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video surveillance at range: good idea?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by twofifty, Jul 23, 2014.

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  1. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    I'd like to find out what works and what doesn't when it comes to a video strategy to reduce vandalism and littering at un-supervised non-gated outdoor range.

    Our private club is looking at installing a high-tech video recording system. Due to the nature of the land gating and secure fencing are not an option, nor is having an on-site RO.
    Though non-gated & unsupervised, the range is clearly signed as being open to members only (private land that we lease).

    The police have said they will use our recordings to investigate any incidents.

    This will be a high-def system, so license plates and faces will be clearly recognizable. There will be 3 cameras rolling, all caching the input offsite in real time. The software will allow the recordings to be automatically scanned to id the exact time when, for example, a bullet hole appears in a sign or glass bottles are destroyed. Then it's just a matter of examining the footage just prior to see who was on site.

    I hope to find out if your range's video recording system solved more problems than it created. Any experiences, good or bad? Any tips?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  2. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    I can't speak to any experience with them but I would point out as a member of a private range I would no longer be a member if the decision was made to record everything. Americans get enough surveillance as it is.

    Is there another location you can be at that allows a gate? Recording events might help identify who did the deed but it doesn't prevent the vandalism. And as soon as people up to no good realize there are cameras I would think it would be a simple enough activity to wear a hoodie.

    Just my thoughts I figured I'd throw in there.
     
  3. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Excellent Idea

    Not only to address vandalism, theft, and dumping, but also to help in determining responsibility for errant shots that leave the area.

    From the liability standpoint, that can be critical.
     
  4. clamman

    clamman Member

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    Twofifty you have a PM
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    We did that at our range a few years ago and it is a remarkably effective way of stopping bad, dangerous, and destructive behavior.

    A lot of clubs I shoot at have started installing systems like this, and it's funny how even good-ol'-boy club officers sometimes get discovered treating club property like it's theirs (or rather, their mother-in-law's :scrutiny:).

    No body likes surveillance. Even fewer like everyone being punished/blamed for the jackass actions of one or two bad apples. When the club Board calls a member in for a chat and pulls up the video of them shooting up the range signs or pointing a gun at someone, everyone kind of goes, "Oh...I get it."

    There's some very good reasons for resisting the government's surveillance. With a private shooting range/club it is simply a matter of accountability for your actions, accountability to your club mates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  6. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    To add to this, we also now have RFID key cards for opening the range gate, and clubhouse and indoor range doors. Instead of having to keep track of a key, just slap your wallet against the box and the door unlocks.

    And...when the fire department gets called on a Wed. night because someone set the range on fire with tracers, it doesn't take but 5 minutes to find 2-3 folks who either did it, or probably saw who else was there.
     
  7. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    Since we have droughts in major parts of the country and water savers on all showers and sinks toilet bowls with 1.5 gallon flushes we have to have video cameras in the shower and on the toilet bowl to make sure water is not being wasted. Water is much more important to survival then shooting a hole in a sign. After all if you are not doing anything wrong what is the problem
     
  8. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Member

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    The cameras themselves will become targets for vandalism and theft. How are you going to hide them while still having them in locations to make useful recordings?
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You don't have to hide them. In fact, you shouldn't. (Or at least not all of them.)

    None of these systems records on media stored inside the camera any more. So if some dude steals the camera, the club president will have a beautiful full-color video of the bright guy who stole it or damaged it right on his laptop at home (or wherever the signal is sent to).

    Our club president can get a phone call from the range from someone who wants to report damage and check out the video record without leaving his house. And can check the key card swipes to see who's been there that day, to match a face with a name.

    (We have about 1,500+ member families so he doesn't know everyone on sight.)
     
  10. thefish

    thefish Member

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    Good idea. If your range is going to do this themselves, I can provide you some links to the survaliance systems we use. You will most likely want explosion proof enclosures, as well as ir for night vision unless the range is well lit at night. The easiest way to do cams like this if youndont have wiring in place already is an ip system with Poe, you will however need a solid business class or enterprise grade network.
     
  11. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Sounds a bit on the expensive side but with todays high-tech stuff very doable.

    However I am puzzled as to why fencing and gating is not possible. We run a lot fence over all sorts of terrain with T-Posts and barbed wire.
     
  12. cologuy

    cologuy Member

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    The system we have at our range sounds just like the one Sam1911 is referring to. RFID and PIN to gain entry, HD video in each shooting lane and all public areas, meeting rooms, etc. It was the best money our club ever spent, although you'll catch enough of the "good old boys" doing things they shouldn't that it will definitely create some waves in the organization. Is it intrusive? Sure it is, but we haven't had to replace the bullet traps or ricochet curtains (indoor range) since we installed the system, so it's worth it to the club in the end. One thing I'd suggest is find someone that is familiar with the privacy standards that apply to video recording in public/private areas, and have them draft up a one or two page guideline that spells out to the members how the recordings will be used, how long they can be retained, who will have access to the recordings, etc. Heck, Google "video privacy standards" and you can get some really good ideas for how to draft a policy that will help calm some of the more nervous members of your club. As long as everyone knows you won't be using video of someone picking their nose for an entry on America's Funniest Videos, you'll be OK.

    PS: Don't go cheap! There's a lot of junk equipment and software out there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  13. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    We are installing cameras at our local public range. The cameras have been ordered and they are inside of a protective Lexan enclosure. In theory, the enclosure will protect the cameras from handgun and shotgun blasts. Besides, if you are in a position to shoot the camera, you have already been recorded. It's a shame we have to resort to cameras, but it seems the range slobs outnumber the decent folk.
     
