All posts by Nick Tinsley

Dekalb History Museum in Decatur GA

Case Study: Securing the Dekalb History Center

About the Dekalb History Center in Decatur, GA

A Popular Wedding Venue on Historic Decatur Square

Most nights and weekends, the Dekalb History Center, located near the main Decatur Courthouse provides a preferred venue for upscale weddings, catered events, and fundraisers. If you’ve attended events at the handsome, neoclassical building, you understand why you need to book weekend events at least a year in advance.  The columned granite building, built in 1898, offers Decatur area residents an elegant venue in the heart of the city.

As a non-profit organization, the museum relies on event fees and memberships for upkeep and preservation of the courthouse itself, the historical archives stored there, and several other area buildings from the Civil War period.

Visit to see the latest tours, exhibits, and membership opportunities.

The Security Situation

Inside the lobby of Dekalb History Museum

Petty Thefts, Late Night Confrontations, Trespassing

The museum enjoys its prominent location in Decatur Square with the inviting lawns and easy access to the region’s premier nightlife, but the popular public space has a few security challenges.  Because of the museum’s proximity to one of Decatur’s primary train and bus stations, museum staff need to be extra careful working late hours and remain vigilant of occasional transient populations that pass through park grounds.

Historically, the museum has enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with Decatur Square’s park inhabitants. That changed in the Spring of 2017 after the Museum found itself dealing with a sudden spike of unauthorized intrusions, confrontations, and petty thefts.

“Managing events late at night meant our staff had to be in a lot of places at the same time–not all of them exactly secure.”
-Museum Staff

Most of the crimes occurred while wedding parties were enjoying themselves a little too much and not being careful about leaving doors open and valuables unprotected.  This created easy opportunities for lost cell phones and purses.

In more troubling instances, museum staff found themselves confronting angry individuals about sneaking into museum property to store belongings.  It was after these confrontations the non-profit History Center decided to invest in a few sensible security upgrades to protect staff, safeguard event attendees, and improve building management.

The Solution

Dekalb History Museum. Non-profit security systems installation by NT Security LLC

120 Year Old Granite Building gets Surveillance Cameras, Key Pads, and Door Closers.

After looking up security solutions online, History Center staff sent out an urgent request to NT Security and other local, independent providers to explore video surveillance and access control solutions that would not only provide adequate safeguards but also fit the budget and exceed service and support expectations.

At the first opportunity, NT Security was on-site to perform a full security assessment. Within a week of the initial inquiry, NT Security provided a detailed quote for cameras, keypads, door closers, and support options. Parties agreed to a negotiated contract, and got all the necessary hardware, wiring, and control consoles up and running.

“The best thing about it is how easy it is to use.  If it were something complicated that required a lot of hardware, we never would have used it.  The system is completely dummy proof.”
Museum Staff

Two of the unique challenges faced in this security installation included 1) using the fewest possible cameras to meet tight budget requirements and, 2) installing vandal-proof cameras, key pads, and wiring in a historic granite building without compromising the aesthetics of a historic landmark.  Museum staff were adamant about maintaining the historic qualities of the building and were pleased with Nick’s professional installation.

The rapid deployment quickly put an end to the Museum’s problems allowing staff to focus again on running one of Decatur’s most popular event venues.

The Dekalb History Center selected NT Security not only because of competitive pricing, five-star reviews, and quick installation but also because of the direct, professional service provided by Nick Tinsley. It was important to the museum to work directly with local, trusted professionals instead of dealing with inexperienced hired hands you often get with bigger providers.  If they ever needed to, knowing they could get Nick on the phone for service or repair was reassuring to Mallory and the History Center team.


Video surveillance for non profit, Dekalb History Museum, Decatur GA

Video Surveillance Means Strong Deterrence Plus Easier Events Management

All within a tight budget and rapid deployment window, NT Security was able to help the Dekalb History Center quickly address the immediate safety issues for staff, vendors, and guests and get facility management operations back on track.

