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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive SOHO Crime Deterrence and Monitoring? 272

First time accepted submitter trellz writes "My sister and brother-in-law are self employed, and run a small business with a storefront. It was broken into about a year ago, and since then they have reinforced physical security; bars on the doors and windows, better locks, etc. Unfortunately, their store was broken into and vandalized again last week, in spite of the added security measures. Being technically savvy, I'm trying to come up with inexpensive ways to add deterrence, monitoring, and alerting to their business. They run an extremely lean lifestyle and profit margin, so the solution needs to be almost free. They do have an internet connection at the store, so motion detection, web cameras, Arduino devices, and the like are certainly an option. Ideally I would like a rock-solid alerting method. Something like an email or text to a laptop at home, or a dedicated prepaid phone, but without the pitfalls of such a solution (i.e. random wrong numbers, solicitors, email spam, etc). I'd also prefer not to poke holes in their firewall at the shop if at all possible. I was considering an email with some sort of long code or hash in the body, and then could white list that on the receiving end to key off of. The goal is to never have a false alarm based on the transmission/reception method." What advice, beyond ZoneMinder?
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensive SOHO Crime Deterrence and Monitoring?

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  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:25AM (#42926141)

    Bars on the doors and windows suggests someone was pretty aggressive about getting in there - or your physical security upgrades are just insufficient. If people can still get in, and if what they take is relatively lightweight, a sophisticated alarm isn't really going to help you all that much compared to just something which makes a lot of noise.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:34AM (#42926173)
      Yeah, a good bar system should take longer to get through than anyone would be willing to commit. My first question was, "what do they have in there? Guns or drugs?" and the second is "what are the bars made of, rubber?"

      My vote is for a cheap $50 (or less) motion detector tied to a loud speaker. Nobody wants to rob a place so loud it hurts. You could set it up to send an email when triggered or such, but that's not going to make a huge difference in the robber's response. Unless the plan is to get a $200 cheap PVR/camera security combo so that they can catch people, rather than scare them off after they've done $1000 damage to windows and bars before running off.
      • Never underestimate a meth addict. Some have been known to tie winch wire to the frame of their car/truck/suv with the other end secured to a door or window bar. You may have seen a scene in a movie where this was done to break someone out of a jail. Well, that shit works (IRL for buildings, not jails)!!!. They drive up, wrap it secure, yank it off. In, out, long gone before police show up. Loud alarms and alerts are just after the fact.

        If you're doing business in a bad part of town. My advice is to leave!

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          Or my favorite, stealing a car and driving it into a building to open the door. Though I've seen someone try the drive through the door trick when the concrete-filled metal poles were in front, they didn't make it in. Or when someone tried to pull a door down that was well secured and pulled the axle off the car - movie style. Gotta love the youtube age.
          • by Bazman ( 4849 )

            Myth... busted!

            Mythbusters tried to yank the axle of a car using a fixed cable but every time either their cable failed or their anchor failed. They busted the rear axle up pretty bad, but never yanked it off as seen in American Graffiti.

            • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

              Myth... busted!

              Mythbusters tried to yank the axle of a car using a fixed cable but every time either their cable failed or their anchor failed. They busted the rear axle up pretty bad, but never yanked it off as seen in American Graffiti.

              that depends on the car.... rusted up lada and think again what happens.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

              Myth... busted!

              Say it with me, Mythbusters is not science. You're busted. Stop citing mythbusters, especially when hilariously trying to prove a negative.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2013 @08:03AM (#42926977)

                In what way? Mythbusters use the scientific method to test claims. They measure, experiment, collect data on a variety of scenarios - controlling and testing different variables on each pass - and report on their findings.

                Some of their findings have been challenged by members of the public, and repeat experiments have been conducted - some confirming the initial assessment and some forcing a revision. Their experiments and their results are available to anyone and are testable, repeatable, and refutable all the same, with further experiments refining the hypotheses under test.

                That's called "science".

                I'm afraid you've been poorly educated on the subject if you don't think so.

                • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                  In what way? Mythbusters use the scientific method to test claims. They measure, experiment, collect data on a variety of scenarios - controlling and testing different variables on each pass - and report on their findings.

                  The main issue is that failing to replicate something is not evidence that something did not happen.

                  When they confirm a myth there is usually no issue. But busting a myth by failing to confirm it is not really valid science.

