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The Best Outdoor Security Camera Systems

The Best Outdoor Security Camera Systems

installing camera

As a homeowner, installing a top-notch outdoor security system is an investment in both your property and peace of mind. With these nifty devices, no matter where you are, you’ll have round the clock visibility of your home’s perimeter, allowing you to spot suspicious activity before it becomes a problem. Sometimes, the presence of a security camera alone can be enough to ward off potential intruders! That said, let’s dive into today’s top security camera systems.

Differences in Security Camera Systems

Although all high-end security camera systems on today’s market perform the vital function of video surveillance, the quality and complexity of this ability varies between products. When choosing your home’s techno watchdog, it helps to keep a list of key features to guide your search, including:

  • Video Quality: If all your images appear as fuzzy dots, what’s the point of having a security camera anyway? Even if you only intend to install a camera as a cautionary measure, it’s important all images the system captures render at a high enough quality to alert you to potential mischief or — in the worst case — to be used as viable evidence in the incident of a home invasion. Since security cameras function on the same pixel technology as video cameras, it’s important to select a system with high resolution. Generally, 4 MP or 1080p resolution is high enough to record clear images with obscured details, while 5 MP is the gold standard.
  • Power Source: Like all electronics, security cameras need to derive their power from somewhere. At the moment, there are three types of power sources for wireless cameras: solar powered, plug-in cable, and battery powered. 
  • Installation: Most cameras can be installed simply with a screwdriver. The complicated part is deciding where the best place to install it is.
  • Storage: There are two ways you can store your camera’s video footage: local or cloud. With local storage, you will store the footage on a microSD card or a USB drive and want to make sure it is easily accessible in time of need. Most people prefer this method because it is both convenient and private. With cloud storage, you can view the footage from anywhere through your phone or any other electronic device that has the app.
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Stay Secure with Pop-A-Lock

If you’re still on the fence about installing an outdoor security camera system, let Pop-A-Lock  clear up your doubts with our residential security audit. We’ll scour your property in search of security blind spots, and advise you on how to beef up your defenses. Or, if you prefer to poke around for yourself, download our free home security audit checklist today!

5 Tips to Stay Safe From Locksmith Scams

There may come a day when you need the services of a professional locksmith to provide one of the wide variety of services they perform.  Whether it’s for your home or business, a highly trained, professional locksmith is the only option.  Before hiring anyone, be sure to research the locksmiths in your area.

The most significant problem in the locksmith industry today is that of the ‘locksmith scammers’.  Scammers are individuals calling themselves locksmiths but have minimal training, not certified, and will not stand by advertised or quoted prices given over the phone.  The price you see online will not be the price you pay at the end of the service.  The saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is”, that is certainly the case when it comes to scammers.  A $15 door unlock never is $15, more like $85 to $150 and sometimes higher.  The only way to stop these scammers is through awareness.

ALOA, the Associated Locksmiths of America, an international association of locksmiths and security professionals are active in warning consumers of the dangers of hiring just anyone to handle your locksmith needs.  “This scheme entices locked-out consumers with large ads that give the impression you are calling a local business,” says ALOA’s Executive Director, David M. Lowell, CAE, CML.  “These companies manipulate listings with multiple false addresses and phone numbers to make them seem like a neighborhood business.  In actuality, the victims frequently are calling out of state operations that are not locksmith companies at all.  The consumer is quoted a reasonable price over the phone, but when a person posing as a locksmith finishes the job, the victim is charged a considerable amount more for unnecessary and sub-standard work.”

  • If a company advertising includes the ALOA logo, this signals a qualified member
  • If you call a number you find online or in the yellow pages and they don’t identify themselves as their legal business name when answering, you should be concerned.  Hang up and move on.
  • You should ask for and receive a written estimate for any work required.  You should also receive an itemized invoice at the completion of the work performed.  A legitimate locksmith will not perform work without prior discussion and approval.
  • A legitimate locksmith will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle and in uniform.  They will also be able to provide you with a valid locksmith license/registration.
  • Any trained locksmith can pick a lock, you should be concerned if the person pulls out a drill before attempting to pick your lock.

If you feel uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever with the person that has arrived, it is your right to refuse service.  If you are threatened in any way, call 9-1-1 immediately.

A good place to start to find a legitimate locksmith is findalocksmith.com or fairtradelocksmiths.com.  These sites provide information for ALOA qualified locksmiths from around the country.  You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for information on locksmiths in your area.  We urge you to be proactive in this matter and program the phone number of a trusted locksmith into your phone before you need one.  Whether you choose to work with Pop-A-Lock or another local locksmith in your area, stay informed and share the information provided here with family, friends, neighbors.  We feel that there is nothing more important than the safety and security of your family and home, employees and business.

State Licensing Requirements for Locksmiths

The following states require a locksmith to become licensed prior to operating, contact the individual state offices for more information.

ALABAMA

Electronic Security Board of Licensure

334-264-9388

www.aesbl.com/Companies.asp

CALIFORNIA

Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Security & Investigative Services

800-952-5210

http://www2.dca.ca.gov

CONNECTICUT

Department of Consumer Protection

800-842-2649

www.elicense.ct.gov/

ILLINOIS

Division of Professional Regulation

217-785-0800

http://www.idfpr.com/dpr/licenselookup/LocksmithLookup.asp

LOUISIANA

State Fire Marshal’s Office

800-256-5452

http://sfm.dps.louisiana.gov/doc/lic/PPE_Locksmith.pdf

NEBRASKA

County Clerk’s Office

Contact local County Clerk’s office

NEW JERSEY

Division of Consumer Affairs

973-504-6200

https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/Search.aspx?facility=Y

NEW YORK CITY

Department of Consumer Affairs

212-639-9675

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/consumers/check-license.page

NEVADA

County Sheriff’s Office

Contact local county Sheriff’s office

NORTH CAROLINA

Locksmithing Licensing Board

919-838-8782

http://www.nclocksmithboard.org/currentlocksmiths.pdf

OKLAHOMA

State Department of Health

405-271-5779

http://www.ok.gov/health/documents/20080311_OklaLicAlarmCompanies.pdf

http://www.ok.gov/health/documents/20080307_OklaLicAlarmAndLocksmithIndustryIndiv_A-Z.pdf

OREGON

Department of Commerce & Insurance

503-378-4621

https://ccbed.ccb.state.or.us/ccb_frames/consumer_info/ccb_index.htm

TENNESSEE

Department of Commerce & Insurance

615-532-3369

http://licsrch.state.tn.us/

TEXAS

Department of Public Safety Security Board

512-424-2000

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/psb/company/company_search.aspx

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/psb/individual/individual_search.aspx

VIRGINIA

Department of Criminal Justice Services

804-786-4000

http://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/ps/directory/locksmithbusinessSearch.cfm