“The positioning and coverage of the cameras is excellent. We never could have figured that out on our own.  I thought we were going to need lots of cameras, but Nick was able to capture even more area than we wanted with fewer cameras than we anticipated.”
– Museum Staff

Since then, the client has been delighted to discover the many extra benefits even a basic video surveillance and access control system can provide for efficient and effective facility management.

For example,

  • Remote entryway monitoring.  
    Remote access control means the on-duty site manager can quickly check if it really is the delivery guy needing access to the basement.  If it’s not the delivery guy, there’s no need to go downstairs and confront a stranger.
  • Quick resolution of customer disputes.
    In the past, when there was a dispute about misuse of the facility or whether participants had overstayed their rental contract, it was always an unpleasant case of he-said-she-said.  No longer.  With easily accessible video footage, contract compliance issues are settled quickly and painlessly.
  • Addressing false alarms remotely.
    Nobody wants to get a false alarm call in the middle of the night but they happen.  But, instead of getting out of bed and driving down to inspect the cause, off-site staff can simply pull up video of the facility and put everyone’s mind at ease.
  • Automatic door closer.
    Bridal parties and groomsmen usually have way too much on their minds to worry about whether they left that basement door open or not.  Now, nobody has to worry about it.
  • Pin code entry simpifies rental space management.
    Convenient electronic keypad entry to rented spaces means no more lost keys or physical hand-offs and retrievals.  Each new lessee simply gets a pin code that expires after the event.
  • Solving non-crimes and minor mysteries.
    The only “crime” experienced by the Center since the NT Security installation involved a distraught complaint about missing pile of bridal gifts.  Turns out it was the father of the bride who had simply taken it upon himself to secure the couple’s gifts elsewhere. Phew!  It was quick and easy access to video footage which solved this mystery without a call to the Police.
  • Easier event management.
    With a large capacity spread across multiple levels, the History Center can host very large events with hundreds of participants.  With limited staff on-hand to monitor facility usage, keeping track of what’s happening and who’s coming & going is now much easier. On-duty site managers can easily monitor it all from their phone or office computer.

So, while the need for crime deterrence prompted the Dekalb History Museum to invest in video and access control solutions, the center now enjoys the unexpected benefits of easier event management and more efficient staff workloads.

Why Work With A Local Security Professional

NT Security LLC is a five-star rated security systems provider for Atlanta businesses.

NT Security LLC is a five-star rated security systems provider for Atlanta businesses. Call or email for a fast, free quote today.

Working with a local and independent security professional like NT Security means your non-profit organization or business has direct access to a highly trusted resource who will work within your budget, timeline, and requirements.  NT Security responds quickly to your security urgencies.

NT Security is a highly reviewed 5-star security installation company owned and operated by Atlanta area native Nick Tinsley.  Nick has been providing custom video surveillance, access control, and alarm monitoring solutions to Atlanta businesses and non-profits since 2001.

The NT Security philosophy is simple: be attentive to the customers’ needs, respond to requests in a professional and timely manner, and always be ahead of the curve in providing reliable and affordable security for Atlanta area businesses. For years, our wonderful customers have consistently given us five-star ratings for our outstanding customer service, professionalism, and affordable rates.

For a fast and free quote, contact us online or call (678) 886-1314.

Atlanta City Skyline at Night

City of Atlanta Now Requires Alarm Registration

This post, originally published September 2013, has been updated to reflect current linking.  For the latest information about Alarm Registration for businesses in Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties, see our Alarm Registration Customer Support page.

The City of Atlanta introduced a new ordinance, which will require all businesses and home residents to register their alarm systems.  Effective Sept. 15, Atlanta businesses and residents will be required to register their alarm system and burglar alarms in an attempt to reduce the number of false alarms that authorities respond to.  Residents need to register their alarms at or by calling 1-855-725-7102 by Feb. 1, 2014 to avoid a $150 fee. Registration is free.

