Image Quality of CCD and CMOS Cameras

June 20, 2007

Staff Patrol offers two types of cameras, CMOS and CCD. It is important to understand the difference because cost and qualify are a big consideration in choosing a camera system. Each of our camera systems indicate the type of system used.

CMOS

This type of image sensor is relatively inexpensive and offers a good quality image. The cost of this system is usually less and the overall system can be very economical. While CMOS sensors excel in the capture of outdoor pictures on sunny days, they suffer in low light conditions. Their sensitivity to light is decreased because part of the sensor is covered with circuitry that filters out noise and performs other functions. The amount of space on a sensor devoted to collecting light is called the pixel’s fill factor. The design of CMOS cameras creates a much lower fill factor and therefore they are less sensitive. CMOS cameras do have the advantage when it come to power consumption. Because there are less components in the camera board, it draws less power and will run longer if used on a battery. For general purpose viewing in good light, they are a good choice. If there are budgetary constraints, it’s possible to get more features in the overall system using CMOS cameras.

CCD

CCD cameras have a 100% fill factor and therefore offer a brighter and sharper image. Like most most electronics, this increased quality does add to the manufacturing costs. CCD cameras produce a higher quality picture mainly because the image sensor is used strictly for collecting the image and all of the other necessary processing is handled by other components on the camera board. CCD cameras on the other hand have more components and draw more power. This may be a consideration when using battery power.

Examples

These images are representative of the differences you can expect between the two styles of cameras. Individual lighting and other conditions will effect the actual image.

CMOS

CCD

Bright Day Bright Day
Early Evening Early Evening

Conclusion

CMOS sensors offer average image quality in good light, have lower power requirements, and are substancially less expensive. CCD sensors offer excellent images in most lighting conditions, have higher power requirements, and are typically more expensive. Evaluate your needs in a surveillance system and we can offer you the best in either category.

Glossary of Video Terms

AGC – Automatic Gain Control is an electronic system found in many types of devices. Its purpose is to control the gain of a system in order to maintain adequate performance over a range of input signal levels. Or an electronic circuit that tries to keep the video signal at a constant level 1 (Ivolt peak-peak). Useful on cameras working at low light levels .

AI – Auto Iris is an electronic circuit that acts as an iris on CCD cameras by electronically shuttering the CCD sensor. Or an automatic method of varying the size of a lens opening in response to changes in scene illumination.

AWB – Auto White Balance is an electronic process used in video cameras to retain true colors. It is performed electronically on the basis of a white object in the picture.

CCD – Charged Coupled Device: It is analog technology. The CCD camera has a higher resolution than CMOS. The camera also functions better in low light. A CCD camera drains a little bit more power than the CMOS cameras. It typically uses 12v instead of 9v. CMOS cameras are smaller than a CCD camera and works longer with the 9v battery.

CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor: A lower resolution camera compared to a CCD model. The advantage of a CMOS camera is that it uses lower operation current.

HAD CCD – Hole Accumulation Diode is a type of CCD sensor with a layer designed to accumulate holes (in the electronic sense), thus reducing noise level.

S to N Ratio – Signal to Noise Ratio is simply the ratio of the signal power and noise power, expressed in decibels (dB). Or a measure of noise on a video signal. It is represented in Decibels as the level of the video signal compared to the level of noise present on that signal. The higher the signal to noise ratio the better.

BLC – Balance Light Control is a method to compensate for bright spots in a picture. It is also important to consider whether there are bright spots in the picture such as car headlights which can make identification of the vehicle registration or model impossible. This can also be a major problem where it is necessary to identify a person who is moving from bright daylight into artificial light. This could result in the subject becoming an unidentifiable silhouette.

OSD – On Screen Display is a method of displaying set-up information or instructions on to a display monitor.

Resolution – Resolution measures the cameras ability to reproduce an image. The higher the resolution, the better the picture quality.

LUX – LUX is the measurement of low light needed for the camera to view and record properly.

FPS – Frames Per Second is the number of still frames (pictures) that give the illusion of motion, which appear in a single second of time. 3O fps is considered “Real Time”. So for Real Time viewing of your cameras, you need at least 3O fps for each camera.

IR – Infrared, IR LEDS are used on Day/Night cameras which allow the camera to see in the dark.