                  They make assumptions about the environment the claim takes place

            • I'd have to see the mythbuster's attempt to pull the axle out. I've seen the axle of a 3/4 ton Ford pickup pulled halfway out from under the truck. The truck was still operable, barely. It was driven to a close-by garage for repairs. Pulling the axle free of the frame isn't easy, but it isn't impossible either.l

              If it were my goal to recklessly pull the axle out from under a vehicle, I'd start with an old, high mileage vehicle, preferably with a lot of rust. If some young, dumb kids have altered the sus

            • Watch the Mythbusters episode again. What they considered "busted" was the part in the movie where the car rose up over the rear wheels and kept going. Instead, the rear axle broke loose of the suspension, but the wheel wells kept it from being left behind. AFTER trashing the suspension and the underside of trunk, the cable broke. Mythbusters said "this car will not be driving any further". The Mythbusters test can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRHMNc5WyB4&feature=youtube_gdata_play [youtube.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Barsteward ( 969998 )
        And also set up a camera on the building opposite so it records everything as teh camera on the violated property will probably get trashed if seen
        • And also set up a camera on the building opposite so it records everything as teh camera on the violated property will probably get trashed if seen

          I'd assume that all the cameras should send out to an off-premises server. In this case they should be recorded before they trash them.

          The idea to get cameras opposite is good though. At that point getting together with all the shops in the area and setting up a system together might help. Scary and anti-freedom though this is, nobody will care or try to stop you. This will be much cheaper than paying for everything yourself.

        • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @10:53AM (#42927691)

          A camera? Now stop being silly. Go to a location that has presumedly similar layout to the one in question. Take a pic with your digital camera. Scale it down to NTSC resolution. That's the best case image you're going to get -- stuff from usual cameras used for monitoring looks much worse. Most security cameras are completely useless. You can barely tell between a human and a gorilla on most of the feeds that catch large areas. A small storefront may leave you with a bit better image than most, but it's still way too large area of an to cover if you want to see any faces. Other than recognizing faces, what's the point? I mean, you know there was a break-in, there's no reason to look at a video recording to confirm what's obvious. Either you get faces that are recognizable, or it's mostly useless.

          You've basically fallen for the security monitoring scam: people love it until they actually need to see the images and realize they are useless.

          To get good monitoring you need HD cameras, and plenty of them. For a small storefront monitoring, you may need coverage from two 1080p webcams. They are not exactly the most inexpensive of things. Alternatively, if you believe in a bit of luck, a digital photo camera taking timelapse pictures every second may also be likely to catch the faces. I'd go for one of the Canons where you can replace stock firmware with CHDK. You can then make it delete old pictures and keep new ones in round-robin fashion.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            I worked in a movie theater and we got robbed. It was less than two weeks after we had new cameras installed. Turns out they were all aimed to catch employee theft, and there was no camera that got a decent view of someone robbing the place. But there was a great view of my hands taking the money from the till and handing it over. Or of me on the phone with 911. I could tell it was me.

            The police and manager were in the office reviewing the tapes, and they had to call me in to point out the robery, as
      • by TheLink ( 130905 )

        If a loud alarm isn't enough add some smoke (as long as it doesn't trigger sprinklers or similar ;) ).
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOgKti335tQ [youtube.com]
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFWe-sAsAIA [youtube.com]

      • Yeah, a good bar system should take longer to get through than anyone would be willing to commit.

        And also be so ugly that customers might decide to go to the mall instead.

      • I've seen a number of "barred windows" in my time. I didn't exactly count them, but roughly 35 or 40% of them can be bypassed with nothing more than a screwdriver and/or small pry bar. Taking some wrought iron, and screwing it into the storefront's facade does NOT constitute "barred windows", IMHO. Maybe for legal purposes, such a setup helps to demonstrate intent and determination, but most of us live in the physical world, subject to the laws of physics. A teenage girl with a bad case of PMS could rip

    • Obvious solution - get a dog.

      • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @08:19AM (#42927041) Homepage Journal

        Dogs work well. But, housing and caring for dogs in a downtown business district can create a lot of headaches, too. Not to mention, that well trained security dogs are expensive, and poorly trained dogs are a liability. Be prepared to spend not less than twelve hours per week with a pair of dogs - time that many businessmen don't have.