Last year, the Atlanta police department responded to 65,000 alarm system. Over 95% were false alarms.  The AJC spoke with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner.  He said, “Our police officers take every alarm call seriously. This new program will allow our officers to spend more time responding to true emergencies.”

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security gate house using security cameras

Neighborhood License Plate Readers Catch a Killer

Security cameras provide strong deterrence for neighborhoods and swim/tennis facilities, but they do much more than that. The following incident involving NT Security surveillance cameras and license plate readers demonstrates why criminals should think twice before messing with a secure neighborhood.

A Senseless Tragedy

On the evening of March 12th, 2017, just before dark in a sleepy subdivision near Loganville GA, residents were alarmed to hear the sound of gunshots and sirens signaling the fatal shooting of a young man in the neighborhood. A nineteen year old resident had been involved in an argument with three other teens who eventually shot him at close range and simply drove away in the dark.

Fortunately, because the neighborhood association was serious about security and had recently upgraded their surveillance camera setup, justice for the victim’s family and neighbors would come quickly and decisively.

Law enforcement was on the scene immediately that night, but the three suspects were already long gone. Detectives needed more than vague accounts from witnesses of the shooter’s car and appearance. That’s when NT Security got involved.

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide from Cloud Video

You can run but not hide from license plate scanners

Screenshot of story reporting capture & arrest of neighborhood murder suspects.

I received an urgent call from my HOA customer shortly after the incident. She explained the tragedy and requested I assist detectives immediately with pulling and isolating the relevant footage from neighborhood cameras.  Of course, I was happy to provide whatever help I could.

Even though the HOA had access to the footage locally, I was glad they called me to help during the initial crisis. The initial response to any violent crime heightens anxiety and emotions, making it that much more challenging to navigate large volumes of video storage efficiently. Working remotely, isolating and enhancing the cloud video footage took me only a few minutes. I was able to immediately start providing detectives with critical intelligence.

In the following few minutes between that call and when the detectives reached me, I was able to locate and enhance imagery of the suspects, the make and model of the getaway car, and a couple of crucial, high quality captures of the car’s license plate. I threw everything the police needed into a Dropbox folder and sent the link to their mobile phones for quick action.

Neighborhood License Plate Scanners Catch a Killer

Wisely, the homeowner’s association had recently upgraded to remote, cloud storage of their security footage. That made it possible for me to quickly access their surveillance recordings without needing to be on site to pull it off of a DVR or SD Card. With the costs so low, I always recommend affordable cloud video surveillance to customers. When you are planning for unknown intrusions, crimes, and disasters, it just makes sense to have a backup copy stored off-premises. In this case, however, it was rapid, remote access that really proved the value of cloud-hosted video.

LPR650AHD License Plate Camera from Digital Watchdog

LPR Cameras like Digital Watchdog’s LPR650AHD are purpose-built for clear capture of car license plates in any environment.

Because of the placement of cameras around the community swim and tennis area, the HOA captured the actual incident itself. This meant we were able later to provide prosecution with thumb drives full of footage showing the actions of all involved.

Armed with clear high-resolution night view captures of the car and license plate, authorities quickly identified prime suspects and were able to locate and arrest the driver that night. Two other accomplices, both 17 years old, including the alleged shooter, would be arrested and charged with armed robbery and murder over the next 2-3 days.

Licence Plate Readers for an HOA?

A little over a year before this tragic homicide, a lesser incident prompted neighborhood association board members to invest in upgraded security cameras and security system infrastructure. As part of my standard onsite security assessment, I recommended that they also add high resolution license plate readers at neighborhood entry points.

Typically, community association customers are concerned with providing access control, deterring petty crime, managing risk and liability around the clubhouse and swim and tennis area. Increasingly however, there is interest from HOA Boards and Neighborhood Watch groups in setting up license plate readers or tag scanners to deter would-be troublemakers, cut down on speeding, and help authorities apprehend criminals.