Focal Length – the distance from the surface of a lens and its focal point.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do hidden cameras work? A small board camera is built into an everyday item. The camera can be wired which means it is connected to the DVR or VCR using a cable. The camera can also be wireless, in this case the camera transmits a signal to a receiver that is connected to the DVR or VCR.

Can I get audio in my hidden camera? – No you cannot. According to United States federal laws, audio should not be used in a surreptitious manner. One example of surreptitious interception is audio in a hidden camera. This includes pinhole board cameras and all covert or hidden cameras; i.e., a clock radio. Audio in a hidden camera or board camera is only available to law enforcement agencies. Title 18, Section 2512.

What is the difference between a wired and a wireless camera? – Wired cameras have a video cable that runs from the camera to your recording or viewing device such as a DVR, VCR or monitor. Wireless cameras have a built-in transmitter that sends the video signal to a receiver. The receiver connects to your recording or viewing device.

How far can a wireless hidden camera transmit? – Standard wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 1000 feet and high-powered wireless hidden cameras can transmit up to 2000 feet.

How many wireless cameras can you have in one location? – You can have up to four wireless cameras in one location. You can view all cameras at once using four receivers or you can use one receiver and switch to each camera. You will only be able to view one camera at a time if you only use one receiver. If you want to install multiple wireless cameras in one location it’s best to order them at the same time so that we can put them on different channels.

Will a cordless phone interfere with wireless cameras? – Cordless phones that operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency will cause interference with 2.4 GHz cameras. Interference should be minimal and usually occurs if the phone is between the camera and receiver.

What is a Quad? – A Quad splits your monitor into 4 sections allowing you to view 4 cameras at once.

What is a 2.4 GHz wireless frequency? – A frequency is used to transmit a signal or data like video. 2.4GHz is the specific wireless frequency that our transmitters use to send video signal to a receiver. All of our wireless cameras operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Range varies from 200′ to 700′ depending on environmental conditions. These units are FCC approved.

Are the transmitters FCC approved? – The transmitters used in all of our wireless systems are FCC and Industry Canada Certified.

What is CCD? – CCD is used in professional cameras because of it’s high resolution quality and it’s ability to record in low-light situations. CCD is basically a small silicon chip that receives light and turns it into voltage variations which makes up an image, it’s usually measured in inches with 1/3″ CCD being the standard. They are higher priced but are great for cameras that may require vision in near darkness.

Will a Quad allow four cameras to record at the same time? – Yes you can record all four cameras at the same time. You also can record using a switching monitor, which will record the camera that is showing at that moment.

Do the receivers work through walls up to two feet thick? – Yes as long as there isn’t excessive amount of metal in the wall.

Do the plug and play connections require extra wire to run the signal back to the VCR or TV? – Yes, you need to buy the length of cable you need we offer various lengths up to 100′.

What is the difference between a DVR and a VCR? – A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) system records high-resolution digital images to a hard disk drive (HDD) and eliminates the requirement of maintaining VHS tapes. Since the video images are stored digitally, the image quality will not degrade overtime, as would a VHS tape when recorded over multiple times. The time-saving search capabilities of a DVR will enable the user to locate the desired video clips via user defined parameters (camera, time, date, etc.) versus the fast forward and rewind functions of a VCR. A DVR can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world using the Internet.

How many hours will a DVR record? – The amount of time a DVR will record for is based on the size of the DVRs hard drive, the number of cameras recording and the number of frames per second ‘ it is recording at. One camera recording in Real Time uses 1 GB per day. So a 16 camera system will use 16 GB in one day.

Do I need a VCR from you or can I use my own VCR? – You can use your own VCR for recording. However, the VCR will have to be recording all the time. Most VCRs can only record for about 10 hours but we have special VCRs that can record up to 1280 hours.

What is a DVR card? – DVR Cards enable the user to convert their computer into a Digital Video Recorder. The DVR Card(s) is typically installed in an available PCI slot of a computer. DVR cards are bundled with video surveillance software, which allows the user to record and display multiple cameras simultaneously from the camera site or a remote location.

What is a Plug and Play connection camera?
– It is an RCA Video plug and a power plug on the camera for easy connection to VCR or TV. This is done by running the RCA (Aux) line into the VIDEO IN of the VCR or TV. The TV or VCR must be set on the correct channel to view the VIDEO IN picture.

How many cameras can I hook up to one TV? – You can hook up as many cameras as your TV has inputs. Most TVs have 2 inputs but when using a quad you can hook up four cameras.