        In short, I wouldn't recommend dogs to anyone who didn't
        A: think of it themselves
        B: actually likes dogs (preferably loves dogs)
        C: have a close by exercise yard
        D: have plenty of time to work with the dogs

      • by flyneye ( 84093 )

        These dogs are not pets, you expect them to work all night and be vicious. Be prepared to keep an animal mean and unsociable. Dogs that aren't dedicated to protection tend to just bark a lot, nip and get shot by intruders. Be prepared to have animal rights people up your butt about it as well.
        Not a bad idea for a rural farm area, not so good for urban areas.Impractical.

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      My suggestion would be a modified version of this sentry system http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uetmdJJkpdQ [youtube.com]
      Mod it with a .410 shotgun for use with anything from rock salt to birdshot to deer slugs, dependent on the damage you want to inflict.
      Stun gun? Flame thrower? I'd fool around with marking them up w/paintball, but these guys sound aggressive enough that putting them down would be best for all.
      Just a judgement call, but you know your situation better than me.

      Heres a bi

      • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @08:42AM (#42927145)
        My friend, you just suggested a shotgun trap, which is illegal. Like premeditated-homicide illegal. Sure, the criminals were breaking into the store, but the difference between a trap pulling the trigger and a human is all it takes for the store owner to go to jail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by trellz ( 1369477 )
      I'll try and answer some of the general questions I've seen here. It is a tattoo studio, they used bolt cutters to open the locked rear gate to the courtyard, bolt cutters on the back security door, and then battered the metal door down. They stole thousands in tattoo equipment and inks, and even his portfolio, but left the computer. This is a similar MO to last time, and it does seem personal(though I have no idea as to why). It's in a small town, so that area is just vacant during the nights, and the
  • Dog (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MobyDobie ( 2426436 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:30AM (#42926157)
    What about getting a dog? It's both a deterrent and an alarm.
    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      A dog is pretty defenceless against a piece of meat with some horse tranquilliser in it. And to be really honest, they're not much against a steady nerve and a hefty crowbar either. And we're talking about a storefront here, not a private residence.
      • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

        And to be really honest, they're not much against a steady nerve and a hefty crowbar either.

        Dogs or headcrabs?

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Or even just a recording of one or more ...

  • The software is available for surveillance already. You can setup a threshold of changed pixels in a time window (outside of business hours) and if it is exceeded it sends an e-mail, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_(surveillance_software) [wikipedia.org]
  • REVO DVR (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vinn ( 4370 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:38AM (#42926185) Homepage Journal

    I put in a small Revo DVR unit with webcams last year for a small business. It was $800 and I think it was a lot of bang for the buck. It had alarm inputs, whick are simple enough that if you're on a budget you could set up on entryways. The cameras were motion detecters, IR, etc. I definitely recommend it.

  • Almost free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:45AM (#42926201)

    They run an extremely lean lifestyle and profit margin, so the solution needs to be almost free.

    Doing nothing has a cost too... possibly more break-ins = more lost profit. There is a potentially high risk cost of doing nothing; depending on what it is, they might be able to budget a lot of money, and the net cost could be zero: assuming the break ins are actually causing damage and hurting their business revenue.

    The idea that you run a business, and you are not willing to spend any money on security is absolutely ridiculous. You should be willing to spend an appropriate amount of money to manage the risk.

    The most important mitigation is probably to have insurance, but again... the premium may increase, the more breakins.

    This may be a matter that a security consulting firm should be hired to look at.

    Hidden cameras with a DVR may be useful to help catch the perps.... however, there is a problem: this is only useful, if responders become aware of the breakin and get there, before the thief can locate the DVR associated with the cameras and destroy it.

    Visible cameras, may be used as a deterrent; however, they are subject to vandalism.

    One of the best deterrents which should not be overlooked is a professionally Monitored security alarm system with External sounders, Internal motion detectors, Door sensors, Glass break detectors, perimeter coverage, and an alarm loop and cellular backup to a central monitoring station, that will dispatch authorities in the event of an alarm.

    • Re:Almost free? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @04:00AM (#42926383) Journal

      Um, this is 100% a waste of money. A monitored security alarm gets rid of nobody but the dumbest B&E'ers. Even if the alarm company is listening, and verifies that a person is physically inside the premises, and phones the cops, the response time is still ridiculous [in downtown Vancouver BC, it was like 20-30 minutes]. And the thieves know it.