License Plate Scanner FAQs

Example of a license plate camera capture

Capturing a clear license plate scan takes a very special camera.

If you’re a property management group, community association, or neighborhood watch team thinking about installing tag reading surveillance cameras on your roads, here are a few considerations I share with my customers during their initial security assessment:

  1. License plate cameras are not just shorter video cameras
    License plate cameras are not simply regular video cameras installed at a low angles. They are highly specialized, purpose-built cameras tasked with the difficult job of recognizing, isolating, and highlighting license plates on fast-moving vehicles.  Don’t believe me? Do this as an experiment sometime. Position yourself a safe distance from a dark road some night and use your iphone to take pictures of passing cars. Because of the speed, the high-contrast reflectivity, and small subject matter, you’ll quickly find it can be a real challenge to get a clear image of a readable plate.
  2. License plate readers are not “point-and-shoot” installations
    License plate scanners need to be professionally installed. Because of the angles involved in capturing plates on diverse types of cars flowing in different traffic patterns, do-it-yourself security camera installations generally fail. Don’t waste the money on a nice camera and then settle for an amateur installation.
  3. Show off your security cameras, but hide your license plate reader
    Like regular security cameras, license plate readers can also provide a degree of visual deterrence to would-be criminals. However, we don’t recommend positioning license plate scanners in the same, obvious way. It’s better if they are not prominently displayed, so criminals won’t attempt to drive around (or over) them.
  4. License plates are public information
    Finally, tag readers are not an invasion of anyone’s privacy and therefore do not require special notification to passing drivers. In most local jurisdictions, license plates are considered public information, and anyone may capture and record tag numbers on film or video. As always, check with your local authorities to confirm compliance.

Thankfully, violent crimes, kidnappings, and homicides like the one described above are rare. But, that doesn’t mean you should let regular criminals just cruise in and out of your neighborhood without easy and affordable accountability provided by a professionally installed video surveillance system.

Flir Cloud Video Surveillance

Security should be easy and we have the solution to remove the hassle from video surveillance configuration, setup and monitoring. Viewing high definition cameras is easier than ever before!

No more complicated port forwarding, router issues and technician service calls to see your cameras on your mobile devices. Never worry again about router changes, ISP changes, because we are now proud to offer Flir Cloud High Definition Video Surveillance solutions.

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HD vs. Analog Video Surveillance (1080p vs. D1 Resolution)

Have you considered buying a new video surveillance system for your home or business? Not so fast! There are a ton of systems being offered at big box stores that are economically priced, but they might not be the right fit for you.

Most of the cheap video systems on the market come with cheap quality cables, low resolution cameras and a DVR made from who knows where. In the end, you most likely will be unsatisfied with the quality of your investment, and buyer’s regret could be in your future. Continue Reading

AT&T 2G Sunet

AT&T to Sunset 2G Cellular Support

Wireless alarm monitoring through cellular networks is a smart choice for home and small business alarm systems. Although landlines used to be the industry standard, cellular monitoring has a number of benefits  to protect your house in an emergency.  Unlike phone lines, cellular networks will not be interrupted if your phone line goes down, gets cut, or goes out of service.

Cellular network speeds and capabilities have continued to improve over the past decade, but with increased performance comes the sunset of old services. AT&T announced plans to sunset its 2G network by January 1, 2017.  Just as any old cell phones, wireless alarm systems utilizing 2G technology will need to be replaced by the end of 2016. Continue Reading

The Wild West of Access Control

Secure Your Business from the Cloud

Access control is no longer the wild west. Many businesses used to install and maintain access control software on a local computers, but there’s a better way.  Local systems can be more expensive, require more maintenance, and decrease the level of security for a business.

With a cloud-based system the access control platform, database and control panel are all hosted online, removing the need for on-site software and extra hardware. In a cloud-based model, users can access their control panel anywhere with an internet connection.

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