Do you need a VCR to record or will the cameras record? – You must have a VCR or DVR if you want to record.

Between what temperatures is it safe for cameras to operate in? – It is safe for B/W cameras to operate between -10F to +122F. It is safe for color cameras to operate between -10F to +104F. It is safe to store cameras between -22F to +158F.

What is the operating voltage of a camera? – Our cameras range from 9 volts (CMOS) to 12volts, and also 24 volt professional models.

What is a varifocal lens? – A varifocal lens is one where the focal length of the lens can be varied. This is a fancy way of saying it is a zoom lens. Most varifocal lenses have, and in almost all circumstances should have, an auto iris feature.

What is a fixed lens? – A fixed focal length lens cannot zoom. The focus is fixed. A fixed focal length lens usually allows more light to pass through the lens at a given focal length than a varifocal, or zoom lens. This can be important in low light situations.

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Strategic Use of Defense Sprays in Self Defense

June 19, 2007

You’ve just read that one of the keys to protecting yourself is recognizing a potential threat and knowing when it becomes an assault. That moment is when apprehension becomes fear; when your own instincts scream at you, “Act! Now!” At this moment, you must be ready to act quickly and precisely. In this section we’ll discuss exactly how to use defense sprays to prepare you as best we can, how to escape a hostile confrontation.

Timing

One of the keys to effective use of defense sprays is timing. Exactly when you bring a spray to bear on an assailant can be critical to the outcome of a situation. First, make sure the spray is readily available and, second, through practice, learn how to use it quickly and accurately. Now, when faced with a potentially threatening situation, it’s only a matter of when you decide to react. The timing of defense spray use is controlled by three things: prior awareness, the distance involved when the assault actually takes place, and whether or not your movement or physical capabilities are restricted by the assailant. There are several other special factors, but those will be covered later. The first timing factor is prior awareness, which was covered in the last section. An un- anticipated assault will be covered shortly. Just remember, that if you have any forewarning at all, it will probably be very short, and you may have only seconds to react. Under these circumstances, timing is critical! Timing refers to exactly when you unclip the spray and raise it up to spray the assailant. In situations where you see the assault coming, DON’T pull the spray out immediately to threaten the assailant. To repeat, DO NOT pull the spray out until you’re ready to use it! Do not threaten with it! Showing the spray before you shoot, tells the assailant what you’re going to do and gives him the opportunity to prepare for and react to it. And what’s worse, he may have his own weapon. Showing him your spray may cause him to brandish his weapon and escalate the situation to a far more dangerous level. Many of today’s criminals carry weapons “just in case.” When you pull out your spray, be ready
to use it! The more swift and unexpected your countermeasure, the more successful your defense will be.

Shooting the Spray

There’s much more to using a defense spray than just pointing and shooting. Remember, don’t raise, point, and shoot the spray until you’re ready to fire, until the assailant is in range and you know the spray will hit him full in the face and incapacitate him. The objective is to surprise and stop him before he has a chance to react or think. When you’re ready to shoot the spray, go into a slight crouch with your weight evenly balanced on both feet, if you have the chance. Thrust your non-shooting hand straight out in front of you. At the same time shout “STOP” as loud as you can. As you’re doing this, raise your hand holding the spray to eye level, approximately six inches in front of your chin, aim over your outstretched arm and hand, and shoot at the assailant’s face. Shouting “STOP” creates a slight diversion, but more importantly, it focuses your energy. Raising your arm outstretched toward the assailant may cause his immediate attention to be focused on that hand, not the one with the spray. This gives you time to bring the spray to bear and shoot before the assailant can react. Never thrust your shooting hand out in front of you toward the assailant. He may react quickly and hit your hand aside or grab it. As you shoot, back up, continuing to do so until the spray has affected the assailant.

Most sprays emit a wide enough pattern so that they don’t require precise aiming. However, if you need to make an adjustment, do it calmly but quickly. Don’t wave the spray around like a fire hose. That does nothing but waste the spray, causing much of it to hit empty air. Aim, shoot, see where you’re hitting and, if need be, correct your aim quickly while spraying. You should shoot the spray for 2 to 3 seconds. A good, solid medium duration spray around the head and shoulders should do it. After shooting, the assailant will normally stop within a second or two, blinded and virtually helpless due to uncontrollable coughing spasms. Once he’s disabled, stop spraying. Continue backing up and concentrate on getting away. Obviously you may not have time to shoot the spray in such a “textbook” way. You may not have time to do anything but bring the spray up and start shooting. If that’s the case, don’t worry about aiming correctly, or even correcting aim. JUST SHOOT!

