Safety Alerts

It’s always tricky to be a proponent for the neighbourhood on one hand, and then have to spread the word about safety concerns on the other.  Is our neighbourhood generally safe and awesome?  I think so.  Having said that, here are a few neighbourly warnings to keep in mind.

Laptops on the Loose

Someone emailed us from south of the Danforth (near Coxwell) to advise that their laptop was stolen out of their house, and the police told them that this has been happening a lot in the area.  Evidently, there is a preference for Apple products, so keep your iPads, iMacs and other expensive playthings out of sight to anyone on the prowl for quick cash.  Oh, and a gentle reminder not to leave your house key under the mat.  The bad guys know about that spot.

Car Break-Ins

Ever had your car broken into?  Yeah, me too.  And I was chatting with my neighbours and connected with other neighbours on Facebook and lo and behold, many, many people have had this unfortunate experience.  Did I leave my doors unlocked when arriving home with two screaming toddlers and a cranky four-year old?  Um, maybe. But this seems to be a problem in our whole area, so take some precautions.  And many thieves are very happy to just smash your widow to get what they want.

People say don’t leave valuables where they can be seen from the outside, but I would suggest that you just don’t leave valuables in the car, period.  The thieves look everywhere.  How do I know? Because whoever broke into my car was bleeding, so it was like a bio-hazardous road map to see where a thief looks for stuff.  Sun visors, every drawer, glove box, on the doors – everywhere.

Be sure to file a report with the police.  No matter how minor you think the crime was, if a crime was committed the police should know.  (Oh, and if a random stranger ever bleeds all over your car, get it detailed.  Lots and lots of chemicals.)

One Idea to Protect Yourself

Another neighbour from west of Coxwell advised that someone was breaking into cars and garages in his back laneway.  He mounted a surveillance camera to keep an eye on things, and sure enough, he caught someone in the act of trying to break into his garage.  He has distributed the photo of the suspect among his neighbours, and to police.  Here are his handy step-by-step directions for how you can mount your own surveillance camera. (Note: if you do this, make sure to indicate on your vehicle/garage that there is surveillance.)

How to mount your own surveillance camera 

This post is meant to be a brief primer on how to set up and configure a network of IP cameras that can be configured to notify you and record high quality video any time motion is detected.   In this configuration we use D-link hardware.  While D-link is not the cheapest solution, it is very user friendly and can be set up in minutes.  To set up your own reliable network there are three simple steps.

Step One – Install Ethernet over Power (EOP)  – DLink Powerline

While many cameras include Wi-Fi capabilities, I strongly discourage using Wi-Fi to connect your cameras.  If you use Wi-Fi you will still need to connect a power line and with connectivity issues, you run the risk of not recording video when you need it most.  By installing Ethernet over power you use the existing power lines in your home to create a wired network.  To install a dlink Ethernet over power (EOP) connection simply plug one EOP device  (the transmitting end)  into a power outlet near your router and run an Ethernet cable from your router to  the transmitting  EOP device.  Next you can install a receiving EOP device anywhere in your house.  You can then run an Ethernet cable from the receiving EOP device to your IP camera.  You can install as many receiving EOP devices as you like.

Step Two – Install Power over Ethernet (POE) – TP Link POE injector

By choosing cameras that support power over Ethernet (POE) you simplify the installation process and eliminate the need to locate your camera near a power source.  POE cameras allow you to run one Ethernet cable to your camera which provides both internet connectivity and power.  To add power to an Ethernet connection you will need to add a POE injector.  Simply plug an Ethernet cable with internet connectivity into the “in” jack and plug a new Ethernet cable into the “out” jack.  This new Ethernet cable can be up to 100ft long and can be run directly to your camera

Step Three – Install and configure your camera  DCS-7010L , DCS-2310L and DCS-942L

The third and final step is to install and configure your cameras.  Once your camera are mounted and plugged in you will need to run the CD included with your camera or go to the website to run the setup utility.  Once your camera is detected by your network you can use the Dlink mobile app to log on and stream a live view from your camera.  I recommend using this app when fine tuning the viewing angle of your cameras.  Once you are satisfied with the viewing angle you can return to website to continue your con set figuration,  from this site you can configure the motion detections sensitivity and the area you would like to set up for motion detection.   You can even up basic email notification from this site.  However, to configure advanced settings such as recording to a hard drive, networked attached storage (NAS), memory card, and/or sending a video/image by email,  you will need to log on the admin page of your specific camera and configure the events based on your specific needs.

One more idea

The thing deters crime more than anything is having people around.  This is one of the reasons why DECA has always tried to promote local businesses and to make our stretch of the Danforth more walkable and therefore more safe.  To that end, this Friday, December 13 is DECA’s annual late-night shopping event!  Here’s the link to the poster, and for our Holiday Festival on Saturday, December 14, just in case you missed it the first time!

Speaking of the holidays, if you feel like taking a bit of a jaunt to the north of us, Councillor Janet Davis is hosting a Tree Lighting party at the amazing new spot Dawes Crossing at Dawes and Victoria Park at 6:30pm on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. We are told that there will be hot chocolate and singing, along with merriment enough to go around!  If you want to know more about Dawes Crossing, visit its website!