Sunday, March 21, 2010

CCTV surveillance systems used as a crime fighting and prevention

CCTV surveillance systems play an important role in fighting and preventing local and international crime. These closed circuit television systems were in place in London before the July 7th bombings and this footage is being used to identify suspects and investigate the attacks.

Besides fighting terrorism, CCTV security systems installed in public places or retail markets can deter crime, provide the police with leads, help citizens feel safer, and improve the economy of a crime-stricken area. Most CCTV systems have now gone digital for improved performance, urveillance camera maneuverability, and quicker feedback as compared to analog systems.

Implementing CCTV systems

Law enforcement or security professionals best support CCTV systems. These teams of rofessionals need to monitor the CCTV video evidence on a timely basis and they need to be properly trained in order to interpret suspicious behavior caught on the system. When all of these factors are in place, then the CCTV security system will be effective for keeping citizens and shoppers safe. In the case of some municipalities or businesses not being able to afford all of the necessary components of a CCTV system, many CCTV providers can recommend a scalable approach so that priority security needs may be addressed first. Then, additional surveillance cameras can be purchased in ucceeding years as the budget allows.

Digital CCTV systems and surveillance cameras

A modern digital CCTV security system consists of hardware and software components that collect and transmit vital surveillance camera information over fiber optic lines to control rooms staffed by security professionals and equipped with digital CCTV monitors. An example of the surveillance cameras used for reducing crime in LA's MacArthur Park include CyberDome DayNite 25X cameras equipped with removable infrared cut filters, 25x optical zoom lenses, 12x digital zoom capabilities, and 360-degree PTZ (pan tilt zoom) capabilities. This MacArthur Park system also includes GE Storesafe DVRs (digital video recorders) and GE KTD-405 keypad controllers. DVRs are capable of saving CCTV data to a PC for up to ten weeks of recording and some even feature motion etection technology, which means that the footage is only recorded when motion triggers the DVR system. Digital surveillance cameras range in type from compact, fixed cameras to direction-controlled models that can see in the dark under various lighting conditions. CCTV decision-makers need to know what kind of job each surveillance camera must fulfill. Will it watch the flow of passerbys (fixed cameras) or will it need to monitor a crime-targeted area (dome cameras with PTZ functions)? These video security managers also need to consider weatherproofing their surveillance cameras if the cameras are mounted in an especially hot or cold climate, or if the viewing fields could be obscured by dirt or dust.

What kind of crimes do CCTV systems prevent?

Evidence has shown that CCTV systems mostly deter property crimes and robberies, but not more violent crimes such as rape and aggravated assault. CCTV systems may not catch these crimes because they may occur away from the surveillance cameras in more deserted areas.
Fortunately in most situations, when a CCTV system is in place, criminals generally shy away from these monitored areas fearing prosecution since these recorded images can be used in court. As noted previously, in order for a CCTV system to be effective, the electronic system must be used in conjunction with human know-how and skills and it should be carefully integrated into existing security plans.

CCTV: Looking ahead

In the next few years, digital CCTV systems will evolve into wireless CCTV systems that employ GSM (global system for mobile communication) or 3G (third generation) onnections. These wireless systems are completely portable and can deliver live images to a PC, an Internet phone, or a laptop. The cameras are tiny, but include many of the sophisticated features of full size digital CCTV cameras. CCTV customers are also seeking IP-based solutions with LAN/WAN delivery options despite some lags in the technology's image quality and frame rate. "Make no mistake about it, the future is wireless," says Thomas M. Wade, president of Samsung CCTV. "We'll be pushing crime-related images to police cars in the future. Imagine an abduction or robbery in which the responding units are seeing the video and the suspects as they are rolling to the scene. It's all possible and it is the general direction of the industry."

There is also talk of linking CCTV cameras together to form a worldwide network to prevent terrorism, but this international surveillance system would cost billions of dollars and would require extensive international cooperation.

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Night vision security camera offers home and office protection

The hours we keep don’t always correlate with daylight hours. We find ourselves working after dark in order to get everything accomplished, at home or at work. Next time you find yourself out late, wouldn’t you feel safer knowing your office or home was equipped with a night vision security camera? A night vision security camera provides clear images no matter what kind of lighting conditions it’s placed in.

