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    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      We lived in safe neighborhood with zero crime until this year. My car was broken into on the driveway and now I notice various homes in the neighborhood are being broken into.

      We have a Ring doorbell and dumb floodlights on the corners of the house, but not Ring floodlights that record video (for $199 a pop).

      I notice Nest is selling a home security system and Ring has announced one that's expected to ship in March. Any advice?

    • ia

      Some things that matter to me are placement, resolution, and night time performance. Ideally, I can have a DVR somewhere not easily seen, wired cameras (maybe PoE?), and access wirelessly. It’d be nice if cameras were small an unobtrusive-the Ring is nice because it captures a face (some of it at least) where higher position usually only gets hoodies and car descriptions a plate and face would be great.

      I was looking at a setup that had 4K IR cameras in weather proof housings. Started with Zsimething in the name. A friend has them and performance is very good. You can trigger with motion or let them loop. Sends alerts on motion too.

      I would cover doors, gates, garage interior, driveway, side yard, and maybe backyard.

    • yaypie

      I have security cameras covering all the entrances to our house, plus our driveway.

      Two of them are wired professional-grade security cameras that are always on. They cover the front and side doors. I have an old iMac on my desk that runs SecuritySpy, which gives me a live feed of the cameras (so I can see when UPS or FedEx silently leaves a package) and also records video to a Dropbox folder whenever motion is detected. They work great for me, but required a lot of tinkering to set up, so I wouldn't recommend this setup unless you're a nerd and enjoy playing with quirky gadgets and software.

      I also have three battery powered first-generation Arlo cameras that cover the driveway and other doors. Since they're battery powered they only record when motion is detected, but they're super convenient since I didn't have to run any wires and I can easily move them around if I need to. The batteries seem to last 4 or 5 months between changes. I think the newer rechargeable models may last even longer.

      If you're looking for some peace of mind and want something quick to install and easy to deal with, I definitely recommend Arlo.

    • Bradford

      tl;dr: SmartThings home automation can do monitoring with integration and logic rules.

      I agree with lots of what ian408 said. I think when you said Zsomething Ian you were refering to either Zwave or Zigbee which is a control protocol. I would add a few things to consider. I looked at these things when Samsung purchased Harman so the items I recommend are just the ones I have experience with.
      Samsung purchased SmartThings a while ago, the integration it provides I think helps and adds some additional features. This does require a SmartHub at home for all the things to work. I like the https://www.smartthings.com/products/netgear-arlo-q-plus-hd-security-camera (yes there are others) as it integates with SmartThings easily. I agree with Ian's recommendation of recording and this unit includes recording both on camera and remotely. It also includes remote monitoring and is PoE and can be used wirelessly as well with local power adapter. It does the alerts on motion etc.
      However including SmartThings adds some other things that I think help. One can set it up so that it turns on and off lights inside the house through SmartThings. I also recommend a SmartThings siren. Yes, sirens and strobes from https://shop.smartthings.com/products/aeon-labs-siren-gen-5 (yes there are others).
      There are lots of other things to add on, like tagging your family members
      (including the dogs) with tracking devices https://shop.smartthings.com/products/samsung-smartthings-arrival-sensor that would automatically indicate it is an approved person, no alerts sent to you etc.
      Plus you can integrate lots of things. My coworker and I tricked out his house and it is a little scary at times just how many cool things one can do with SmartThings - yup can get expensive.
      The things I liked is the timing and automation. Depending on how indepth you want to go, you can set it so that if someone is home (occupancy sensor, lights are on, pressure pads under cars ... etc.) that some cameras don't alert you but other ones do. You can also set time of day stuff. I have my system sitting in a box waiting for the move to the new house (I stocked up while I had the employee discount on Samsung hardware).
      You can also get into the down right silly, my friend put a sensor inside his freezer so he could keep track of who was eating his ice cream. It would alert him that the girlfriend was eating the ice cream. Be careful with tracking that stuff, it was hysterical to watch though when his girlfriend caught on. It was humorous not advesarial, she just kept moving the sensor, including putting it on the dog bed.
      There is also an ADT package that you can integrate.

    • Bradford

      I forgot, I recommend wired power with battery backup. How many of us really want to change batteries (it will alert when getting low). Also you would be able to talk with the pups in real time from anywhere.

    • flei

      Wow! Where do you folks live anyway? I grew up in LA, and sure am glad I settled in the small rural town (pop. <2k) where I live. I literally do not even have any locks on my doors! My house was built in 1742 so was built without locks, and none have ever been installed. Wouldn't matter if they were, because anyone who wanted to break in could just break out a window and come right in. Fortunately, burglary here is pretty much non-existent; the police log mostly consists of rounding up stray animals and the occasional car accident or ticket. It sure must be stressful worrying about someone breaking into your house.

