When a surveillance camera is installed in a location where physical access to the camera is possible, precautions should be taken to protect the camera from vandalism or theft. One factor to consider when selecting a camera is how vandal-proof the camera is. But what exactly does it mean when a surveillance camera is rated as vandal-proof? There are three elements to vandal-proofing.

  1. First the camera should be difficult to open or re-adjust. This is accomplished through the use of recessed security screws that require a special tool included with the camera. A standard screwdriver or hex driver cannot be used to open a vandal-proof camera.
  2. The second aspect of making a camera resistant to vandalism is to build the camera with materials that make it highly resistant to impact, such as a swing from a hammer or a baseball bat. How do you know how much of a blow a camera can withstand? There is an international standard for measuring impact (IEC 62262, the equivalent of the EU standard EN 62262) and a camera manufacturer can submit products to be impact ranked by a certified testing facility. The testing is based on the type of hammer, mass of the hammer and the resulting impact energy (measure in joules). The ratings range from IK1 (the weakest) to IK10 (the strongest). The charts at the bottom of this article show the details involved in providing an impact rating. Note that D-Link outdoor dome cameras have a certified IK10 rating.
  3. The third element of vandal-proofing a surveillance camera is one that is often overlooked – cable management. Cable management refers to how cabling from the camera is run in a way that protects it from the elements and vandalism (think wire cutters). There are three cable management techniques. Which one is used depends on the type of camera, where it is mounted and where the cabling enters the structure.

Surface mounting a dome camera – the cabling exits the back of the dome (the side mounted to the wall or ceiling) directly into the building or into a junction box completely hiding and therefore protecting the cabling.

Mounting a camera using a mounting bracket (wall mount, pole mount, corner mount, etc.) – most modern camera brackets include a built-in channel to hide the cabling. The cabling exits the camera directly into the bracket and is hidden from view. From the back of the bracket, the cabling enters the structure.

Conduit – Whether you’re talking about a dome camera, a bullet camera or a box camera in an outdoor enclosure, there is often a requirement to run conduit from the camera to another location where the cabling can enter the structure to be connected to a network switch or PoE injector. While not as elegant as running the cable directly into the structure, conduit provides a vandal and weatherproof option in situations where the camera cabling cannot enter the structure at the camera location.

The next time you’re planning a surveillance project where cameras are located where they can be physically breached, keep in mind how vandal-proof a camera model is as well as how to install a camera to minimize access to the cabling. In addition to cameras located outdoors, this advice also applies to cameras that are installed within reach indoors such as in schools, small retail stores and prisons. Unlike traditional vandalism, a successful attack on a camera could mean you not only lose the camera but potentially miss the video footage of the camera vandal in action. An added layer or protection is to make sure your cameras have cross coverage, meaning if a camera is damaged or removed, another camera is capturing the attack. Thinking ahead of what the worst possible camera attack could be will help you plan accordingly.

Below you will find the IK impact tables referenced earlier in the article.

Code Impact energy Resistant against an impact from an object of:
00 Non-protected
01 0.150 joules 0.44 lbs thrown from a distance of 2.9″
02 0.200 joules 0.44 lbs thrown from a distance of 3.9″
03 0.350 joules 0.44 lbs thrown from a distance of 6.9″
04 0.500 joules 0.44 lbs thrown from a distance of 9.8″
05 0.700 joules 0.44 lbs thrown from a distance of 13.8″
06 1.00 joules 1.1 lbs thrown from a distance of 7.9″
07 2.00 joules 1.1 lbs thrown from a distance of 15.7″
08 5.00 joules 3.8 lbs thrown from a distance of 11.6″
09 10.00 joules 11 lbs thrown from a distance of 7.9″
10 20.00 joules 11 lbs thrown from a distance of 15.7″

Table 1: Weight/distance data for IK Ratings

IK Code IK01 to IK09 IK06 IK07 IK08 IK09 IK10
Impact Energy (joules) <1 1 2 5 10 10
R mm (radius striking element) 10 10 25 25 50 50
Material polylamide polyamide steel steel steel steel
Mass kg 0.2 0.5 0.5 1.7 5 5
Pendulum hammer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spring hammer Yes No No No No No
Free fall hammer No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Table 2: Material/hammer data for IK ratings