You can use a night vision security camera in any darkened area, such as a garage. How many times have your kids left the garage opened all day? Usually that’s harmless, but on occasion small animals or neighborhood pets can crawl into the garage. With a night vision camera, you can check out these darkened spaces and eliminate any unwanted surprises.

Easy to install and adapts to a variety of applications

A simple wireless system takes hardly any time at all to install. All you have to do is pick the proper angle of surveillance and plug the camera into the receiver, which then transmits a feed to your television or computer, depending on the camera you purchase and your personal preference. In less time than it takes to make a microwave dinner, you can set up a night vision security camera in your home or office.

There are different kinds of night vision camera because we all have different security needs. Think for a moment about what kind of security suits you best. Some cameras capture color images during the day and black and white images at night. Another kind of night vision security camera, such as the Low-Light Wireless NightWatch Camera from X10, captures only b/w images, which makes it ideal for any darkened area.

A night vision security camera pays back peace of mind

You may be asking yourself if a night vision security camera is worth the cost. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” You can purchase a wireless camera system that you use every day for a year for a cost that equals just a few dollars a week, if that. That’s right -- just a few dollars a week. For the price of a magazine or a latte per week, you, your fellow coworkers, and/or your family can relax in knowing that all activity in any poorly lit area is being monitored.

Cost-effective, easy to install, and able to capture images indoors or out and in all kinds weather -- what are you waiting for? Now is the time to consider purchasing your night vision security camera. Protect your home or office today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This door won't open for everyone-that's the idea behind Door Access Systems. In other words, through these systems only authorized persons are allowed access to a particular area / or areas of a building.
Door Access Systems are extremely cost effective way to provide a high level of security in homes and offices.

The core of Proximity system is the Proximity Reader and Proximity Card. There are two types of readers in the market - One that has an inbuilt controller with capability to authorize access with or without being connected to a PC. The other kind requires a PC to be connected at all times.

Depending upon the configuration of the premises, one or more readers may be used. If more than one reader is used then it is called a Networked system, which is usually connected to a PC. Some systems use a 8 core or a 16 core wire for connecting all the Readers while some systems use only 2 core wire, thereby reducing the cost of wiring and maintenance.

The better systems have readers that can be used interchangeably in a standalone or a networked configuration. Also, some systems have bulky controllers attached to the readers that require a separate source of power as well as add to the cost. The current day readers have built-in controllers and can be directly connected to a PC.

Another use of Proximity systems is to record attendance for employees. For recording attendance, minimum two readers are required - one for IN and one for OUT. The employees are supposed to show their cards to the appropriate Reader upon arrival or exit. These transactions of IN and OUT are recorded in the attached PC. From the PC various reports can be printed.

Most of the Access control systems come with ready made attendance software as an option.

The advanced Proximity Based systems come with inbuilt Password Based system too. It is possible to specify if the employees can enter using Password alone or Proximity Card alone or Both are required. Such an option gives additional flexibility to define the Access Policy for the organization. Some other features of such systems are:

* Possible to define times of the day when the card is valid. Access granted if a valid Card is flashed and/or correct password is entered, provided the access is being attempted during the pre-authorized hours of the day.
* If an employee is under Duress to open the door then the Duress Entry option allows the opening of the door with alarm on the PC (if connected)
* Powerful software based on Windows OS that does not require a dedicated PC.
* Each Reader (one for each door) can be designated as an Incoming Door or an Outgoing door or an Internal door or Exit on Duty door.
* Capacity Upto 1000 users (employees)
* Each user can be assigned a Password and/OR a Proximity Card
* Users are assigned to groups and privileges are declared at Group level for easy administration
* Possible to define IN/OUT time for a Group on the day of the week basis. Beyond the defined times the Controller will not grant access and will record the event in the PC as Access denied to .
* User Groups can be restricted to certain Controllers and the valid time zones can be defined for each day of the week
* Special alarm events (e.g. Forced entry) can be monitored on the PC
* Option to lock out Controller for one minute if three wrong attempts are made in one minute
* Changes in configuration settings can be easily downloaded to all Controllers easily for the PC.
* Even after Power failure, the Controller retains the last properties defined/downloaded on it.
* Even in case of PC failure, the Controller can continue to operate the Access control system using the last properties defined/downloaded for that Controller. However, recording of events in not possible in such a case
* Access denied events (e.g. employee trying to enter at odd hours) can also be recorded
* Duress entry option allows entry like normal entry but logs an alarm event on the central PC.

