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Neighbor Security Cameras


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I have some neighborhood kids that did something to the display almost every night last year. I caught them and called the cops on them and the cops went to them and talked to them but that didn't stop it. I also had a neighbor that hates my display with a passion and told another neighbor they were going to trash the display last year but never did. I have concern over this neighbor because each year they become more vocal and have a feeling they will stop talking and start doing. I can't really afford to go out and buy a camera system but thought about buying a couple of fake ones and putting up a sign that says display is under 24 hour video surveillance. For the people that have done this has it worked. Do they still mess with the display? I would like to put in a real camera system but that will probably have to wait till next year unless someone has some recomendations that aren't too expensive, but really wanted opinions from people who have tried the fake ones.

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With issues like that (every night??) I think it's definitely time to invest in at least a cheap security camera set.

The fake cameras I've seen look insanely fake. Real cameras these days are small and don't look anything like the fake cameras (which look like a cheap camera from the early 80's...)

-Tim

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I have been thinking about the same issue, simply because I cannot afford to repair or replace what I have invested this year for my display. So, I am thinking camera's but also a couple dozen donuts delivered to the local law enforcement office.

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I agree with Tim. (Slaps self. :P) Since you have already been vandalized and threatened with more, you really need a couple of real cameras out there.

I wouldn't get the cheapest ones, though, since that's just wasting money. You can get a couple of good ones with decent night vision plus a DVR card for the PC for <$500. Probably <$400.

And if you catch the people doing it, it will pay for itself. (Tell them you'll drop the charges for $5000.)

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Yeah Tim it was almost every night. I turn the lights on Thanksgiving night and it started around December 1st and went on until around December 20th. It was small things nothing big. They would cut one string a night or cut a guy wires for some small trees. I was replacing these things daily and I could never catch them because they were doing things that they could do in 2 seconds and then take off. The one night I caught them they were trying to cut the guy wires for my mega tree and that's the night I got the cops involved because I saw who it was. It's because of them no mega tree this year. I am not doing anything that could not be replaced easy enough. It's just hard with 4 kids and spending what I am spending on lights themselves (which I am keeping to a minimum this year) to find an extra $400 - $500 for security cameras. My kids Christmas comes first.

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Make sure that before you buy a "cheap system" that you check with you local law enforcement agency (police) to see is a date stamp is required to be used in court or they will simply throw the evidence out before they even look at it. I have a local "check collector" guy that use to be in the survelliance business to tell me all the ins and outs of security. Just a little info..

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Whatever you do, don't just get cameras and forget about the signs!

The signs are the real active deterrent. If people think they will be caught, they think twice about destroying stuff. If they don't know the cameras are there, they are going to destroy stuff anyways.

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Whatever you do, don't just get cameras and forget about the signs!

The signs are the real active deterrent. If people think they will be caught, they think twice about destroying stuff. If they don't know the cameras are there, they are going to destroy stuff anyways.

Hah! Tell that to the guy that stole my son's bike. He stood within 2 feet of the big red and white sign and still stole it.

But signs likely will help deter people that are known "around town".

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Okay you guys have got me looking into this deeper. A couple of questions.

1. Should I go with a DVR, VCR or PC Card?

2. What about cameras? I don't know anything about looking for security cameras. What sort of specs should I be looking for.

I found a package at Home Depot for around $300 with 4 cameras and the PC card included in the package. Should I buy a DVR for around $300 and then buy the cameras separately?

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Guest Jeff_Womack

Let me ask you a question. When you turn off your display, how bright is your yard? Some downware pointed CFL floods will light up your yard (and the signs that say they are being recorded) and will likely prevent some if not all of the problem.

I would also consider some sort of fence to make the quick getaway a little harder. I am not saying to b00bie trap your yard but a nice fence like Anthony in Houston does or something even simpler like PVC poles striped with red electrical tape to resemble candy canes with lights strung between them. One of the guys in Houston puts motion sensor lights behind his signs in his yard pointing back at the house. Whatever you can do to startle the little punks will help!

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Hah! Tell that to the guy that stole my son's bike. He stood within 2 feet of the big red and white sign and still stole it.

But signs likely will help deter people that are known "around town".