Retreat and Escape

The whole purpose of using a defense spray is to stop your assailant immediately, disable him so he can no longer hurt you, and give you the opportunity to escape to a safe place. DO NOT attempt to hold the assailant for the police. In fact, get as far away from him as you can. DO NOT move toward the assailant in any way since you could be affected by the spray, which then could incapacitate you. The best way to escape is by backing away from the assailant as you’re shooting, or immediately after. Do not turn your back on him! Obviously, you need to see where you’re going, but don’t turn your back and run away until you’re at a good distance and the assailant no longer presents an immediate threat. If the assailant attempts to follow you or the first spray wasn’t enough, you must be ready to spray him again. Once you’re a safe distance from the assailant, turn and run quickly
to the nearest safe place, preferably one with people who can help you. Once you reach a safe place, be forceful in your request for help. A command of, “Call the Police now!” will usually do it since people can sometimes be hesitant to help or get involved. DO NOT WAIT! And do not go back to where you left the assailant. He may still be in the area.

Special Circumstances – Multiple Assailants

When faced with multiple assailants, you should use a circular or semicircular spray pattern technique that provides a protective barrier. If the assailants are in front of you, spray the one nearest you directly. His sudden reaction may stop the others when they see the agony he’s going through. As with a single assailant, immediately begin retreating or backing up, never taking your eyes off the assailants, remaining ready to spray anyone else foolish enough to pursue. Retreat and escape to safety as previously described. However, if multiple assailants travel and strike in packs, for protection and dominance. Usually when one or two of them are stopped, the rest will stop as well. If multiple assailants keep coming toward you, even after stopping one of them, put out a 180 degree arc of spray to your front while continuing to back up. You must fight the natural urge to turn your back on the assailants and run. You cannot disable them as well, or as effectively, if you’re running away. The idea is to force the assailants through the spray to get to you. Keep in mind this defense works best at a range of six to eight feet. Any shorter distance and they’re too close. The successful use of the 180 degree spray tactic also depends on the type and range of your spray. Test spray your unit to determine its range and spray pattern. Again, don’t wave the spray around like a fire hose. Lay down a solid, continuous barrier of protection quickly but thoroughly. There’s an exception to the single and multiple assailant tactics just described. If your assailant(s) attack you at a run, your first, and best instinct, is to run as well. But while you’re running, pull the spray, aim it behind you,and shoot. This tactic again forces the assailant(s) through the spray to get to you. Use this only as an emergency measure, however, and only spray when you know the assailant(s) are in the effective range of your spray, usually 8 to 10 feet. Otherwise you’re simply wasting the spray.

Immobilized Victim Situations

The other special circumstance you may be faced with is being grabbed by an assailant before you have a chance to react as previously described. This would typically be the case if you were suddenly attacked from behind or from another direction. The key factor is whether or not you have the freedom to retreat or use the spray on the assailant. In this situation, your best chance is to draw the spray, assume the ready position with your hand on the spray. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and create a fog with the spray to surround you and your assailant. This is the only advantage you have.

No Retreat Situation

There are certain situations where immediate retreat is impossible. The two most common are when there are multiple assailants that have surrounded you, and when you are trapped or cornered with no avenue of retreat. If you find yourself surrounded by multiple assailants you must do two things immediately. First, assuming the assailants are within range, disperse a full 360-degree circle of spray at head level, again creating a barrier the assailants must pass through to get to you. This may break up the pack quickly, or it may not. In either case, your second step is to quickly find the best escape route, and immediately take it since your life may depend on it! In order to do this you may have to target one of the assailants with the spray, spray him, and push past him quickly. This calls for a forward attack with the spray, which means you’ll be entering a spray zone where you’ll be affected. To lessen the effects, take a deep breath, close your eyes briefly, and plunge through quickly. Once you’ve broken out of the circle, face the assailants, ready to spray again if necessary, and continue to back up until you can escape and get help. If you are cornered, the procedure is very much the same as when you’re surrounded. Spray the assailant(s), Hold your breath and close your eyes, and run the moment you see the assailant disabled. When using any tacticwhere you have to enter the spray zone, you will be affected by it. Ignore the effects as much as possible so you can escape and get help. As long as you don’t take a full breath of the spray, and it has only incidental contact with your eyes, you’ll be able to function well enough to escape and get help. In this scenario is that you know what’s going to happen and the assailant doesn’t. In essence you force him to breathe in the spray while you’re not. If done successfully, the assailant will either release or relax his hold on you. The moment he does, break free from him, turn and spray in a controlled manner as you retreat and escape. If the assailant grabs and immobilizes your arms and you can’t get the spray out, fight to free your shooting hand. There is one exception! Don’t fight immediately if the assailant has a weapon. This will be covered in greater detail shortly. A special note: in an enclosed area, such as a car, the spray will fill the space instantly. You must get out of the car to be affected as little as possible. If the assailant has forced you into his car, do not use it to escape. If you have sprayed the inside of your own car, don’t attempt to drive away in it unless absolutely necessary. You’ll be affected by the residual spray and driving could be very hazardous. If this is your only means of escape, roll the driver’s window down to ventilate your car. Drive to the nearest place of safety such as a restaurant, bar, convenience store, or even a residence with a light on; anywhere where there’s going to be people.