    • ia

      I’m sure there’s nothing I can do once it happens. But if I can prevent it from happening, I’m all in.

    • Shay

      do you have a house alarm fitted? CCTV is a good deterrent for car theft but you want to secure your house also?

      Get a professionally fitted house alarm, with sensors on all windows and doors. Set it when leaving the house and set it for indoor security before you go to bed. If someone breaks in, the alarm goes off.

      i wouldn't bother getting it monitored, most alarms nowadays can send a message to your mobile / cell phone and one other.

      Obvious stuff like not leaving car keys in view from the front door, so that they can't be fished out, close windows when leaving house, put good locks on all doors, etc.

      it's a pita but necessary nowadays, 99% of burglurs will run if a house alarm goes off, same with a house fitted with cctv, the idea is to get them to move on down the street to a neighbour whose house security is worse than yours.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Turns out we do have a home alarm. I had forgotten because we haven't used it in 10 years. Our neighborhood of maybe 50 homes was built at the same time and all the houses were outfitted with alarms. The neighbors and us set them off so many times that we all stopped using them because we woke each other up. I guess the solution is to have the alerts notify our phones, not the huge bells on the sides of our houses.

      My wife and NextDoor point out that our problem is smash & grabs for the cars. I leave my car unlocked with no valuables inside, so they just open the doors and rifle through my glovebox and leave. Ah, life in the middle of the prosperous Silicon Valley.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      My neighborhood has major theft and burglary problems. And for last year I’ve had an addition being added to the front of my house. I’m a thief’s perfect target: an insecure construction site just feet from the street.

      With a combination of research and trial and error (actually being burglarized), I’ve learned it’s most important to deter crimes from happening. Visible cameras, annoying alarm system signs, clear signs that a dog lives with you (if applicable), an extremely responsive siren, and quick, bright, motion-triggered flood lights are immensely helpful steering criminals away from your property. IMHO implementing some/all of those things properly is more important than the actual equipment selection. It’s better to avoid something happening than have a wonderful camera with perfect clarity on masks, flake plates, etc. You do not want to be a detective. You will not get your valuables back.

      I’d suggest going with a security system that has a proven track record. Nest's and Ring's TBD systems are not yet the answer. I have a LiveWatch System, and it has successfully thwarted an intruder from burglarizing my house. It consists of a panel and an assortment of sensors. The panel communicates with a monitoring team via cell radio and your WiFi. It has a battery backup. The sensors are solid, reliable and all wireless. It covers the necessary corner cases, and works when thieves cut your internet, flip your main electrical breaker, and/or smash the panel, etc, all while you're not around to respond to an alarm notification.

      I desperately want the quality and useably from Nest or Nest-like tech company. Sadly, Nest’s shiny new system isn’t up to par. It has far too many vulnerabilities for production with a limited sensor selection. Get LiveWatch, it’s the best for now and The Wire Cutter agrees. Or something similar. And it’s worth the investment over decades-old alarm system you have.

    • ia

      Kevin, out of curiosity, what's the mix of age groups? Most of my neighbors are Jonny-on-the-spot and though there's been one spectacular burglary (thieves caught at gunpoint), most never really start as many of my neighbors are home and will call the PD if something is out of place. That's prevented a couple of burglaries.

      Your idea of signage is good. Keeping gates locked, garage doors closed (and remotes out of vehicles), windows closed and locked, etc. are also good deterrents.

    • Shay

      Scum broke into my house a few years ago. I was away and they forced the front door. The house alarm went off and they grabbed my helmet and bike jacket from inside the door and ran.

      Could have been worse and the alarm definitely prevented them having time to ransack the house and steal my motorbike.

      I've fitted sensor lights front and back and am looking at cameras, esp as my bike is parked on the driveway at front of the house ( no garage).

    • gorudy

      Amazon is buying Ring. Any concerns or benefits with that?

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Wow, Amazon never ceases to amaze! I wonder what the strategy is here because they already bought Blink in December, which makes security cameras and is about to come out with a doorbell like Ring's. Amazon also sells their own Amazon-branded security camera, Cloud Cam. 🤷‍♂️

      Here's their outdoor wireless battery-powered Blink camera:

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Fascinating post, Kevin. Thanks. I'm researching LiveWatch and really liking what I see.

    • kevin
      Kevin Harrington

      I haven't seen any Jonny-on-the-spot burglars. The guys and gals I've seen have all been around 25-35 years old, and on a planned mission.