Yea, I saw that.

Signs are a lot like locks - they are going to keep the honest people honest. The REAL criminal element however is NOT going to care if you have signs, cameras, or whatever. Since they don't understand consequences, nothing is going to deter them. I think of these people as 'for profit' criminals.

Usually the vandalism and petty theft we, as holiday decorators, experience is perpetrated by kids looking for a thrill or dirt-bag adults that think they are vigilantes. It's these people that cameras, and more importantly the signs, stop. I like to think of these people as 'situational' criminals. If you remove the situations that lead them to believe that they think they can succeed, you prevent them from committing the crime.

Unfortunately for the OP the police didn't help, so I'm not sure how much the cameras will deter. However, they will provide evidence in a civil suit. (and I agree with a previous poster - check with someone in-the-know about using video as evidence). Hit the parents with a small claims suit for a few hundred dollars and see how fast they stop ;).

--------

Someone asked about how bright my yard is at night after the show. Short answer: Prison yard. I have 8 100W flood lights that make the yard look like 12 noon.

IMHO, I don't think 'motion sensor' lights do anything for deterrence. If the whole yard is dark and a couple of floods come on, big deal. If you are a vandal and the yard is dark to begin with, there is NO deterrence.

Think about it: By the time that light comes on, the vandal/thief is already in your yard and is already quite close to their objective. They are going to smash/grab whatever they want and bolt out of there long before anyone notices that the lights came on.

If however you have the lights ON when the dirt-bags roll up, they are going to think twice. Is there someone watching? How long will it take me to get to that thing I want to steal/destroy? If you instill the possibility that they will be caught (IE, you remove the 'situation' in which they think they will succeed), chances are they WON'T commit the crime.

CFL Flood lights are reasonably priced, and don't consume much power. My 8 consume about 160W of power, or about $.13 per day - a total of less than $6 for the entire 45 (or so) days the display is up.

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What you folks are talking about in laymans terms are the three conditions needed for a cime to happen; A motivatied theif, a easy target and a lack in capable guardian. We cannot control the person so we have to harden the target with security measures and have a visible presence to deter people. Security cameras, lights, and fences are great. Another good thing to do is leave a light on in a front room and try to vary your schdule as much as possible. Try to come and go at different times of the day. Just something I learned from my 5 years in school for a criminal justice degree.

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Just a couple of cheep ways to go...does your neighbor across the street or next door have any video surveillance. If so, ask him/her to include your yard. And, as far as motion lights...maybe you can rewire a motion light so the detector is on the outside of your house, but it triggers a light to go on just inside the front window of your house.

Last, I could not find the youtube video, but someone did a video of how to make a trip line using of course a trip line", and a wall switch to turn on a radio and a light on.

Edit for spelling

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Definately get the motion sensor lights. I would get a nice big pooch too...

I am lucky, my neighbor across the street is a former Security Manager for a big company. he has a camera set-up looking from his house and I am putting my donation box in full view and he said he would watch it for me.

The kids will grow up and move away someday, but that doesn't excuse their behavior now, have you talked to the parents?

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No I have not talked to the parents. The ones I am most worried about the parents are the ones causing the problems. One of the neighbors told me last year that the neighbor I am having problems with asked her daugthers boyfriend to tear up the display. This is the parent that's doing this so talking to the parent won't do any good.

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If you know the people involved in the issue, it may be worth contacting your lawyer and having them send a nice letter stating that because of issues in previous years. This year 24 hour surveillance has been installed and any damage caused will be not only prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but a civil action for the damages will be files against all parties involved.

If a minor child (uner 18) does something....most likely its going to be a slap on the hand from the police....maybe some community service...blah blah blah. When you start talking law suit with money involved...they may think twice about telling their kids to damage your display.

Something to think about.

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Why do kids and neighbors have to be idiots? Just a few people always ruin it for everyone else. Why would neighbors want to destroy a great display? Could you put up any small fencing or trip wires around your yard? This way if people try to leave fast and you have a couple trip wires or a fence it will be harder for them to et away. I dont have any problems here, we have 1.49999 acres and the farthest inflatable is about 250 feet from the house with other lights and nothing is ever done to anything.

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