A Security Failing: How Safe Do You Feel In Your Home?

A Security Failing: How Safe Do You Feel In Your Home?

Jason Yang
Apr 26, 2011

Apartments and condos tout security as one advantage of living in a confined super structure. Theft is hardly something you need to think about when you live behind multiple locked doors with a security guard, building/office manager, or receptionist at the front desk. So it was much to my surprise when after returning from a week's vacation that I had been burglarized. How much security does your home provide and how much do you trust it?

For me, it was a random piece of trim ($1,800 new, $200 to $600 used) stolen from my car in our supposedly secure parking garage. My immediate thought was why would someone steal something off of my car requiring manual removal of the piece when I had much more expensive car parts sitting right in front of the car on the ground. I recalled our building's security cameras and headed to see the office manager, where he kindly showed me how to operate the system. While I did find myself driving to work yesterday morning (sans trim), several problems became immediately clear, some of which you can see in a picture above taken from the security monitor:

  1. The picture was so washed out from the light and grainy from the low resolution camera that I could hardly make out any details at all.
  2. Without a motion sensor on the camera, it just recorded everything. I could fast forward and rewind but it only takes 2 seconds for a car or person to go by the field of view for the camera in the garage.
  3. The frame rate was so low that especially given my small 2 second window I probably only had a handful of usable stills to look at for any given car/person in view.
  4. The camera only recorded 7 days worth, and it had been 9 days total from the day I left and when I drove the car next and noticed the missing piece.

With all these inadequacies, there was no way I would be able to sit through 7 days of almost useless footage, much less identify anyone/thing in the video. The tapes didn't even cover the entire timeframe I was gone so there was a big gap that I had no footage for.

The office manager talked to me about the condo board's discussions to upgrade to a high definition security camera system. The estimates they received for the upgrade ranged from $20,000 to $40,000. Not having any experience/knowledge in security systems, that amount seems pretty high for a small 100 unit condo to pay. Broken down per unit to $200-$400 per owner, it doesn't sound *as bad.

With better security cameras though I wonder if still it would make a difference. Even if I saw a person walking out with the part, how could I even begin to identify or find that person? Security cameras being passive, the crime could have occurred over a week ago and then what? It's a sad thought that I'm going to have to pay for something stolen from me, and there isn't much I can do about it. At least it wasn't a safety situation where I or my girlfriend was home when a thief (or worse) came in. So how do you feel about security in your home?

Here are some great resources for security in your home from Unplggd:

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