Store security surveillance camera

In my ongoing adventures with opening a store, it appears that my
insurance company is going to require me to have a digital
surveillance camera that keeps 15 days of data, on or offsite, can
be motion-triggered. I have a security company that’s going to help
me with motion sensors (non-camera), but in the interest of saving
some money, I was thinking of just doing the camera myself. Does
anyone have any recommendations? Thanks very much!

Best, Hilary

I bought the SN501-16ch from Defender
Defender | Defender Security Cameras It was really easy to set up and
it’s pretty easy to watch past video. The hardest part of setting
these up was running all the wires.

I think you’ll find it’s better to set up your cameras to
continually record rather then use the motion sensors. These systems
have both. I can look at my 16 cameras from any PC connected to the

Hilary -

I live in Grant, FL. I had to close my jewelry repair business last
year. I sold the safe and display cabinets, but not the video camera
system. There are four color cameras with low-light capability,
about 150’ of video cable from each camera to the recording unit;
recording unit is a windows-based computer with hard drive that keeps
at least 24hrs backup.

Keeping 15 days of 24hr data is a HUGE amount of recording! What
insurance company is requiring this? I used Jewelers Mutual, and my
system was fine. In any case, you could just burn a daily DVD of the
previous 24hrs, and within 2 weeks and a day, you would have your 15
days of backup.

Also, I could program the sensitivity of the system. From one hour
before opening, to one hour after closing, the system ran nonstop.
For the off-hours, I had the motion pickup set so that if triggered
(and they were in zones as well) the affected cameras ran until a few
minutes after motion stopped. That way, I didn’t exceed the
capability of my system.

Anyway, If you don’t have a camera setup yet, and are interested in
getting one, I’ll offer mine for half what I paid for it. That was
$1800, so I’ll sell it at $900, shipping extra.

I also still have a cash register and CC swipe reader, and a lighted
"Open" display sign. (Sorry for the commercialization of my email,
but if I don’t offer, then you won’t know…)

best regards,

Hi Hillary;

Sorry this is so long, but I don’t want to steer someone towards this
solution and have blow-back because I didn’t warn them about how far
into the techno world this stuff can suck you.

I have 3 of the old video cameras in my store connected to a small TV
and a VCR. Pain in a butt to change tapes all day,the images are
grainy, and twitchy and to re-aim the cameras means getting on a
ladder, so I went online and bought a Foscam IP camera for around
$90. I was pleasantly surprised at how great this thing is. I
expected a piece of semi-junk. I’ve had loads of fun with this
camera. Of course, there are plenty of better cameras depending on
what you want to pay, and your security alarm service are probably
ready to sell you real good ones at $300+ a pop and maybe not charge
you your first born to set them up. I did mine all by myself.

Here are the features of this camera:

Motion sensor that, when activated, sends email warnings and video
recordings to your email or phone when it’s triggered.

Camera will pan automatically or manually and has different
resolutions and different capture rates in frames per second.
Multiple users can have passworded access.

Infra-red can be turned on or off, so motion detection in very dark
setting works.

Sound so you can hear what the camera hears and remotely talk to
someone near the camera (this feature doesn’t have good sound quality
unless you hook up a better mike and speakers, but it does work).

Wireless, so you don’t have any cords except the power cord, you
need a wireless router for the wireless feature, but you can just
plug it into a computer without using wireless, but you might need a
pretty long Ethernet cable. If all you want to do is record stuff in
the showroom, either plug the camera directly into the computer or
plug directly into the back of the router.

You can connect and see and hear what the camera does from anywhere
you have Internet access and also control it completely, but you need
to know a bit about computers such as port forwarding and how to do
it and if using a router, you’ll need to know how to set up remote
access allowed through a selected port. This stuff gets pretty
technical, find a local computer geek if you don’t know about port
addresses, firewall exceptions, IP stuff in general, etc. If you’re
not into this stuff and you want to operate the camera from your cell
phone, etc., get ready for a little learning curve.

(Note to semi-savvy computer people) Most Internet providers “lease”
you an external IP address which periodically changes, and this is
not the same IP address you’re seeing that the router hands devices.
If you want to access and control the camera from the Internet,
you’ll need to get a fixed external IP address. You can do this for
free using a site like Of course, you could struggle with
Windows “remote access” which works like crap or try UltraVNC or some
such program but the computer with the camera would have to be
connected directly to the Internet to avoid having to mess with port
forwarding stuff in the router. Still have firewall exceptions and
privilege settings to deal with in the operating system. If you’re
into LInux like me, everything still works but you know what you’re
up against with Linux. Open a terminal, you nerd.