* Relay output for connection to door strikes/latches
* Independent NO/NC (programmable) input for connection to a switch for opening the door from inside.
* Elaborate Audio and Visual signals in response to commands
* Programmable duration for Time to open the door and Time to close the door, if connected with a magnetic switch
* Tamper switch output separately available
The Readers/Controllers have to be connected with electromagnetic latches/strikes to control the doors. Also, wiring could be a significant cost.

Magnetic Swipe Card System
Here one has to insert a tamper-proof photo ID card into a reader, which scans it, and only then the person can enter the premises. These systems can work with or without computer connectivity and can be further used for Time Attendance with Pay Roll Accounting facility.

Functionality same as the proximity door access system, except that here the range is up to 6 inches (approx).

These locks which are used widely in brief cases, can also be installed at the door. Here the person has to enter a particular code like 123 and only then the can opened.

In recent times, there are large number of Biometric Systems that are commercially available. Such Biometric systems are based on unique characteristics of human being. The most common, reliable and successful system is the one based on Finger Prints. Users are supposed to put their thumb/index finger (or any specified finger) in the finger reader. The system then compares the finger print that is read with that in the central database for authentication.

Most of the Biometric Systems do not keep an image of the fingerprint but a template. A template is basically a number that is calculated based on various characteristics of the fingerprint. Such an approach is desirable so that unauthorised persons may not sneak in unauthorised images of finger print in the database. When a Finger print is to be matched, it's 'template' number is computed and compared with that stored in the database. Most systems allow for dry, greasy, chaffed and minor cuts on the fingers.

A biometric security system isn’t limited to reading only an individual’s fingerprints, it could also read that person’s retina. A retinal scan involves analysing the blood vessels at the back of the eye. Low intensity light is used to scan the unique patterns of the retina. This is a very accurate system if the individual being scanned cooperates properly with the technology and focuses on the given point.

Facial recognition, a further biometric characteristic which can be employed as the basis for an entry system, analyses facial characteristics. A digital camera will develop a file of a user’s face for authentication. This type of recognition is still quite complex and thus reserved for a niche market. It has become quite popular in casinos where it has been employed to create a facial database of scam players for quick detection by security personnel.

A voice recognition system is based on a voice-to-print authentication. Technology transforms voice into text which is then compared with a stored sample. This identity system requires a microphone and could shortly be seen to have replaced security systems used currently such as pins and passwords. Although it is quite an accurate technology, people feel safer if this authentication method is combined with finger-scan technology in their identity systems as this is believed to be much more accurate.

Here the person has to place his palm over the reader which on finding it similar to the one stored allows the person's entry.

These are used I airports, railways and big hotels and in those industries where sanitized and dust free environment is very essential e.g. pharmaceutical, software, food packaging etc.

The systems currently being offered in the market come in with variety of features to cater to different types of requirements. Along with the basic security functions of validating and controlling access, the PC based systems offer optional features like Time and Attendance, MIS Reporting etc., providing the management with a lot of value- added benefits. Some of the most useful features include:

Multiple entrance/exit monitoring. The capacities ranging from a few users to hundreds of users - easily configurable for organization of any size.

The system can interface with the personnel information files that may be there already in a computerized environment. This makes the installation quick and reduces the data-entry errors.

Flexible Time zones - highly useful for controlling entry / exit as per shift timings; Basically, the PC based systems offer the possibility of programming the rules of entrance and exit.

PC based systems are very user friendly and offer unmatched flexibility in setting up various parameters.

PC based systems also keep the record of the transactions on the hard disk for extended periods of time.
User selectable personal identification numbers - provides additional security.