Result of Neighborhood Security Camera Pilot

We have just finished the pilot installation of our Neighborhood Security Camera solution.

Pilot Requirements
Pilot had to uncover if it would be possible to make a solution that could satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Be Legal
  2. Be affordable (both Startup and Maintenance)
  3. Installed by the neighborhood members themselves not professionals
  4. Store the recording in the ‘Cloud’ to allow distributed access
  5. Evidence quality recordings that would allow manual reading of license plates Day and Night.
  6. Determine which software should be used for review of the recordings.

The Process
We have evaluated a number of cameras, low cost, medium cost and high cost. The cameras were tested in live setup in our neighborhoods under a number of conditions both day and night, rain and shine  and the famous Oakland hills fog.

The Surveillance of public space presented a number of legal and practical challenges that we had to address.

The distributed nature of a residential neighborhood compared to most home and commercial installations meant that we had to solve a number of logistical challenges that had not  been solved before on a limited budget.



  • Cheap cameras don’t work at all.
  • Medium priced cameras  work during the day but not at night.
  • Only Expensive cameras work both at day and night,
  • Infrared Illuminators are required for night recordings.
  • Legal issues can be solved.
  • It is possible to coordinate recordings from multiple residences on a budget.
  • We could not find any suitable Commercial or Open Source software.
  • Cloud Storage provider is found, but not tested (due to lack of software)

Readable License plate in Thick fog. Click to enlarge. Test car - not a Criminal!

Night+Rain+Fog image of readable License plate. Click to enlarge. Actual photo

Real car driving by Camera at Night with Rain and Fog. Click to enlarge. Test car - not a criminal!

2 thoughts on “Result of Neighborhood Security Camera Pilot

  1. Thanks for sharing your useful experiences
    What do you think of signs informing visitors of cameras?
    What do you think of the concern that we could be sued for invasion of privacy?

  2. I believe signs are very important for two reasons: 1) Prevention and 2) Remove Expectation of Privacy (4th Amendment).
    Article on the way about good signage, where to place signs, sign text, how to make your own signs and where to buy signs locally.
    I did a lot of research into the privacy issues, before we setup our cameras. Long article on the way about Legal stuff particular risk of being sued for invasion of Privacy. Make sure you subscribe to the blog to get notified as soon as I publish the articles. (if you cannot wait, send me an email offline, or have me come to your next neighborhood watch group meeting and share my experiences.)

    – JJ

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