Date Rape

Use of a defense spray to prevent date rape is done much the same way as any other assault. The only difference is that you must first recognize what is happening, then verbally attempt to stop the man’s behavior. Once you say “Stop!” in a forceful way, and he doesn’t comply, you have every right to stop the continued aggressive behavior with a defense spray. Even in situations which seem non-threatening, you must have the spray available to you. If you need to retrieve it from a purse or jacket pocket, it is a good idea to rehearse a reason in advance to avoid finding yourself unable to get to the spray when you need it. When you shoot, do so quickly with surprise. Then, as with any other defense measure, leave quickly.

Use of Defense Sprays Against Knives

One situation that requires considerable judgment involves assaults with a knife. The rule of thumb is this: if you are at least two of your arm’s lengths away from the assailant, use the spray as you normally would. Whatever you do, don’t move toward the assailant for any reason. You must keep a gap between the two of you of at least 4 to 6 feet. If the assailant is within arms length of you, he can slash out with the knife and strike much faster than you can react! The moment you see a knife, back up, quickly, and continue backing while you use the spray. Don’t stop to take aim unless the assailant stops. A person with a knife has but one thing in mind when he attacks – to close the gap! He must do this in order to hurt you with the knife. If you don’t give him a chance to close that gap by stepping backward, then laying down a spray barrier, you’ll probably be able to keep him from continuing the assault. DON’T EVER TURN YOUR BACK ON AN ASSAILANT WITH A KNIFE! You must know where that knife is and how far away it is! As with a gun, if you are surprised by an assailant with a knife, particularly from behind, don’t use the spray immediately. If an assailant has a knife next to your body don’t make any sudden moves or attempt to spray the assailant; not as long as the knife is within striking distance.

Use of Defense Sprays Against Guns

There are circumstances when you absolutely should not use the spray immediately, even though it’s instantly available to you. If you are confronted by an assailant with a gun don’t suddenly pull the spray out, as he may think it’s a weapon and shoot you! Don’t make any sudden moves when facing a firearm. Do what you’re told! If that means giving up a purse or wallet, do so! (Exception: If an assailant tries to force you into an isolated area or into a car at gunpoint, run away! You have a 98% chance of survival if you run, compared to 50% if you go with the attacker.) Don’t expose your hand by showing the spray or threatening the assailant with it! That doesn’t mean, however, that you must not look for an opportunity to use the spray. If the assailant puts the gun down to assault you or attempt rape, then use the spray; but only if you feel you have a good chance of escaping the situation without being hurt. Although it’s risky, you just might be saving your life. If the assailant lets his guard down, puts the knife or gun down, or steps away from you, use the spray swiftly for maximum surprise. This can involve significant risk and you must determine if your life is in danger.

Special Notes

In all cases of an attack from the rear you must know if there is a weapon involved! Don’t spray the area in a panic. The assailant may be affected by the spray, but if he’s close enough he may strike with the knife or shoot the gun. A special note to women about rape attempts. If you are assaulted with a weapon, a gun or knife, at close range, keep in mind that, at some point, the rapist may be preoccupied with the rape itself. He may assume your fear will keep you in line. Let him continue thinking that and at the first opportunity get the spray and disable him, so you can escape. JUST BECAUSE THE RAPIST DOESN’T USE A WEAPON AGAINST YOU INITIALLY, DOESN’T MEAN HE WON’T LATER. HE MAY ATTEMPT TO SERIOUSLY HURT OR KILL YOU AFTER THE ACT ITSELF. DON’T GIVE HIM THAT CHANCE! Finally, keep in mind that an assailant in the act of striking you may not have enough control to keep you from breaking free. If you can, break free at the first opportunity and use the spray. Also, if you feel at any time that the assailant isn’t going to let you go or let you live, you must attempt to get away using the spray, even if the assailant has a gun or a knife.

