01 Mar

Crime Rates in Salt Lake County

BurglarSalt Lake County may not be as safe as you think. Every year since 2011, the crime rate has been slowly increasing. Even the head of police has requested an increase in staff it keep up with the crime rate. “Part 1” crimes, serious offenses such as murder, rape, robbery and stealing a car, have seen the most increase. “Part 2” crimes have also increased (like public intoxication and fraud), but not as drastically as “Part 1.”  Of course there are more instances downtown then there are in the surrounding suburbs, but there is crime all down the Wasatch Front. Read on for more crime statistics. Read More

15 Feb

How to Stay Safe in a Shady Neighborhood

woman walking aloneIt usually isn’t difficult to tell if you’ve found yourself in a rough area, as the signs tend to be pretty obvious—sirens, illicit drug activity, trash, abandoned buildings, and a high number of bars, for example. And sometimes, whether we like or not, we find ourselves living in areas that are a little rough around the edges. If you live in a shady neighborhood and sometimes find yourself worried about your safety, here are some things that you can do to protect your home and your family. Read More

14 Feb

Frequently Asked Questions about Security Cameras for Homes

hd-ir9542vf-thumbI often get asked the same questions from people that are curious about putting cameras up in their homes.  I am going to answer a few of them here.  I will come back and update this post from time to time as people email me questions.

Hi Thal,

Thank you for taking the time to talk about security cameras with me and my husband.

We have some questions:

Question:      Do the cameras function during power outages?  Not without a battery backup.  We don’t usually include these in our quotes.  They are easy to pick up at Home Depot or a Staples.  Get something that would be adequate for powering your computer equipment during a power outage.

Question:     Is there a monitoring fee/subscription requirement?  No.  Not with us.  You own the equipment and have your warranty.  You can call us for warranty work or service work after the warranty.

Question:      Will the system affect our WiFi and/or internet performance (will it slow or bog down performance)?  This depends on the system we install.  We usually quote out a TVI system.  This will not affect your internet unless you are actively logged into your cameras through your phone or a remote device.  The rest of the time, the cameras will not be on your network.

Question:       How vulnerable are the cameras to hackers? Not very.  Because everything is hard wired to the recorder the signal is not out in the air.  The recorder is what we network and it would require 4 pieces of information.  1.  The IP address to your router from the outside   2. A port number that we will assign the machine   3.  A username  4.  A password.   They are quite secure.  They are behind your router and hard wired in.  There is no way to hack into an individual camera with a TVI system.
Question:      Are the cameras motion activated?  The cameras are not motion activated.  They are running all of the time.  The recorder actually runs the video through an algorithm and determines if their is motion or not by the amount of movement of the pixels in the picture.  (This can be changed by settings of sensitivity and area as well.)  If the recorder determines that there is motion then it saves the information as a motion event.  Recorders can be set up to record all the time, by motion, and by schedule.


Question:      Do the cameras have night vision?  Unless we discuss differently, all cameras that I quote out for a home project will have night vision.  The most common form of night vision is Infrared or IR.  There are IR crystals on the camera that shine out into the darkness like a flashlight.  The lens in the camera can pick up that light even though the human eye cannot.

Question:      Will the cameras email me if there is motion?  Most camera systems have the ability to do this but I strongly recommend against it.  There are too many false alarms.  Because of the way camera systems determine motion, you could be getting notifications when it the wind blows a tree too much, when it rains, snows, etc.  The motion would be almost continuous along with the alarms notifications to your phone.

Question:  What is the price range to get cameras on my home?  Each installation is a custom job but I try to do a package price for homeowners so that they can get an idea of cost.  We typically design and install a system that includes 4-5 HD 1080 P cameras, a recorder, monitor, and phone networking for about $2100-$2600.  This includes an onsite 1 year warranty.


12 Feb

Security Cameras……The NEW Neighborhood Watch

When I was young I remember one of the neighborhoods I lived in forming a “Neighborhood Watch.”  It was a concerted effort to keep an eye out for one another’s property and the general safety of the neighborhood where we lived.  It was a way to help the local police help us.tvi-ir8210hvf-0622-thumb

Now there is a new way that we as citizens can be part of a “Neighborhood Watch” and that is through the use of quality security cameras on our homes and businesses.  Unlike the eye witnesses of old with a poor memory and limited time.  We can now provide total recall and 24-hour vigilance.

One such client of mine in Holladay Utah was very frustrated because local kids kept destroying her Halloween and Christmas decorations.  She put in 1080P HD cameras in the early fall of 2014.  In December of the same year, the problems with the decorations went away and her video was used to bust a thief that had been stealing UPS packages from porches throughout the neighborhood.  On January 17th of this year I received a phone call around twelve noon.  The police were needing to pull video from her system because of an officer involved shooting that happened just a few driveways down.  Officer Doug Barney had been shot and killed after responding to a traffic accident that involved two fleeing suspects.  The man turned and shot him in the head.

While working in my home office, I often utilize cameras to watch for the mail and UPS, see who has come to the door, and keep an eye on my son, (age 6) playing in the front yard or on the trampoline with his friends.  I am even able to keep an eye on our chickens.  The most important thing however is that I know everything is recorded if I need find out what happened.

As the Camera technology quality continues to improve, the neighborhood watch of the future should be very formidable indeed. – Thal Dixon


15 Jan

Smart Home Security Features

A blank iPhone is suspended in white space.As we continue barreling into the 21st century with amazing advancements in digital technology, every industry seems to be affected by modern transitions, and the home security industry is no different. There tons of ways that smartphone technology can help you adapt your home security system into something that is more personal and intuitive to the way that we live now. From new locks to specialized video cameras, take a look how some of these incredible home security features can make for a smart, convenient way to keep your home and family a whole lot safer… Read More

01 Jan

Xfinity’s Flawed Security System

The Xfinity logo in red lettersWhile security systems continue to advance and progress as technology brings new tools to keep homes safe, it is important to note that there is no such thing as a security system that is impenetrable. As security engineers get smarter, so too do those who would wish to bypass those security systems. Luckily, most people with that kind of intelligence aren’t going to be looking to break into your home, and probably have their sights set on bigger fish. However, recently, Xfinity’s home security system has been shown to have a major flaw in its design, one that could actually exist throughout the home security industry… Read More