Things to consider when purchasing

  • Focus on placement. Cameras should be installed above the entrances, exits and other key points as close to eye level as possible. Consider installing a camera that captures the street in front of your property.
  • Installation & set-up. Installation involves mounting cameras on house or pole, routing wires (Wired only), and the set-up will involve software set-up. Luckily, Oakland has many residents with hardware and IT skills. Residents can opt to hire a local vendor for installation and better customer service.
  • Avoid proprietary cables (for wired cameras). Some common manufacturers cameras and DVRs are only compatible with their own cables. Instead, search for systems that use industry standard cables such as coaxial cables for analog cameras and Cat 5 cables for IP cameras.
  • Consider installing extra lighting. Good lighting is key to capturing good video. Focus on how the lighting conditions around a house can change from day to night. You may need to install lamps to compensate for shadows at sunset or intense backlighting.
  • Make a site plan to determine how many cameras you need. A site plan should cover doors, gates, and other likely entry points.
  • Ensure all components are compatible. If you use a Mac, make sure your DVR is compartible with Mac OS, otherwise you will not be able to view or record your footage.

Important Recommended Specifications


  • Frames per second (FMS): 7.5 minimum, 30 recommended
  • Analog minimum resolution: 480 horizontal TV lines
  • Infared LEDs (built-in)
  • Industry standard cables
  • Weather resistant


  • 500 GB hard drive (minimum)
  • Industry standard cables
  • Exportability (USB drive or DVD burner)
  • USB port (to extract files onto a portable jump drive)
  • If you have Apple products: compatibility with Mac OS and Mac supported Internet browsers