Post Assault Considerations – Police Involvement

Once you’ve escaped from an assailant, get to safety as quickly as possible. CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY! There are several reasons for this. First, there’s a good chance the assailant will be apprehended, particularly if you’ve sprayed him with an OC spray with dye. This is important because it takes the assailant off the street, at least temporarily, and it just may prevent a second assault; either on you or someone else. A second assault, on you? Yes! While many assaults are crimes of opportunity, some are the result of premeditated planning on the part of the assailant. He may have been watching you, your routines, your residence, etc. He may have been stalking you specifically. While this isn’t something we like to think about, it is nonetheless true in some cases. By getting the police, involved you may just deter the assailant from coming after you again. If, in the assault, the assailant gets away with your purse or wallet or anything else which can identify who you are and where you live, you must get the police involved. If they don’t apprehend the assailant and he gets your wallet, checkbook, keys, etc., YOU MUST ASSUME HE WILL BE COMING TO YOUR RESIDENCE, OR WILL ATTEMPT TO STEAL YOUR CAR! As you can see it is very important that the police become involved immediately. Avoid the temptation to go back after the assailant yourself! That’s not a job for you or your friends. It’s a job for the police. Let them handle the situation and give them your complete cooperation.

Spray Replacement

You should test spray your defenses spray unit once a month. Spray it outside, downwind for a brief “spurt” then release. Note how far the spray goes and see if it’s as full as it was when new. If the range is less than 3 to 4 feet or the spray seems to be thin or weak, replace it immediately. Do not rely on it! Most sprays, even ones that have an indefinite chemical shelf life, can lose their pressure over time, much the same as a fire extinguisher. If you use the defense spray against an assailant, replace the unit immediately. In the excitement of the assault, you may not realize just how much was sprayed. If you have to use it again, there may not be a sufficient amount of chemical or pressure to do the job. Most units cost between $10.00 and $20.00 dollars, which is a small price to pay for the peace of mind knowing the unit is new and ready to protect you once again.

Residential Defense

Use of a defense spray for residential protection is considerably different from its use for personal defense. The biggest difference is the inability to retreat and escape. While this is possible and necessary in some cases, most residential defense relies on providing a barrier to prevent intrusion.

Storage of Defense Sprays in the Residence

Where you keep defense sprays within your residence should be determined by the type and layout of the residence, the number of residents, location and number of access points, the likely points of entry, and any other security measures in place. The type of residence you live in is a key factor. An apartment, for instance, with only one door and two windows on a second floor is much easier to defend than a ranch-style suburban home with three or four doors and several windows at ground level. Consider the landscaping, which often times provides concealment of an intruder. Another factor is the number of residents and their age. If children are in the home their safety must be considered in the tactics applied to deal with an intruder. If all members are adults, they need only to have the knowledge to properly protect the residence. The two primary locations that should be considered for storage of the defense spray are by the bedside, where it’s readily accessible, and by the main entrance or entrances most likely to be targets for intrusion. You will need to determine the best locations to store the defense sprays based on your own evaluation. Wherever you decide to store the spray, it should be kept out of sight and, if at all possible, out of the curious hands of children. Often a door unit can be kept high on a closet shelf and a bedside unit can be kept either in a nightstand drawer or on a closet shelf. If neither of these storage places is suitable, consider attaching the unit to a wall or door frame with Velcro* or other attachment device.

Residential Tactical Use

The primary purpose for having defense spray for protection in a residential setting is to create a barrier to prevent the intruder from getting inside. There are two types of barriers with two different and distinct functions. The interior barrier is created by spraying into an area of entry just prior to retreating to a “safe room” inside the residence. The door and window defense is similar to personal defense on the street. It is used on an intruder when he is entering, or is already in the residence.

