Hidden Cameras and Nanny Cams: Unseen Surveillance

January 22nd, 2021

So you think someone is getting into your secret stash of Oreo's? Then a Hidden Camera (aka the infamous "Nanny Cam") may be just what you need. From keeping an eye on the babysitter to monitoring a sensitive area of your office, there are many uses for a hidden camera. As the name suggests, a camera is built into everyday objects so it is hidden. Some examples would be a smoke detector, lamp, air freshener, clock or just about anything else you can imagine.

There are basically three styles of hidden cameras available in Chico CA; wired, wireless and those with the DVR built in.

Wired Cameras

The system would consist of the hidden camera, cable and either a DVR of VCR. When purchasing the wired camera, the cable and recording medium are not usually included. You would normally have the extra expense of the cable and use your existing DVR or VCR, however, the cable is not a budget buster. Typically, these cameras don't have motion sensors, so the recorder has to be running at all times. There are tapes available which will record for about 8 hours.

Another use for wired systems is body worn applications. These would include such things as buttons, hats or sunglasses with a camera built in. These would record to a mini DVR which could be in a fanny pack or backpack.

Wireless Cameras

This system would consist of the hidden camera with a transmitter and a receiver which would connect to the back of your DVR or VCR. The transmitter and receiver are usually included in the purchase of the camera. These cameras have a range of about 1000 ft. to about 2500 ft. depending on the transmitter. Again, these typically don't have motion sensors so your recording medium will be recording continuously.

One problem you may encounter with these cameras is interference. This can come from wireless internet, cordless phones or WiFi. Usually this problem can be solved by simply relocating the offending item, the transmitter or the receiver.

Cameras with Built-in DVR

These cameras are by far the most versatile. No transmitters, receivers or cables. Everything is built into the camera and the DVR. These usually have motion sensors so they will only record when they detect movement. They also have a masking capability. This simply means that you can mask an area not to record even with movement. For example, if you have a dog, you could adjust the masking feature so it would only detect movement at say, 3 feet or higher from the floor. This way, the dog won't trigger the camera but a person would.

With these cameras, video is stored on an SD card. To view your video, remove the SD card and plug it into the SD card reader on your computer. An SD card is usually included in the purchase of the camera and if you don't have a reader, they are pretty inexpensive. Other features which may be included are time and date stamp and scheduled recording. Over all, this is a pretty versatile piece of equipment.

Other Options and Caveats

You may have some other options worth mentioning here. Many will give you a choice of color or black and white cameras. Most of the black and white will record in very low light conditions. If cost is a consideration, wired cameras are the least expensive with black and white being less expensive than color. Wireless systems are mid to high on the cost scale with cameras having built-in DVRs usually being the most expensive.

Lastly, a word of caution. It would be wise to familiarize yourself with the laws in Chico CA concerning what you can record, where you can record and, as a few of these record audio as well, if recording the audio is legal in your situation.

So there you have it. Everything you need to make an informed decision on what you need to catch that no good Oreo rustler!

What Our Customers Say

"I had the Alibi system installed several years ago. It has functioned flawlessly. The image quality is exellent both night and day and in all weather conditions. I particularly like the replay (which can be set at various speeds) and zoom functions of the system. Tech support from Crimefreeliving has been excellent. I have received quick responses to questions, and timely home visits — as when I changed IP carriers and my Alibi system needed to be reset. I have recommended Crimefreeliving to several friends."


"As a small business owner here in Chico we definitely saw the need for video surveillance. After expressing our needs and concerns Tim did an excellent job getting us set up with the set up with the appropriate equipment. He really took the time to address our concerns in a very friendly, professional and knowledgeable manner. I highly recommend Tim for all of your business and residential video surveillance needs."

Ron H., Owner/Auto Doctor

"I have to say I love having my security cameras at my home. Tim Truby did a wonderful job of installing the five cameras. He is very neat and cleaned everything up after the installation. He explained to me how to operate the monitor, my phone and IPad. However, I have had to call Tim because I'm not tech savvy and forget what he has told me. He usually just helps me over the phone and then all is well. I'm 80 years old and enjoy the comfort of knowing I have these security cameras."


"Tim Truby designed and installed a 32 camera system for us here at the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. We had received several other quotes from security system vendors, but Tim’s quote was the least expensive. Tim also installed the system quickly and has always been available when we needed him. We are very happy with our security camera system and we can highly recommend Tim Truby for all of your surveillance system needs."

D. Weseman, Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District

Crime Free Living updated our old video system with a new 16 Channel HD Alibi Video Security System. The old system had been added onto by different installers which resulted in a cabling mess. There were cables that worked and cables that went nowhere. It was a mess. Tim sorted it all out and installed cameras that are very clear. He also installed a monitor for our cashiers to watch hidden areas, a monitor to watch the entry door, and a monitor that allows employees to watch the outside parking and gas pump area. All work was done on time and very professional! Will always recommend Tim and Crime Free Living.

S. AM PM Chico Arco Station

"I had Tim install an Alibi Video Security System at my residence and a couple business locations. The remote view option is invaluable to absentee owners or anyone who travels a lot. The clarity and quality of the cameras have allowed for viewing employee theft. The evidence provided from the HD video cameras was fantastic! Tim was professional and provided extra value from his law enforcement background."

J. Folsom Arco Station

"Tim, I want to thank you again for doing such a fantastic job on installing a wireless IP security camera system at our dream home. The extra time that you took to hide wires, and install a clean, professional system is much appreciated. I still can’t believe the clarity, quality, and ease of use of this new system. I wished that I would have met you before our original inferior system was installed by another company. Now, whether I am at home, or monitoring the system from around the world, I know that my home and family are safe and sound."

John M.

"In April of 2017, my husband and I made a phone call to Crime Free Living that turned out to be a smart and wise decision. Amazingly, in just a few hours, Tim installed four Dome Security Cameras, weatherproof enclosures, and hooked up into our home a 23" Full HD Widescreen Security Monitor. Even more than his professional expertise was the time spent with us in making sure that this system was working correctly and properly installed on our phones so that anywhere in our travels we can monitor our new home in Magalia."

Tieka and Don S.

"I have been using Crime Free Living for the last couple years ar work and at home and I really recommend this product. Tim is a very good service provider. If he can't figure it out, he's got good tech support with the system that he offers."

Gary D.

"I have known Tim for over 10 years. To date, Time with Crime Free Living has installed two separate surveillance systems for my company. With each system, Tim has listened to my needs and custom dsigned surveillance systems for my specific needs and within my budget. The equipment used is always state of the art, the workmanship is top notch, and Tim is the example of trustworthy. I would recommend him for any job."

Steve D., Down Range Indoor Training Center

images Certifications & Training

With 16 years of experience in law enforcement, Tim Truby, CEO, is fully certified in video surveillance and training.

  • Certified Advanced Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Academy Instructor Certification
  • California POST Certification in Specialized Surveillance Equipment
  • California POST Certification in Basic Crime Prevention
    • Advanced Crime Prevention through Environmental Design
    • Certified Alibi Security Dealer
    • Enhanced Risk and Threat Assessment (FEMA)
    • Incident Command System (100 & 200)
    • Certified Cognitech Video Forensic Investigator
    • Neighborhood Watch Toolkit Trainer
    • Computer Crimes/Investigations
    • Domestic Crisis for Crisis Negotiators