      $5 for stickers saying you have a monitored alarm works just as good.

      DVR's need to be fairly good to be able to positively identify somebody, nevermind at night in the dark. And that assumes the police put much effort into looking at it [it usually amounts to the detective on the case looks at the video, and either recognizes the guy or doesn't...end of video]. And does catching the guy make a difference to your business [as in, how fast does the guy have to be caught for him to still have the stuff so you get it back, as once he has passed it along, the likelyhood of ever seeing it again goes WAY down].

      And your insurance rates go up the same amount whether or not the guy gets caught [unless of course, you recover enough stuff to not bother making a claim, which is very rare].

      In general, your best bang for your buck is loss prevention. As in, preventing the stuff from exiting the store prematurely.

      For ground-level shops, try roll-shutters over the windows and doors. As a bonus, they also prevent vandalism like window-smashing.

      • Yep.

        The idea is to make the thief think that breaking in would be a bad idea. If he doesn't make that decision then no amount of fancy sensors will make any difference, he'll just walk in, grab some stuff then walk out admiring all your expensive flashing lights and sirens. He knows the cops won't turn up for half an hour (if at all).

        You'll still have a broken window, broken doors, etc. to clean up next morning.

  • Don't bother. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FireballX301 ( 766274 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:46AM (#42926203) Journal
    Buy business insurance, do what the insurance adjuster wants you to do, and don't do anything more.

    If you don't have or can't afford business insurance, then you should question whether your business is viable or not, especially if a poorly timed robbery can put you under.
    • Re:Don't bother. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2013 @03:11AM (#42926257)

      Buy business insurance, do what the insurance adjuster wants you to do, and don't do anything more.

      This. Hacking together some "security system" won't do shit for you. Even if you manage to get some clear video, even if you manage to get the police to look at it, even if you avoid having some half-asleep public defender obliterate you in court because you can't actually prove the timestamp on the video is accurate, even if you manage to get a conviction...how the fuck does help your friends? They still need to take that conviction and use it as leverage in a civil case against the perp, and even if they get a judgement....there is no cash register at the court house! Your friends aren't going to see a dime from some broke-ass criminal deadbeat.

      This is what insurance is for...to insure assets against risk and let you move on with life.

  • webcamd on UNIX (Score:3, Informative)

    by kestasjk ( 933987 ) * on Sunday February 17, 2013 @02:50AM (#42926219) Homepage
    Hi, what you need is webcamd for a low powered machine with a cheap USB webcam (best to check the chipset compatibility before buying, just in case).

    There'll be a bit of manual page reading, setting the motion detection thresholds and areas, configuring it to start on boot, archive/FTP images taken, add timestamps to the images, etc, and writing the scripts that will get run when motion is detected, but it'll be cheap, customizable and it'll work.

    I've used this setup in a local maritime simulator where there was a breakin attempt (lots of projectors and electronics naturally), and they wanted a bit of extra security on the cheap.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      As we can see from various videos online, having a webcam is not a good enough solution to stop these people.
      First I would go for a high quality image that does not show grainy images. The reason for grainy images often is lightening,
      Second I would go for a low eye-level camera, so it looks people in the face. With the prices of HDs, I would not go for motion detectors. Just let the thing run 24/7.
      Also go for multiple camera's. One at the checkout, one at the entrance and one at the exit on eye level. One t

  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @03:01AM (#42926239)

    This does nothing. But it completely stops break-ins and it's cheap.

    https://spygear4u.com/ds_proddetail.asp?prod=GS-LS-131 [spygear4u.com]

    Watch the videos you can find of it around. It's very scary. Does nothing, of course, but it's VERY scary. And that will keep your family's store safe.

  • by rhook ( 943951 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @03:21AM (#42926285)

    If they cannot afford the less than $100/month for this service they're not going to be in business long since they obviously aren't turning a profit.

  • Here's what they need:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnH95uzQPOo [youtube.com]
    It's both cheap and effective (apparently).

  • My alarm system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @03:36AM (#42926319)
    At my repair shop, I have a $1 contact-break alarm system on my back door. As soon as it goes off, 100 dB alarm in your face and it's rather difficult to disable without knowing how it works. Not many people would say "well, that alarm is blasting but let's keep robbing it." They just run.

