By Al Beeber on August 21, 2021.
A few weeks ago here, I wrote about the need for Lethbridge residents to watch out for each other and our neighbourhoods, and how we can protect ourselves with security systems.
Since that column, a few people have talked to me about their interest in getting security cameras so they can also keep a virtual eye on their properties.
Between the security camera and five motion detector lights – yes, five – I am feeling a bit more peace of mind these days. I set up the solar lights in strategic locations on the perimeter of my property, part of which faces a cul de sac where plenty of nocturnal activity goes on with people carrying multiple backpacks coming and going regularly and vehicles strangely idling then disappearing into the night.
What these people are doing I’m not sure but I know others on the block are just as concerned – and fed up – as me.
Because I’ve set up the security camera so it doesn’t intrude on neighbours’ privacy I’m probably missing stuff that might be of interest.
With my system, a person can create a so-called geo-fence and alerts are only triggered when an object like an animal, person or vehicle crosses a boundary. When an alert is triggered, an email notice is sent to my phone and I can immediately play back the short video that’s been recorded.
Lately, almost every night I’ve seen footage of a buck deer with a massive rack strolling onto the lawn and nibbling on flowers before disappearing out of view, presumably headed to the bird feeder for a late night snack.
At first, I had the system sending alerts 24-7 which was clogging up my email box. I’d probably get 70 alerts a day which was overwhelming.
So I’ve since set up a specific time for the system to alert me of interesting activity. Sometimes the German shepherd will provide that alert himself before I get the email message and Rio’s ears are just as sensitive as the camera’s electronic eye, I think.
In recent weeks, aside from the backpack crew, who generally ride past between 1 a.m. and 4 under the cloak of darkness, the amount of late-night activity caught by the camera in front of my house has dropped substantially.
Now neighbours, though, are seeing strange vehicles, usually luxury brand sedans, parked by a nearby house next to an alley idling for lengthy periods and then quietly leaving.
I personally believe the motion detectors are the reason there is less traffic in front of my own place.
Car prowlers, I’m guessing, don’t want to be seen and there’s nothing like a few lights illuminating at the same time to tell a home owner something is up. Maybe drug dealers don’t want to be noticed, either.
One of the lights seems to have caught the attention of a neighbourhood cat who has been seen swatting at it to get the light to come on, doing this repeatedly like a game.
If that light catches a cat’s attention, I’m guessing two-legged creatures have noticed it and the other ones I set up.
The security camera is supposed to differentiate between people, animals and vehicles. For the most part, it works but there have been times I’ve gotten a late-night alert to see the word “person” in large bold letters above a box placed around that individual which is clearly a deer, sometimes the aforementioned buck.
But despite the few mistaken identities, I’m sold on the security camera.
It’s recorded a few suspicious activities that I’ve kept just in case and makes nights a little less sleepless. Come fall and winter when the sun sets earlier, I’m actually looking forward to the motion detector lights when I get home from work or come back from an evening stroll with the dogs. The peace of mind they provide, I think, will also help me unwind a bit which is tough given how uptight our entire block is about all the suspicious activity we endure. Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter