Over the last decade or so, our industry has seen an explosion in the number of camera installations. A few factors have led to this sudden growth. For starters, installing cameras offers tremendous security benefits. These include the ability to view live and recorded footage of your property at any time. Additionally, these security benefits also include the deterrence created by a visible camera presence. After all, thieves stalking out their next target will always prefer a site not monitored by an array of cameras. Finally, falling prices and rising technology have made this a perfect time to dip your toe into the surveillance “pool.” In this post, we share some of our top surveillance system design tips to aid you in designing and executing your own camera security plan!

First, we’ll look at a couple design tips that will help you maximize your security. Specifically, we’ll explain the variables presented during camera selection, as well as the importance of placing your cameras in ideal places to capture what you want to see. Then, we’ll review some of the legal guidelines dealing with camera views and other laws surrounding the surveillance industry. Finally, we’ll point out the benefits of working with a professional security outfit to help you install your cameras. Now, let’s dive in with a look at how to choose the right camera for your job!

Choosing the Right Camera for the Job

Luckily for surveillance customers, manufacturers have created cameras for almost every possible application. Unfortunately, this can also lead to confusion in choosing the proper cameras for your security needs. For example, installing an indoor-rated camera outdoors can lead to weather-related issues shortly after installation. Not every camera was built to be installed in areas exposed to the weather. Additionally, cameras differ in how they react to factors such as environments with little or no light, or even extreme light in some cases.

A sign reading "Warning: Security Cameras in Use"

Installing security cameras on your property can help you both solve and even deter any crime on your property.

Finally, cameras vary greatly in how far they are designed to see. For example, some customers want to view the area right in front of a camera. Others wish to see areas 100 feet away from a camera’s location, or even more. Camera manufacturers create different types of lenses that can accomplish each of these goals. Therefore, choosing a camera with the wrong type of lens can leave customers unhappy with what they see after installation. Doing some research and pre-planning what types of cameras to install in different locations around your property goes a long way towards addressing this issue. Calling up local security compoanies for help can go a long way as well, as we’ll show you in greater detail in a little bit. Next up, let’s check out some tips on getting the best potential views from your cameras.

Getting the Best Views Available

Even if you choose the best cameras possible for your application, you may find yourself underwhelmed by the actual footage your cameras record. This often happens because consumers fail to map out camera locations as effectively as possible. Sometimes, this occurs when people simply fail to purchase enough cameras for their property. However, we can often find ways to do “less with more” by choosing installation locations that allow every camera to see as much of your desired target areas as possible. For example, we can install cameras meant to monitor wide swaths of land as high as possible to create extra coverage. We also get creative with camera angles to eliminate “dead areas” as much as possible.

Additionally, identifying your property’s “choke points” can go a long way towards creating efficient surveillance coverage. Choke points are the areas of a property that people and/or cars must pass through in order to enter or exit your property. Covering these areas ensures that nobody can come or go completely unnoticed. Finally, installing cameras in such a way that anticipates people approaching them also helps. If you want to create security for a particular entrance, remember that you want your camera looking away from this point, rather than right at it from another angle. This helps you catch a face as someone approaches a door, rather than a side profile after they’ve already approached. Let’s now turn our attention to surveillance system design tips regarding important camera installation laws and guidelines!

Following Local Installation Ordinances and Codes

Different areas of the country have different regulations regarding camera installation. In particular, Massachusetts has an “all party consent” policy when it comes to cameras that capture recorded audio as well as video footage. This means that every party being recorded needs to explicitly consent to this recording taking place. Of course, when it comes to installing cameras, you’d find it simply impossible to make this happen. For this reason, we simply define installing audio-capturing surveillance in our state as an illegal practice.

Moreover, Massachusetts has a very specific law against interfering with the privacy of others. Section 1B of Chapter 214 in Title 1, Part 3 of Massachusetts General Law (much more easily cited as “The Massachusetts Privacy Act”) is most often cited in instances in which someone claims a breach of privacy. According to the law — which you can read in full here — “A person shall have a right against unreasonable, substantial or serious interference with his privacy.”

A sign reading "Private."

If your cameras see above a neighboring fence or through any windows, you could be found in violation of privacy regulations.

When we install interior cameras, we consider cameras that see into bathrooms, bedrooms, or any type of locker rooms out of bounds of the law. When it comes to exterior cameras, we avoid installing cameras that see over fencing or into any windows. Taking a “better safe than sorry” approach to these guidelines represents one of our most important surveillance system design tips!

Experiencing the Benefits of Working with a Professional Security Company

Over our 35-plus years in business, we’ve helped well over a thousand people design and execute complete security plans. We have a lot to offer potential customers who choose to work with us. For starters, we have the proper licenses to complete camera work. Any company in the security industry needs to obtain the proper contractors’ license. In Massachusetts, security contractors require an “S” license to operate. Per the commonwealth’s Department of Public Safety: “In addition to an electrical license, anyone who wishes to engage in the business of installing, repairing, maintaining, or selling any Security Systems, CCTV/Surveillance Systems, Access Control Systems, or Door Entry Systems must obtain an S-license from the Department of Public Safety.”

In additional to holding this license, we also go through the proper channels when installing security. Namely, we pull permits before beginning any electrical work. Upon completing a project, we also walk through the site with town or city inspectors. Taking these steps ensures you that we’ve completed the work safely and correctly, within the framework of all building and electrical codes.

Finally, calling a company such as ourselves to help design your surveillance system will help address the issues already described here. We can help you go through your camera options to choose the right equipment. This may involve going through spec sheets together. If desired, we can even set up meetings with company reps to give you experience with their products! Likewise, we can also help get you the views you desire, while making sure we follow the legal guidelines from the previous section.

Putting Our Surveillance System Design Tips to Work for You

We hope that these surveillance system design tips help you maximize your surveillance system’s security! As always, we invite you to contact us with any questions raised by this post. We will happily answer any and all of your security-related inquiries. Moreover, we also invite you to take advantage of our site survey program. We’ve long provided both new and existing customers with free security audits and security equipment quotes. Perhaps you have some surveillance in place and wish to take advantage of the information shared here. Or, maybe you’re new to this whole “camera thing” and want to get started. Either way, we are here to help. Together, we can create an efficient and effective camera system to help you keep your property as safe and secure as possible!