Interior Barrier Defense

This defense is used if you become aware of an intruder still outside, in the act of breaking in, or if he is already in the residence. In order for this spray defense to work it is necessary to have a “safe room,” an interior room such as a bedroom, bathroom, or a closet that can be securely locked and will resist break in by the intruder. It should also have a phone to call the police. If a break in is in progress or is imminent, spray the entry area the intruder must come through, then retreat to your safe room. If there are children or others in the residence, gather them together in the safe room with you. Once there, be ready to spray anyone who breaks through the door. Don’t go from your safe room for any reason as you don’t know whether the intruder is armed, his mental state, or his intentions. Inside the safe room, don’t wait directly in front of the door, but rather to the side of it, ready to spray anyone who enters.

Door and Window Defense

The big difference between door and window defense and an interior barrier defense is the amount of preparation or warning time. The only time you should use a spray defense to stop an intruder from coming through a door or window is when the intruder is already in and you’re in imminent danger. A good example would be waking up to find an intruder climbing in through your bedroom window or actually in the residence. The tactic you should use for window defense is similar to that of spray defense during a personal attack on the street. However, you will not have a place to retreat. If you catch an intruder coming through a window, or if he’s already in the residence, spray him directly in the face, then get out of the room, either to a another room or to a hallway. Shut doors behind you if possible. If the intruder comes through the door, spray him again and leave the house. The exception to this is if you have children or other residents in the residence that must be protected. In that case retreat to a position where you can defend them from the intruder should he press the attack. Use any means available to you to warn the others and facilitate their escape. Spray defense at a door is much the same as at a window, as you directly spray the intruder as he enters the residence. Don’t try to open the door suddenly, spray the intruder, then shut it again. Like the street assault, you want the spray defense to take the assailant/intruder by complete surprise. If you spray an intruder and surprise him as he comes in, the chances are good he’ll immediately run away. If the intrusion takes place at night do not turn on the lights if the intruder is inside. If he’s still trying to break in turn the lights on. This will probably scare him off which is exactly what you want. The best form of preparation for defending against an intruder is to rehearse what you should do in various situations. This rehearsal can be very effective, particularly if you find you have to use a spray defense in the dark. It’s very important to include all residents in the procedure and practice drills. As mentioned previously, the best type of spray to use for residential defense is a large fogger type. Their range is usually about 15 to 20 feet, and they emit a fine mist, remaining in the air for several minutes. Living in the residence for the next few hours maybe uncomfortable, even after you’ve washed the area down and aired it out. But that is far better than becoming a victim of a violent assault, which has effects that can last a lifetime.

Travel Considerations

Use of a defense spray while traveling is basically the same as any other residential situation. The only real difference is lack of a prepared safe room. This problem is easily remedied by using the bathroom of your hotel or motel room. In most rooms calling the police is easily done on the room phone. Dial 911, not the hotel or motel switchboard! If you’re traveling in an RV or motor home, the door defense applies. Let the intruder know you’re aware of him and spray him if he manages to break in. This is if you’re in an RV park and hooked up to the facilities. If you’re not hooked up, just drive off!

Conclusion

Neither the best spray available, nor extensive knowledge of tactics can substitute for two invaluable necessities: carrying the spray wherever you go and practicing it’s use. Go over in your mind all the scenarios you can think of, and plan how to handle these various scenarios. When you read of a personal assault in the newspaper, figure out what you would have done using the defense spray to protect yourself in the same situation. The main thing to remember is that there’s a difference between simply having the spray with you, and being ready to use it at a moment’s notice. The difference is one of attitude, and of preparedness. Being prepared includes knowing that you would be the next victim. It is the conviction that your health and well-being, your very life in fact, could depend on being able to successfully protect yourself in a hostile confrontation. Defense sprays are only tools. The best defense you have is your knowledge and your attitude, and having the determination to survive an encounter. It’s an attitude that says, “I refuse to be a victim!”

By Doug Lamb


Defend Yourself using Pepper Spray

June 18, 2007

Everyone should carry a defense spray wherever they go! If that sounds a bit drastic, just look at today’s newspaper or watch your nightly news. Unless you can predict the future, you should have some form of defense protection with you at all times. And an OC defense spray is one of the best protection devices available. Some people feel they only need a defense spray when going out at night. That could be a terrible mistake! Today’s criminals don’t care whether it’s day or night. No matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, or when you’re doing it you’re a target! You might ask if that sort of thinking is paranoia. The answer is no! A violent assault occurs every 17 seconds in this country. Carrying a personal-defense spray at all times is simply good common sense! Make sure you carry it with you whenever you leave your home.

