Here’s a sad story… A local (Spartanburg, SC) music store was broken into over the weekend and 40,000 dollars in gear was taken.
The theft doesn’t look like your typical smash and grab either, because the thieve/s appear to have known the layout and went to great lengths to avoid detection. They entered through a skylight, after cutting power to the store, cutting video surveillance wires and disconnecting the alarm system backup power. A newspaper article about the break in and theft can be found here.
As a small business owner, I know the devastation the proprietor of the music store must be feeling, and I sincerely hope the perpetrator/s is/are caught and the equipment returned, and that there was insurance covering that inventory.
However, as a supplier and consultant in the security field, I have to wonder about a few details and offer some suggestions.
The article states the power was cut. That would not normally matter to an alarm system, as it has a backup battery. Now if the phone lines were cut before the power, then the system could not dial out. UNLESS the alarm system has a cellular backup system as our home and our office both have. This costs a few dollars more, but in the event of a power failure and loss of telephone connectivity, it can make the difference between the system working or not.
Dropping through a skylight SHOULD have been picked up by motion. Was it not functioning? Was the system unable to call out? The alarm should have sounded and strobe lights in equipped should have been flashing. Pulling the battery on the alarm would have then silenced it, but not before it dialed out on the cellular backup system if it used that, or VoIP if the internet were not disabled too.
Which brings us to video surveillance. Obviously, no system is perfect, but many modern systems are capable of alerting staff of intrusion before it happens. If you walk into my yard at my home, or come into the parking lot of our businesses, still shots will be emailed to me. This functionality is easy to configure and helps let you know about sketchy things taking place. If I receive email at 10pm on a Saturday then I am going to be paying special attention to it, watching in real-time.
But what if someone were to manage to disable the internet connections? Wouldn’t that disable the ability to notify anyone? Not necessarily. Businesses can consider secondary internet services, such as wireless broadband internet (3g/4g) for their video surveillance. Total cost, 450/year and doubles as a failover for the business internet.
What if the power were cut to the building? The video surveillance system should be on an UPS (un-interruptable power supply) to keep it running for many hours. Our system is on an inexpensive UPS which will keep the DVR and the cameras functional for about 72 hours. Total cost, 350 dollars.
WHAT IF (Lots of what if’s here!) the bad guys managed to actually get in without being detected… Couldn’t they just take the Digital Video Recorder? Yes, they could, if it were not in a hardened enclosure. But, there are ways to deal with that too. All video up until the time the DVR went offline can be synced to a remote location.
We have opted to sync our video to multiple machines, so if the DVR were physically destroyed or taken, the video would still be elsewhere.
If you would like to discuss how to better protect your Greenville /Upstate SC business or home, give us a call… 864.990.4748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer CCTV, IP Video, Surveillance systems, DVRs and NVRs. We can also help plan for failover systems, such as UPS and cellular / 3g/4g wireless backups.