    I can't believe modern people are still stupider than medieval people. This is pure castle theory. You don't build tons and tons and tons of defense like walls and locks and moats and then just leave it. Persistent threats will find a way in. What did rich people and kings do? Set traps. Make it look somewhat secure but then oops, you stepped on the wrong rock. Now there's spikes in your face. Or you pick a lock on the treasure chest and it released poison gas because the treasure chest is actually backwards and the real lock is on the back.

    Bars on the windows are nothing. They'll just bring a crow bar. The "low hanging fruit" theory about which stores get robbed do not apply here. But add traps aka window break alarms and make sure the "Protected by alarms" and red blinking lights are showing and a thief would have no idea what trap they're about to fall into and would stay away.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A friend had a remote shop (sop easy to break in without detection and difficult to respond to quickly) which he wired with a simple intrusion alarm system, but also included a fog machine like the kind you buy at Halloween. When the alam is tripped the sirens beging and the lights are switched off and the fog macine starts and the thief assumes he started a fire and leaves. It's worked twice so far with no loss of property, just replacing the busted door.

    • What did rich people and kings do? Set traps.

      In rare and unusual cases, yes. The vast majority of the time they relied and locks and guards just like we did today. Back in medieval times, most of their wealth generally wasn't in coins or other easily portable means anyhow... You should get less of your history from TV or the DM's guide.

  • Know your limits. You don't know anything about security so leave it to experts. All your ideas will not prevent any thefts. Get insurance, maybe hidef cameras to record intruders and leave the rest to police. If they're doing illegal things, well, then go to hell.

    Seriously, how is anybody supposed to know how their system is deficient or how to prevent further break.ins without knowing the merchandise which is attracting robbers and how their system was compromised?

    • Little hint about cameras. Keep the ceiling ones for large coverage, but keep a few about 4 feet off the ground facing the entrance to catch good face shots of people coming in. Should be fairly easy to hide inside a display or counter. I remember hearing about a bunch of thugs that destroyed the window display of a camera shop. Turned out the owner always left 2 or 3 of the display cameras recording (wired to a remote recorder) at night and got REALLY good shots of their faces!
  • It has a battery and a blinking LED so it looks like a camera is operating. I installed it in the alley and it stopped strangers driving down the alley. I have to change the battery every six months.
  • by rusty0101 ( 565565 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @04:09AM (#42926409) Homepage Journal

    I'm seeing a lot of partial solutions here. Both in what has been done, and in what is being proposed. The first thing you should be doing though has been mentioned, and that's talk with your insurance adjuster. At the very least you can find out what your liabilities are for various security measures, and possibly what measures will reduce your insurance rates.

    Start by looking at what a thief is going to see as they look at how to enter the property. You may find the TV series from a few years back "it takes a thief" (or something like that) helpful in looking at the entire place for security problems. The doors and windows may be barred, but is it possible to gain access through the floor, or ceiling? Even a good barred door may be a problem if it's sheltered in such a way that you can't see if someone is working on the lock.

    Part of that should also be looking at what you can do to improve deterrence. Signs, visible (if non-functional) alarm panels, even a steadily blinking light next to a sign labeled 'Alarm System' can be a deterrent.

    And finally look for ways to monitor the approaches to the property both front and back, and if the building is stand alone, all around the building. You may want to use PIR along with IR Lighting to capture movement around the building.

    If you are presuming that someone will break in after you've identified (and hopefully fixed) the issues from outside, then you're to the detect and defend internal options. High resolution cameras, covering the access points. Motion detection, door and window open sensors, glass break detectors, etc. These are intended to generate alerts and set up a means to capture what information you can about the thief. Tip, mark the door frame on either side of likely entrances with contrasting tape to form a crude (half foot or 20 cm increment) tape measure to give you a quick estimate of how tall someone passing by the entrance is.

    Obviously you will need to decide for yourself how critical it is to secure different parts of your store. High value gem dealers usually place their entire stock in a vault of some sort overnight. If you know what the reason is behind the break-ins in the area (paying for drugs being common) you may be able to protect high value items by making it easier to steel a few low value items that you are less concerned about loosing.