      The guy that broke into my house walked down the side walk, around the side of my house, and smashed in the door within 30 seconds of stepping on my property. No hesitation whatsoever. He knew exactly who he was robbing and what to expect inside, except the alarm that went off immediately. He put down the drill he grabbed, and ran with his empty bag. All while I was sleeping in my bed at 7 am.

      One of my Nest Cam's got a nice glimpse of his face, though not too useful because the resolution is terrible. When the brazen theft thinks the camera's resolution is so poor to ID him, that alarm system comes in handy.

    • PJ
      Pj Kinsley

      In the investment world folks are quickly buying small and mid cap tech stocks.. One of the main reasons for this is the big 3 or 4 are just literally sitting on piles of cash. It's much easier for these companies to go out and buy the actual innovators, then to do all the innovating from scratch. Now don't get me wrong it's not thought that these companies aren't innovative on their own, but purchasing the company obviously enables them to get a jump start on the project, with a full dedicated team in most cases.

      But I agree that they never cease to amaze me. Also it doesn't really surprise me as they have the cash and why not grab more of the market share.

      At some point the government will scream monopoly but I don't think we are there yet.

      I'm personally looking forward to their foray into the medical and insurance fields as those are rife for a shake up.

    • Felicity

      @yaypie didn't mention the anti-car-prowler measure that I'm responsible for!

      It's my car that is parked outside. I do the obvious thing of removing valuables and things that might look valuable (no, friend, I will not just keep your Fluevog-branded reusable shopping bag when I've taken my stuff out of it! I don't want anyone to think I might have $300 shoes in my car!) But the painstaking effort that I really think makes all the difference is...my car is cluttery as shit.

      No one wants to touch my Starbucks pastry bag full of used kleenexes! No one wants to dig under the Luna bar wrappers and parking receipts in my cup holders to see if there's more than 28 cents down there! The absence of visible valuables is one thing, but the presence of a Panda Express bag full of dried up wet wipes in the footwell and a backseat layered with forgotten hats and programs from musical performances is anathema to a thief bent on speedy, lucrative crime.

      Or it could be that the Arlo pointed at the car is a good deterrent. LET ME DREAM.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      Hahaha! I got a great laugh out of that. 😂 Now I can tell Toni when I leave our cars messed up that it’s for our safety.

    • Us

      nice! LOL. Must be some savvy opportunistic thieves to know what a fluevog bag is and to avoid them by keeping that out of sight. Wait for amazon to sell a fake trash decoy set to prevent car break-ins. 5 star rated fake burger king crown with used napkins and realistic stain pattern.

    • ia

      Years ago, I worked with a guy who left one car at the end of his train ride to work. Since I knew he didn’t speak Spanish, I asked why all the Spanish language papers. He said he thought people would think there was nothing worth anything in the car.

    • martha

      My question is on the hackability of these devices. I had read an article a while back saying things like Ring, Nest, Google Home, the Amazon Alexa thing, etc., have very little in the way of security against hacking because it would make the cost prohibitive. This author (some tech news reporter, I think) recommended having a separate network/router for your "internet of things" stuff that is not connected to your computer. I'm assuming most of you are much more knowledgeable on the tech end of things than I, so wondering what your thoughts are? My thought was it would be easy enough to get another router and set up a separate network, just in case.

    • yaypie

      For the most part, the expensive devices by big names like Google, Amazon, Nest, Ring, etc. have a pretty good security track record. It's the cheap bargain bin products by companies like Foscam, D-Link, and thousands of knock-off brands that I wouldn't let anywhere near my home network.

      Whether you're using a knock-off or a fancy brand-name product, the most important thing for the security of devices on your home network is that you have a good Internet router with a firewall that blocks incoming connections and allows you to disable UPnP and NAT-PMP (these are networking features that allow devices to punch "holes" in your firewall without user intervention, which is often how home devices end up getting hacked).

      If you want to play it super safe, creating a separate isolated network for these devices isn't a bad idea, but it could be a challenge for non-technical people to set up.

    • Dj

      And this is where it goes over my(and most likely 90% of end users) head. I want simple. Give me a setup where I have multiple cameras that plug in for power, but wireless to a local storage device. Easy set up, with ability to look at cameras from smart phones, yet no need for a monthly billed hosting service. Something once set up, I can forget about.

      I live in an ideal place for burglars. Just across the jurisdiction line where we have rural levels of on duty patrols, all the houses are on enough acreage and wooded where neighbors can't see each other, and almost every house is two income working class folks, so the druggies love to come out here and do smash and grab daytime hits. We've been hit twice. They always end up getting caught eventually, but the stuff they took is long gone. I don't even think cameras will stop it, but if it helps catch them after one or two houses instead of after ten, that's all I can ask for.

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