Private Investigations and Personal Security/Surveillance System



There has been an issue outside my apartment with vandals and I'd like to get a surveillance system set up. The landlords won't do anything about it. I didn't know if permission was required but I asked anyway and they're okay with it. I'll have to probably do make-shift placement of cameras though, perhaps on my window sills and aiming outside, as I shouldn't drill mounts in walls for installing cameras.

I'd like to set up a system for both indoor and outdoor security, with decent cameras capable of decent day/night video, the option of 24/7 recording, and remote monitoring via secured internet. I'm undecided on wired versus wireless.

My computer runs Linux, so I don't know how that would factor in. I might get a Mac ("iPad") computer at some point if that'll help. I'm guessing I might need an entirely independent surveillance system.

I did some research on home security/surveillance systems and the two brands that kept coming up were Swann and Lorex.

Would you have any recommendations for systems to consider?

If I have to I can budget in close to $1,000 but I'd like to cap the price off at around $500, and the lower the price (while maintaining decent quality) the better.

Here are some options that I've come across from my research:

From Lorex -
Live SD9 Indoor/Outdoor Digital Wireless Security System
LIVE Wireless Surveillance System
4-Channel Surveillance System
Edge Series Video Surveillance System
Edge+ 4 Channel 4 Camera Surveillance System
Edge+ Series 4-Channel Wireless Surveillance System

And from Swann -
Security Recorder Kit
All-in-One Monitoring and Recording System

Thank you for any kind of input that you provide! It's greatly appreciated.


It sounds like you've done a bit of research to your credit. I would only ask a couple of questions and bring up some items that you should consider before making a purchase.
1. How many cameras do you need?
REASON: If you think you will ever need more than 4 cameras, don't ever buy a system that can only has 4 video inputs.
2.Does the system you purchase have the ability to add additional camera, upgrade the memory, upgrade other hardware/software and is it interchangeable with other manufacturer's cameras and or hardware?
REASON: If you are going to use the system for internal & external security, then I personally don't believe a 4 channel system is appropriate. Plus, you don't want to have to buy another system when you've outgrown it's limitations.
3. Think upgradeable when considering surveillance systems.
4. Spend the extra money to buy a system that can serve your needs now and also 5 years from now.
5. Personal Preference. You can go with a PC based DVR (surveillance system) or you can go with a Networkable DVR.
PC BASED DVR: Are PCs that have the monitoring software/hardware installed to monitoring remotely
NETWORKABLE DVR: Are DVRs system that you can login from any computer that has the software installed.
6. Wireless versus wired.
HARDWIRED- is great in case you have to use the video as evidence in court and don't want prying eyes from being able to see what your cameras are watching.
WIRELESS- Is great for areas where you cannot install wired cams or it would be too costly or difficult to run wired cams. Just keep in mind that wireless has obvious security vulnerabilities, more interference issues & reception issues. Line of sight issues will weaken the signal strength. The longer the distance, the number of walls and or floors between the transmitter and the receiver will ultimately determine the quality of the video.
7. Overt versus Covert. Do you want security cameras that are deterrents or do you need hidden cameras to catch?


I believe a 8-16 channel standalone networkable DVR would be best. You can then pick the amount of low light, infra red and or weather proof cameras to suit your specific needs.
A couple of examples:

Not recommended:
or you can go with a camera system in a box

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Claude Ammons
Corinthian Group
CA PI # 26978/23070
(877) 687-3939

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Claude Ammons


I enjoy answering questions relating to private & general investigations including but not limited to locates, skip tracing, surveillance, stalking, child custody, criminal defense, civil, corporate security/executive protection, workplace violence/threat assessments, personal security, security surveillance systems and GPS tracking/monitoring products & services. Specifically, I answer questions regarding state laws concerning private investigation practices, as well as the best practices & standard operating procedures used by most reputable private investigative firms. I can give you state & federal references when dealing with issues that may or may not be legal in your specific state. IE- Some states have laws which conflict with federal law such as California's "2 party law" for surreptitious audio recordings. I offer tips on how to identify the right investigative firm for your particular case and what type of questions that investigative firm should be asking you. QUICK TIP #1: NEVER hire a Private Investigative firm that is not concerned about providing you a written contract that specifically outlines the agreement and responsibilities of both parties!!! A written contract should be expected & demanded by both investigative firm and client 95% of the time. I have numerous resources and will point you in the right direction. Whether it is hiring an attorney, a specialist or offering tips on conducting LEGAL investigations & research yourself. I offer advise regarding the kind of info you can legally obtain, what's not legal for you to obtain and when you need to hire a professional to obtain the info on your behalf. Lastly, I have over 20 yrs of experience as a Security Professional/Consultant and 12+ yrs within the Investigative profession. As the 2009 President of a state Private Investigation Association, I have professional knowledge, experience & established resources that supply me with the most recent legislative issues & industry trends.


Corinthian Group experience includes but not limited to all areas of surveillance including Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud, Domestic Infidelity Cases, Computer Investigations & Forensics, Personal Injury & Automobile Liabilty, Loss Prevention, theft interviewing & interrogation techniques, Under Cover assignments, Stalking prevention & suppression, surveillance tactics & countermeasures and surveillance system & lighting consultation experience. Corinthian Group also has experience in security consultation & protective services to the corporate & private sector. These services include Bodyguard/Executive Protection, identity theft prevention, work place violence & volitale terminations, GPS tracking/monitoring services, TSCM/Debugging( Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) and security system products & diagramming experience.

2009 PICA President (Professional Investigators of California Association) NCISS (National Council of Investigations & Security Services)-Member CALI (California Association of Licensed Investigators)-Member SCFIA (Southern California Fraud Investigators Association)-Member WAD (World Association of Detectives)-Member

Publications Hellium: Blog: and my m

PSO (Security Course) Weaponless Defense Tai Karate & MMA training Wicklander & Zulawski-Interview & Interrogation Techniques Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST)-832 Level 3 CA State licensed Private Investigator-CA PI # 23070 Law Enforcement Training Center-Computer Investigations

Awards and Honors
Elected as the Association President of PICA in 2009. PICA was an Association that focused on legislative bills that would have a negative impact on our profession if passed at the state level... PICA was a member oriented association that was positioning itselt to provide its members with resources to help them successful grow and or sustain their businesses. Awarded for presentation of GPS Tracking devices. Honored for service as the 2009 PICA President and the 2008 & 2007 PICA 2nd Vice President respectively.

Past/Present Clients
SCRMA (Southern California Risk Management Associates), Markel Insurance Corporation, Imhoff & Associations (Nationwide Criminal Defense Law Firm). Private clients are Confidential!

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