Security Cameras (Update)

Not necessarily a new topic around here but i was hoping to get the latest/greatest advice: We’ve had a couple break ins in some of our units, which has me seriously thinking of installing security cameras. I’ve seen the previous discussions regarding the issue, but noticed the following questions posted were never answered. I wanted to see if the group could take a shot at them this time around.

Basically i’m looking for a weather proof, wireless set up the can be accessed via my iPhone and can be bought and installed at a relatively affordable cost. Another issue i expect to run into is the wifi signal is not necessarily strong at the park.

Here are the questions from the previous poster:

HP_JohnMay '13

Okay, finally started shopping for security cameras and have a few questions for you owners who have installed them in your parks. So, here goes …

How far can the (reasonably priced) wireless type of cameras realistically have clarity?

What is the best power source for the wireless units? Anyone use solar?

Which models, manufacturer’s systems do you use? This thread mentions Swann, Arystone. Others?

How to deal with cold, rain, wind for the cameras mounted outside?

How is the best way to configure the operation?

Can the video feed(s) be routed to the “cloud” for safety?

Does the server need to be onsite in a secure location?

My budget is around $1,000 for the entire system (i.e., cameras, server, etc.) and I would like to put up a minimum of 10 cameras.

Are you trying to deter crime, or catch the responsible party?

I had once setup a Swann system pretty cheap that gives you what you are looking for ( the system I had backed up to an HD on site but you can download if needed . No issues with it going up against the weather . You can download footage ( up to a certain amount of time ) . It was not wireless but wired system. I think dropcam now might offer some wireless cams but you will have to see how they will stack up compared to wired cams in terms of viewing and distance.

@Brandon @Deleted_User_ME Thanks for the replies. I"m actually trying to do both…but primarily deter crime. In addition to the deter crime factor, i would just also like to occasionally peek in and over the shoulder of the management team i have down there. (Park is about three hours away from me).

@Deleted_User_ME That sounds like a pretty good set up and i’ll look into that. Another issue i’m wondering about is power. I can easily get power up and running to the camera that will be attached to the manager’s office, but what about the other cameras around the park where power may not necessarily be easily accessible? Has anyone had much success/problems with a solar powered set up?

Thanks again in advance for the help/replies.

There are wildlife cameras that activate on motion that are solar powered and effective. Seems appropriate for your issue, especially if deer or hogs are the culprits. You can also look into cameras using Power over Ethernet, but you still have to run a cable for that.

Are these vacant units being broken into? If you can tell us more it would be good to poll the group for alternative solutions, if any, such as encouraging your tenants to call the police and if people are caught to give them a reward, etc.

Ive also no experience on this but hear them advertise on the Bigger Pockets webinar but they advertise them as security system for vacant homes while you rehab…

@jhutson One lot was broken into twice. First time, in broad daylight, apparently with no one seeing him/her/them, broke in by messing with the lock on a door. Took an ipad. Next day, they came in again, through the window this time (after we had deadbolted the door). We have some fingerprints and will see where it goes. I’m pretty sure it’s an inside the park job…and we have problem tenants next door to this home.

So the cameras – even if dummy cameras – will i’m sure go a long way towards solving this issue. But again, the goal is as much to have a camera system so i can peek in on the park from my location three hours away.

I’ll look into the wildlife cameras. Some i want attached to a building, but others i want to put up in trees to get a good vantage point on the problem tenants, which is why i need a solar powered set up.

To save some money, you might think about a combination of dummy cameras along with the real cameras. They make some pretty realistic ones now days.
You might also want to check the laws in your state to make sure you don’t find yourself in trouble and the thieves getting away free.

We installed a single camera a few years ago and were told that as long it is not directed directly at another persons house, it was ok if it caught peoples yard in the view field though (Georgia).
I have heard that there might be a certain resolution needed if you need to use the video in court.

Thanks for the advice @Annaleigh. I’m in Georgia as well, so that bit about not pointing it directly at a house is appreciated.

Don’t waste your money on fake cameras!!

If you need a cheap system, Walmart sells a hard wired setup w/ record. So does Harbor Freight. The problem with even their best cameras is resolution on fixed cameras. It would be better to have a smaller number of extremely high resolution PTZ cameras and at least one PTZ infrared for nights.Of course all with simultaneous audio recording.

Video storage when monitoring 24/7/365 takes a lot of hard drive space. 1 fixed 650 camera recording for just a few hours @30fps (half visual speed) takes about 1 gig in most locked formats. Off site storage is best left to Swiss companies and done automatically over the internet with an appropriate sized storage account.

Court admissible video requires a few things like prominent signs stating CCTV monitoring, and a video storage format that has a proprietary lock for law only. Otherwise a good lawyer will challenge and get them thrown out.

Remember to notify your tenants that you are monitoring YOUR property,not theirs.


Does anyone use the more expensive professional cameras instead of the cheaper ones? If so, I have some questions on the professional ones.

@Deleted_User_ME - I’m buying a simplisafe package exactly for that purpose - had an empty unit broken into simply to vandalize - someone shut off the breakers in the house, causing the pipes to freeze.

I’ll report back next week on how easy it is to set up.

1 Like

HOw do you get internet in each camera location? Most of these cameras (dropcam) need interent…any help greatly appreciated

CHarlene (new park owner)