    Understand what the thief is working with. Unless you've been cased for a professional theft, in which case you're insurance carrier may have other suggestions for you, Most thefts are a snatch and grab variety, the thief is looking to get in, get something and get out. Be gone before the cops show up. If you know the cops will be there within 20 min, (talk with other businesses in the area that have experienced break-ins to find out if that estimate is even in the balpark) then you know how hard you have to make it for a thief to get at the valuables.

    Also set policies (and follow them) for how to deal with elements of the store that are critical for operating. Assume that a thief can get the cash register, all cash within the store, and possibly your computers in the store. Does someone have a spare cash register, and operating cash for the day that they can bring in at the start of the day if you need to get going while making repairs? Is there sufficient spare stock in an off-site storage to get up and running the next business day, or are you going to be waiting a week for your suppliers to restock? Is the customer information on your systems at work in a secure system? Do you have off site backups of your inventory and books? Have you a policy of depositing all cash over and above what you absolutely have to have for daily operations on a nightly basis? Do you have multiple known locations where you can make those deposits so that if construction makes your usual after hours depository unavailable you can still make your deposit. Have you tested your off site backup solution to confirm that if your systems up and left, or a vandal cam in and drove a pick-ax

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaseous_fire_suppression [wikipedia.org] And trigger it with the burglar alarm entry system. :)
    • Wire the burglar alarm to the fire alarm - the fire crews respond much faster than the cops...
      • by Meski ( 774546 )
        And sadly, after the recent incident in NY, they are likely to turn up armed. (I'm not saying that like its a bad thing, but sad that it's necessary)
  • A simple sign with "Nevermind the dog, beware of the rattle snakes" should do it.
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @05:10AM (#42926543)

    Are you working for free? That means that you are paying for their security. Great if you are willing to do that, but it also means that if you are out of town on a holiday with no cell reception and there is an issue, who are they going to call?

    And although this might be a fun project to work on, this is their livelihood you are experimenting with. And it is experimenting. Otherwise you would not ask the questions.

    tell them this before that you will do a best effort, but that there are no guarantees that things either break down or that things do not go as you imagined they would happen. People are not recognizable because the camera was too high and not enough light in the place where the thief was. Too much light. Too low, so the staff filed a complaint about privacy invasion.

    What happens if the internet connection is out? What if the power is out? What if the phone dies? What if the phone company kills the number, because they forgot to pay for the next installment in 5 years time?

    The first thing you need to figure out why they broke into that store and not the one next door. Then you can start looking for ways to not want them to break in. Security camera's don't do anything and neither do motion detectors, unless they contact a security company.

    The cheapest way to help them is to tell them to contact an expert who knows not only the technical stuff, but the rest as well. Where to put the camera's. Then propose them that you are there to ask all the technical questions to see if he knows what he is talking about and if you find any loopholes.

    That way they can contact another small business owner and help the community as well as defend themselves. That person will be able what the advantages and disadvantages are, because of his experience.

    Sure, not free, but cheaper then having not thought of one thing and closing the business because of it.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday February 17, 2013 @05:19AM (#42926565) Journal

    Often your insurance will demand certain CERTIFIED minimum requirements with your insurance premium going down the more you meet their requirements.

    And those requirements don't have to make sense or be best practice but they are the difference between your insurance company paying out and not paying out.

    If requirements made sense, we would LONG since have had HD camera's recording to HD's rather then very very very poor camera's recording to low quality tape. But your own 4k mug shot and tricorder scan of the perps DNA and entire social history will see your insurance claim thrown out with a scornful laugh while a certified wobbly 320x200 etcha sketch will get you fully re-imbursed.

    So: First check with your insurance company.

    Next: Crime prevention is about denying criminals what they want:

    1 Fast

    2 Easy

    3 Cheap

    4 Low risk

    5 Money

    So do stop criminals make their crime be

    1 Slow

    2 Hard

    3 Expensive

    4 High risk

    5 Non paying.

    Your shop needs a door and to be inviting it needs to be airy and this is done by making it out of glass. But a glass door is easily shattered. A wooden door with two large glass panes separated by a wood bar in the middle is ALMOST as inviting but now the burglar either needs to remove the door, open it or climb in through ONE of the smashed panels. This is slower. He will still get in but be able to steal less in the same amount of time. This makes it less profitable.

    Shutter I mean one of those rollup "fences" that drop out ofthe celing, no idea what their english name is.

