Camera Workshop Minutes from January 24, 2012

Presenter: Corey Nydick from United Security Solutions (USS)
215-264-4234 or

The main components of a home security camera system are:

1) Camera(s)
2) DVR Recorder
3) Cables

USS has partnered directly with an American manufacturer which makes the components they use. These are the same components with name-brand labels that you might recognize. The only difference is the label. And the price. All components come with a 2-Year Guarantee.

The other advantage to working directly with the factory is that USS knows that they are getting exactly what they have ordered. Many of the “bargains” one sees on the internet are components that are shipped from China, where there is no Guarantee that the equipment will do what the label claims.

USS is happy to determine your particular needs and prepare an estimate for free.

All estimates include installation.


There are three main styles of cameras…

PTZ Camera (Pan, Tilt, Zoom)

  • These are very, very expensive
  • Generally, installing five or six regular cameras can monitor the same areas for less money

Bullet Style Camera

  • While these are more visible, a criminal can tell which way the camera is pointing and can stay out of sight
  • These cameras are not vandal-proof

Dome Cameras

  • These are small and unobtrusive
  • Criminals can not know exactly where they are filming
  •  These cameras are vandal-proof
  • These cameras can withstand weather from -10° to 100°
  • USS works with High Definition (480 – 600 lines) dome cameras (The NLNA Community Center is 560 lines of resolution
  • These Dome Cameras have night-vision which display in color or black and white depending on available light sources.
  •   ange of image capture is approximately 100 feet.


  • The DVD Recorder is the Hard Drive which records what the camera(s) see.
  • Once your hook up a Monitor* to the DVR you can use the simple interface to either watch your camera(s) live, or to retrieve footage.
  • Remote, secure login and viewing is available on many phones or through the internet. (Not available for Macs of this writing.)
  • The DVR can have hook-ups for more cameras than you initially buy, making the system expandable
  • DVRs come with small to large hard drives. The size you choose depends on your needs and the length of time you want to store footage. When the disk is full the DVR starts to overwrite the old data.
  • Though the camera is picking up data all the time, the DVR only records when the camera senses motion. Five seconds of buffered footage is also recorded before and after each “Event”. This helps you to find an Event after the fact, and also saves space on the hard drive.
  • Finding and downloading an event onto a cd or flash drive is easy.
  • Any footage that’s downloaded is digitally watermarked, and can be used by the DA in a trial.

*USS does not provide monitors. These can be bought separately and cheaper.


Connect the cameras to the DVR

Some Questions and Answers from the Attendees…

Q: Are there any monthly fees?
A: No. If, however you choose to house your data at USS, there will be a monthly fee.

Q: Can you give a rough estimate of the cost to outfit a typical city home?
A one-camera, installed system can cost about $800. A four-camera, installed system can cost about $1,500.

Q: Are the $60 Wireless Cameras advertised on the internet a good option for low-income residents?
A good wireless camera will cost between five and ten thousand dollars. The footage on the cheaper ones have lots of distortions an interference…especially in the city. Also, these devices still need a dependable power source. At best, they may last you one year.

USS is prepared to work with low-income residents to find an affordable, dependable solution.

Q: Does USS come out to the site and offer a free estimate?
Yes. USS will offer different options depending on your particular needs.

Q: Can a camera be hung inside, but pointing out a window?
Yes, but you would need to buy a model that could handle the glare from a window. USS also offers camouflaged cameras.

Q: The 35th District Townwatch wants to monitor the entire neighborhood with wireless cameras. Is this a job that USS can handle?
Yes, USS has experience with kind of job. The cameras would be costly, but USS can network many DVRs together remotely.

Q: Can USS work with existing alarm systems?

Please send any additional questions to Corey Nydick at or 215-264-4234

If you would like a “tour” of the NLNA Community Center security camera system, please contact Northern Liberties Townwatch at



We have been working to locate and obtain contact information for the cameras in the area.  This list has been used by the police in the past and we would like to expand it by learning about new cameras and eventually helping get more cameras up. Please contact us at with the location of your camera and your contact details. We will use this information in the event of criminal activity occurring near your home.

Also, please register your camera with Philly Police at:

Security Camera Advice

Posted on November 16, 2010 by kat

Back in August 2010 we invited some folks to talk to us about CCTV systems…

If you do end up installing, please let us know so that we can continue mapping our neighborhood cameras.

Surveillance Camera Purchasing Advice:

Some tips to guide neighbors in purchasing cameras:

  • Does the vendor offer a free home inspection to determine your particular needs, and do they offer an estimate?
  • What do you want to “see”? Determine the area(s) you want to video.
  • Do you want to be able to see at night? Do you want standard-resolution or high-resolution?
  • To Record or not Record – NL Townwatch urges neighbors to purchase a system which records images. If a crime happens nearby, footage can then be shared with police.
  • Do you want a self-contained DVR and camera system, or do you want to record to your pc? DVR systems come with different size hard-drives. How much time you want to “keep” on your system will determine the size of the hard-drive.
  • Do you want a motion-detector to trigger recording? This method will ultimately save hard-drive space, so you can get away with a smaller hard-drive. Some even will start recording a few sections before the motion activates them.
  • Hardwire or Wireless? NL Townwatch recommends hardwiring, it’s more secure
  • Camera Location: Can you reach the camera and keep snow off of it?
  • Do you want a fixed camera or one which scans more than one area?
  • Do you want internet access to your camera?
  • Is the system pc or mac based?
  • Do you want to buy or lease your camera? If you lease your camera, you can choose to upgrade to the latest technology as it becomes available.
  • How easy is it to download images?
  • What is the turnaround time for installation?
  • Does the company want the entire payment up front, or a deposit?
  • How vandal-proof is the camera?

From :

There a plenty of camera options out there. Here is one I found particularly nice for those do it yourselfers (no personal experience).

  • No DVR required.
  • Pretty interesting setup.
  • Includes a pan/tilt option.

Upgrade to a 32g micro sd card and you can hold a couple months of images

The 15-Minute Setup:
With HomePlug, it takes about fifteen minutes to set up your Logitech Alert digital video security system.

  • Install Logitech Alert Commander software on your computer.
  • Connect the small HomePlug network adapter to your router.
  • Plug your camera into an electrical outlet

That’s it. Home Plug technology is ready to transmit secure video data over your existing wires.

From Steve S.

I have a super camera guy who just did a series of cameras for me at work both indoor and outdoor. He is very reasonable has knowledge of what is available in the market and is easy to work with. His name is Charles Wright and his phone number is 215-872-2004. I am going to use him for my house as well.

From Robert G:

I used a company called Security Plus, Inc. It’s a small family business, and the owners name is Ron Koslowsky 856-810-8662. All my camera’s are are all hi-def, color / night vision (night is black & White) IR with a DVR which I can view from my tv, pc, IPhone, IPad, etc.. Very professional, the price was great (I shopped around a lot and the only way i found to do it for less was to buy everything wholesale from the internet and wire it up myself). I’ve sent a few of my friends to him and they all said good things afterword so I figure he’s a solid referral.

From: Cara W:

B&H is amazing

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