rest can be read here: Man charged with stealing copper from cellphone tower sites

I once got into an argument with my boss about transmitter site security cameras.  His attitude was “what difference does it make, nobody will do anything about it anyway.”  Clearly, if the police have something to go on, they will take action.  I know that several E911 sites in Dutchess and Ulster counties have been victims of copper theft as well.

IP security cameras are inexpensive and fairly reliable, provided you keep them out of the direct elements.  We have dozens of old Windows XP computers floating around which, with the addition of a software package like Blue Iris, can be repurposed as a record and save system.  The advantage of Blue Iris is the record on motion. The cameras do not need to be monitored continuously; if something happens, go back and look at the stored video.

The old Windows XP boxes do not need to be connected to the outside world unless one wants to look at the security system from the studio or home.   Alternatively, if one is Linux savvy, something like Zoneminder or Xeoma look like full featured video surveillance software packages.  I have not fooled around with these yet, but perhaps when I have some spare time…

The point is, for not too much money, a full featured video surveillance system can be installed at remote transmitter sites to keep track of comings and goings.  If enough idiots get busted for stealing copper, perhaps it will stop (or at least slow down).

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5 comments to A case for security cameras

  • Mark Mueller

    One of the things I like about Blue Iris is the remote access is pretty straightforward, and you can set it up to upload whatever it records due to motion sensor trips to an offsite server, so even if the bad guys get to the local computer the video is already stored elsewhere.

    I also like the cameras that can be set to send stills via email when their motion detector goes off. With those, you don’t even need BlueIris or a local computer.

  • Lowell

    The D-Link cameras have enough horsepower to record the video to a flash card. No computer needed at all. Just give it a large capacity card, set it for motion detection, and let it run.

  • Kevin Kidd, CSRE/AMD

    I use BlueIris here at my home/shop and a couple of other transmitter sites. The ability to receive motion alerts AND look at live video AND off site storage is a real piece of mind for those of us that spend too much time on the road.

  • I know of a site that had a QSee 8 channel system that records and also allows monitorning via web and smartphone. Since the site installed cable internet as a backup STL they had enough bandwidth for a fulltime video feed in the studio as well as a smartphone stream for the engineer. They housed it in a lockable rack with a UPS and the last time I heard it’s been working well. It makes me curious if a dedicated appliance is better than a roll-your-own solution.

  • Bob Roe

    Tell your cheap ass boss a 8 camera 720P HD NVR system can be had under $600.00. They produce great images at night and have remote apps for PC’s and smartphones. Have a system at the transmitter site hopefully as a deterrent.

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