    One thing you could do for instance is leave your display window open but install a shutter inside the store itself as an additional barrier to overcome. Barely visible during the day, at night an extra barrier. Many people place them infront of doors but this just requires you to lift the shutter, then bust in the doors that tend to open inwards.

    Place an electrically lowered shutter BEHIND inwards opening doors, how do you open that one without a key? You can't push the doors in because the shutter is blocking that and you can't lift the shutter because the doors are in the way. Remember, theft prevention is like preventing being eaten by a lion, you don't need to be able to outrun the lion, you just need to outrun your neighbor.

    Hard is similar to slow of course in that you make the burglars work just that little bit harder. Just one more lock, just one more barrier to overcome. One thing we as consumers hate is those plastic wraps around products but they have a simple reason. They are very large meaning it is hard to conceal for shop lifters or at least conceal as many. And they are hard to open to make it hard to open them and take their contents. We know this works because well, we all bitch about how hard they are to open. Most of the large plastic containers are pure theft prevention and contain a fully serviciable selling/display package inside for shops that don't need to fear shoplifters.

    Do you NEED to store all your most valuable products in handy to carry containers right near the entrance to the warehouse? Or could you place your most expensive products on the highest shelf in the furthest corners? And lock up the ladder? And add some barbed wire to the shelves for those trying to climb it?

    Think of shoe stores, if they are smart, they one have either the left or right shoe on display. Putting both the right and left shoe in the same size outside is asking for it but how many shoe thieves are interested in only left side shoes? I don't know if this was purely accidental but I did once notice that all the shoe shops in one area all had only the left shoes on display.

    Expensive might be a little less clear but while you might think that a prepared thief can cut through any chain in any case you might as well get the cheapest available, the simple fact is that not all locks/chains etc are the same. And the better ones require mo

    • inwards opening doors

      Around here, doors on commercial buildings open outward. Something about making it easier to escape a burning building.

  • Don't have the alarm call or text you. That's a waste of valuable time. You're just going to call the cops anyway. And what happens if you're asleep, in a movie, flying, etc? More time wasted. Your job is not to wait for the call or text from your security system letting you know that an alarm has been triggered. Given that you've had break-ins before, I'd say you would drive yourself crazy making sure you're accessible 100% of the time in case a message came in.

    Monthly central station service is the price

    • Small price to pay for the peace of mind you get having someone ready to get the police there on a moment's notice anytime of the day or night.

      Small mind if you think the police will be there on a moment's notice any time, day or night. It can take them an hour to respond to a theft call and thirty minutes is not unusual. You need a monitoring company with its own responders.

  • Point some laser pointers at mirrors attached to a servo motor and make it look like there's a crazy cool scanning laser security system!!
  • I don't know how is in US, but in Romania there are security companies that provide 24/7 monitoring for as little as 40$ a month with a contract that guaranties a 7 minutes response, if you want lower you pay more. They include motion sensors & means to connect directly to their teams to alert the closest one. I own a small business and had no problems until now. But they usually call me if they see an unusual pattern - like opening at night or if I forget to set the motion sensors on after a certain ho

  • Not exactly cheap, but one step up from the fake laser light show devices. http://www.freaklasers.com/laser-dazzlers-300mw-600mw.html [freaklasers.com]
  • I install cameras for customers, and I would advise you to forget CCTV as a way to stop break-ins. I get a lot of prospective customers who want cameras to deter intruders and advise them the same way. Good camera systems, which pretty much leaves out video, is useful to catch shoplifters, light fingered employees, improper use of resources, and reduce liability in the event of an accident and law suit. If you want to stop intrusion, secure the property (if they got through bars, you need better bars), and

  • the ED-209 is still on ebay! you only need to animate it, rig it to the security system and have it use quotes from the movies... and you got a great deterrent! if it doesn't work, get a targeting system and a couple pistols rigged in ^_^
  • Get the store a dawg. It needs to be a medium to large but friendly breed with a loud bark.

    The key is, the store is his home. His people (the owners) come to visit him and spend time with him there every day. He gets lots of visitors who he can greet (customers).

    End of the business day, his people leave him a small amount of food, plenty of fresh water, and a nice place to sleep, as well as run of the store.

    Post signs. Dawgs protect their territory, which is why it needs to be HIS store (his home), n

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.