  14. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Put on a gate and start supervising it.

    If you have a range, given whats been going on of late, its hard to ignore.


    Cameras are great at that.

    For keeping out riff-raff, nothing beats a person and a door. (of sorts)

    Guess it depends on what matters more- actually stopping the improper activity, or holding someone accountable for it.

    Your members should be ( should be ) easily accountable. However, when Joebob with no plates rambles on up to the firing line and dumps his trash, shoots your cameras, and rambles on off the property- you're still outta luck.


    Having no way to prevent access is probably the largest hole I can see in any prevention scenario.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  15. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Put a plot watcher camera up in a tree, well camouflaged, and don't tell a soul.

    I see way to much vandalism on private and public gunranges.

    Deaf
     
  16. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    Texas company....

    I used to get a DV/security system catalog from a firm in Texas. They did many types of crime prevention/private security/loss prevention systems. If I can find it, I will pass it on.
    I'd add that you might want to get one or 2 low light/night vision type units. This will help for night or after hours.

    I would post a few warning signs or posts that clearly say it's private property or trespassers are not allowed. That might sound simple but in court or a civil action the point may come up. :uhoh:

    Hunting sites like Cabelas or Gander Mountain might have camo type DV systems that are weather-proof & can blend in. ;)

    In closing, you should buy a system or units you can check remotely with a cell phone or tablet.
     
  17. Sol

    Sol Member

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    Make sure you point the cameras at the license plates too.
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    A couple of points:

    1) Cameras don't actually stop anyone from doing a bad thing NOW, of course. But really, neither do gates (which can be climbed over or cut down) or even a guard (who could be disposed of) if someone REALLY wants to do something nasty.

    2) Cameras DO help you hold folks accountable, so even if you get hit once by someone, they won't get away with it twice or a dozen times.

    3) Cameras DO act as an (ironically, perhaps) very good reminder to the good folks of just how good and proper they are ... ;) ... and it's amazing how much little petty annoyance stuff (trash, debris, minor damage) and sloppy behavior (bad muzzle control and stupid gun tricks when "no one's looking") dry up when folks are aware that their antics just may be the night's entertainment at the next BOD meeting ... followed up with a rather gruff phone call.

    They say "character" is who you are when no one's looking. When rather serious matters like firearms are involved, it probably makes reasonable sense to be watchful of ourselves and each other, so we don't leave safety and property security up to the lowest common denominator of our collective characters. It is a lot easier to uphold the best standards, always, when you know someone else can see you.
     
  19. RustyShackelford

    RustyShackelford member

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    Post #17, signs.....

    I agree with the points in 17.
    I'd add that posted signs or warning notices clearly shows that any criminal behavior or misconduct would be dealt with. ;)

    Rusty
    PS: If trash or litter is a big problem, Id also buy a big sturdy trash can or 2.

    One of of my big peeves is places with no trash cans in sight. If you complain about litter or trash, at least give the patrons/members a change to throw it away.
     
  20. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Thank you for all the replies and the PM.

    - yes Kleanbore, I imagine that from a liability standpoint having video may help the club and executive if someone is injured.

    - Sam1911: our hope is to increase good behaviour and add a big dose of accountability; glad this is what happened at your range.
    - The high definition cameras will be visible and aimed so as to provide backup to each other. The idea of having a hidden oversight one is appealing though, should someone decide to take a rifle shot at them from far away.
    - One advantage of rural is that we know who's who in the valley and who drives what.
    - The local police are on board and will definitely investigate when we get hit. We figure a few people will put the system to the test and get caught. The club will ask that criminal charges be laid whenever property damage occurs and the police are good with that. Misconduct will be dealt with internally. Trespassers will be charged.

    - Deaf Smith: good idea on having some sort of hidden oversight.

    - thefish: we are consulting with a savvy IT outfit who will set us up with a solid network system (deep-cell solar-charged battery powered), IR capable, that is manufactured in Sweden by Axis Communications. We already know solar-charged batteries work on this site.

    - BSA1, blarby: An RFID-keyed gate or chained gate is not an option as we are 2 miles from the nearest power, and 5 miles from the nearest built-up area, on a dirt road that gets minimal traffic. Historically, gates in this very rural forested mountain area do not last very long as they are easily yanked with a 1-ton pickup.

    Rusty:
    -yes, we'll have to put up new signs, and also develop a club policy regarding access, privacy, archiving.
    - we have 5 huge trash cans.

    Sol: yep, the plates will be clearly legible so long as people drive onto the site.


    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.
     
  21. Drail

    Drail Member

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    In my experience regarding range vandalism (and I have seen way too much) is that the first thing that will happen is that any cameras will be shot out.:scrutiny:
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Placed properly the person who fired the shot would be recorded and transmitted by the camera he "killed." We prosecute vandals if it needs to go that far.
     
  23. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Positive ID from a video camera requires the "subject" to be fairly close. With a rifle you are probably not going to get that. Especially if they use a rifle.
     
  24. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    Not if you shoot them from the back or shotgun the wires feeding it. Wild people looking to create havoc think of ways to defeat cameras gates etc
     
  25. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I think its a good idea if it will be cost effective for the members.
    I'm accustomed to low membership dues. I wouldn't mind the cameras if they didn't cause the dues to go up to an unreasonable amount.
     
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