What I do now is have an old notebook computer sitting on a desk and
connected wirelessly to the router which logs on to the camera and
saves video to avi files. I can see what the camera sees on the
screen and turn on or off the recording feature. I can burn the avi
files to DVDs at my leisure to clear up space on the drive. You could
also just get an external drive to not have to do this so often, but
if I set the camera to record at 5 frames per second, the avi files
aren’t that big and although the video is choppy at that rate, it’s
sufficient to record what’s going on in the showroom without filling
up the drive too fast.

David L. Huffman

This stuff gets pretty technical, find a local computer geek if you
don't know about port addresses, firewall exceptions, IP stuff in
general, etc. 

Port forwarding is the only hard-sounding part, and it’s really easy
on most systems. This website is very helpful:

You don’t need a static IP address outside your router, just within
your home network. (Don’t click the link to “CFConfig”. You can do
this yourself for free using the guide on the site.)

securtiy camers direct be sure to buy the cameras with auto zoom
focus lens like the ones in the bank lobby, they cost a bundle but
if you end up in ICU or worse you will want a face shot of the


I do jewelry for a hobby, but I used to install camera systems, if
you go to Products – X10.COM you will find allot of
camera systems that are wireless, and you can control lights, air
condition units, and watch what is going on in your shop on your
computer anywhere, you can use a remote hand held to turn your
system on or off, and if you put the motion detectors in, if you have
a break in, it will notify you, and the video is time stamped, which
is very important in court, and whats nice about it you can install
it yourself, you have great technical support, you probably can get a
good system around $350 dollars, depending what you want to do, do
not let the big security company’s talk you in to there, sales, they
make allot of there monies from having it monitored, check them out.

God Bless

THANK YOU and everyone else who chimed in on this thread. The
is SO helpful. For one, I"m realizing that this is way
more complicated than I’d hoped. Fair enough. Good to know what I"m
dealing with. I also think I might need to take one of my tech geek
friends out to dinner in exchange for some assistance. Also not so
hard to do. I am going to find out what my security company would
charge for the additional service, it might be worth the extra if
it’s not too much. Really, thanks so much for responding. Very very

Best, Hilary

Hi Paf;

Port forwarding is the only hard-sounding part, and it's really
easy on most systems. 

Well, yes and no. I depends on your router and how it is configured,
and what kinds of control and protocols are going to be allowed
through the port. It can get a little complex for most computer
users. But there is free software that can do it for you. Getting
around within a network isn’t a big deal once you understand a few
principles of networking, but getting into a network from outside
that network and getting on a specific machine on the network
(LAN=local area network) is a bit more complex as routers and
firewalls are designed to not let that happen by default.

You don't need a static IP address outside your router, just
within your home network. 

I’m sorry, that is actually not correct, or maybe you didn’t
understand what I was referring to (I didn’t go into it much). But
you are right in one sense. You don’t need to worry about external IP
addressing if you are connecting from one machine on the LAN to
another. If you were on a computer at work, and you wanted to see
through the camera on the same network, you’d just enter the LAN IP
address and you’d see it. You don’t even need a static address within
the LAN, just a way of finding the current IP address within it of
the device you want. My camera has a utility to do that. And you
don’t need a static external address (costly) if you use a (free)
service to access your network even if its external address changes.

Let me put it in layman’s terms so that other can understand it.

You are connected to the internet via a modem. Your service
priveder, using a protocol called "Dynamic Host Configuration
(DHCP) gives your modem an external IP address. That’s
the point at which you are connected to the internet. Go to
IP Lookup | Whats My IP | IP Address | Find IP and you’ll see what it is. It will
be a number like

You computer has an local IP address. That number looks like this: If your computer is connected through a router,
either by cable or by wireless, the router has a number and it gives
out different numbers to everything connected to it. So it could be
like this: = the router = a wired desktop computer connection = a wireless notebook computer connection = a credit card terminal = an IP camera = a second IP camera

This is called a LAN (local area network)

None of this stuff is visible to the external world until you allow
it through opening a “port” at the external address.

To connect to the first camera from the wired computer on the LAN
above, put in a browser and you’re there. But
if you are at home trying to connect to the camera at work, you have
a different external IP address at home. You’re not on the local
network at work. You need to go to the work external IP address,
say, and get through the router to the LAN IP address
at that network for the camera which is You’ll have
to have the router set up to forward external requests to that
internal IP address through a process called port forwarding. If you
set the router up so that requests to a specified port (say, 8008) go
to the camera at LAN address, the router will allow it
if all the settings are correct and you put in a browser anywhere you are
connected to the Internet. But what if the external address changes?
You set up free account on to always send you through to
that address you want no matter what it becomes. The service will
periodically check to make sure it has your current external IP
address. So you type something like and you get routed to the
camera because the service knows what the real external address
currently is. The router, the camera, and your computers can all be
set up to periodically connect to the service, access your
passworded account and update your IP address.

Finally, routers can be set to use dynamic or static assignments of
those internal IP address. Those can change depending on which
device you fire up first that’s on the router (dynamic). Either you
turn them on in the same order every time, or you set the router to
always give the same number to the camera(s) (static). The latter is
preferable. Otherwise, if the notebook wireless isn’t on that day,
the camera gets a different number than usual and it’s no longer
available through port 8008 because today that’s the credit card

David L. Huffman

Do NOT waste your money with any X10 systems! I purchased a complete
set with all the bells and whistles and it was all cheap garbage
slapped together in China probably by prison labor. None of their
junk worked and I had to send it all back, pay for the return postage
and wait two months for my refund.


I have worked with X-10 products for 8 years, I retired from the
Federal Government, I was a supervisor over physical security we
installed cameras, card readers and eye recognition. In the 8 years
working with X-10 products I did all the installations, most of the
problems was operator error, they also have wired systems too. I’m
not by know means arguing with you and you had bad relations with
them, dealing with wireless systems especially remotely, you have to
had a little knowledge of each product can and will notdo.

But anyway they do have a problem with there advertising especially
do it you self installations. I’m sorry you had a bad experience
with them, just like in the jewelry business you can’t please
everyone, but I always had a strict rule, the customer is almost
right. Sorry being lengthy, please understand by no way I’m not
trying to be-little you, but allot of people fall into the trap of

God Bless

This may be a bit off topic, but thought that those who were
concerned about store security might be interested. Just this week
one of our high end jewelry stores located in a busy mall in Tigard,
a suburb of Portland, Or. was subject to an attempted robbery.

A fairly nice looking woman walked in to the store and said she was
interested in a $40,000 diamond bracelet which was in one of the
cases. It was her second visit. At her request, the clerk let her try
it on, and the woman said “Thank You,” and then darted out of the
store racing through the mall toward the exit leading toward the
parking lot. The attractive young woman clerk took after her in hot
pursuit, managed to get her to the ground and held her down while
others notified security who arrested the thief.

What is also of interest is that the young woman clerk was barefoot
as she had removed her high heels earlier in the afternoon because
her feet hurt her. Nonetheless, shoeless, she made the chase. How is
that for store security.


I would personally run better in barefeet than in heels. But I would
also advise store employees that normally discretion is the better
part of valour and while catching the thief is admirable, the entire
caper could have turned on the employee has the thief or an
accomplice been armed. When I worked in the banking industry, a bank
employee did just this and received both an award for bravery and a
suspension without pay for disobeying the rules on the same day.

A fairly nice looking woman walked in to the store and said she
was interested in a $40,000 diamond bracelet which was in one of
the cases. It was her second visit. At her request, the clerk let
her try it on, and the woman said "Thank You," and then darted out
of the store racing through the mall toward the exit leading toward
the parking lot. 

I was the victim of a robbery like this in S. Florida. After that we
got a door buzzer (Electric strike.) The main purpose of an electric
strike is not to keep the bad guys out, (after all, bad guys wear
jewelry too,) rather it’s to keep the bad guys in and within range.

In late 70th there was a team working 47 street in new york. Man and
woman would walk into a store and ask to see some engagement rings.
The man, in somewhat obvious manner would put ring in the pocket and
go for the door. In order for charges to stick, the arrest must be
made outside the store, so they would be let out of the store and
arrested on the street. But, when they were searched there was no
ring, they would sue the store for the false arrest. Insurance as a
rule settles, and they would go to another store. There was obviously
a third member of the team, but it was never discovered who it was.
So they would have the ring and the money from insurance.

Leonid Surpin