How to Carry Defense Sprays

The American Security Institute recommends carrying the largest size defense spray that is practical and legal for you. Most 2-ounce sprays are about 4″ long and 1″ in diameter- small enough to clip onto a purse or a belt. If you find this size inconvenient or impractical, carry a key chain spray. The biggest advantage of the key chain spray is that you’re not likely to forget it. Unless you have no other choice, do not carry a defense spray in your pocket! Too often the spray cannot be retrieved quickly enough to do any good. Remember, most physical assaults occur very quickly, often giving the victim a second or two, at most, to react. As you’ll read later, there’s a way to handle this, but only if your defense spray is readily available. The other reason you shouldn’t carry the spray in your pocket is the possibility of forgetting it the next time you go out.

Purse Carry

For women, the obvious place to carry pepper spray is a purse. What is not so obvious is HOW to carry it in the purse. Don’t let the spray sit at the bottom of your purse. The time it takes to find and retrieve it can be all the time an assailant needs to overpower you or even steal your purse! Defense sprays carried in a purse should be clipped to the front end of an inside pocket, flap, or divider. Clip it so that the unit itself is inside the purse, easy to access, pull out, and use in a few seconds. You may consider holding it in your purse as you’re walking. A purse with a long strap slung over the shoulder is ideal for this purpose. An assailant just might hesitate if he sees you’re prepared to deal with someone just like him. A recommended alternative to carrying a purse is a small waist or “fanny” pack. The belt of the pack is ideal for carrying a defense spray and there’s little danger of a “purse snatch” attempt on the pack. A note of caution: If you do use a waist or “fanny” pack, don’t carry any defense spray in the open where it can be seen. You will lose the important element of surprise, (covered later), and it might even be stolen! Cover it up with a coat, jacket, sweatshirt, etc.

Belt Carry

If you’re going to carry the defense spray on a belt beneath a jacket or coat, attach the spray upside down. If you experiment with this, you’ll probably find it much easier to “draw” the spray downward off the belt, rather than upward. Also, if possible, position the spray in its holster so that when it’s grabbed and drawn, it’s already in position to use without having to turn it or rearrange it in your hand. Experiment until you can quickly draw the spray, raise it up, and shoot it in one fluid motion.

Practice Drills

Practice the same drill noted above, if you carry the spray in your purse. Keep in mind that you want to retain possession of the spray even if your purse is grabbed and yanked away. The spray should be positioned and clipped onto the purse in such a way that, when you have hold of it, any downward yank of the purse will allow the spray to come off in your hand. Anytime you’re on foot, such as walking to your car, leaving a restaurant, shopping, jogging, etc., alone or isolated; you should have the spray ready to use in an instant. Whether it’s attached to your purse or belt, or on a key chain makes no difference; have it ready! The time you may need to react to an assault may be less than a few seconds. It’s also very important to mentally rehearse exactly what to do in case you need to use the spray. Practice against an imaginary assailant until you’re comfortable with your ability to use the spray fast and effectively. This practice could make the difference between becoming a victim and surviving a hostile confrontation.

Developing Security Awareness

Developing security awareness, for the purposes of this handbook, is learning when to heighten your sensitivity to your surroundings. It’s knowing when to be ready to use your defense spray, and when to actually use it. The key to security is awareness. As we live our daily lives, we all have the tendency to focus on what’s happening at the moment and lose our awareness of our environment. Developing security awareness is nothing more than learning when to focus on our own safety. For example, when you’ve just left a restaurant with a date, your focus may be on the good time you’ve had, or anticipating the rest of the evening and not on your immediate safety. The problem is that in our increasingly violent surroundings, it makes us much more vulnerable to surprise attacks. Developing security awareness is nothing more than learning to focus on our safety at those times when we are even slightly vulnerable. Usually it’s when we’re walking alone, jogging alone, or doing anything that isolates us. Learn to think consciously about your personal safety when you’re isolated-even briefly-and get used to concentrating on what and who is around you and any potential threats.

A typical scenario is the walk from the shopping mall to the car. Concentrate on your packages and locating your car; now concentrate on who’s around you as you leave the mall. Did anybody follow you out? Turn around and look. Is there anyone hanging around the entrance as you leave? If so, are they following you? Are they attempting to stop you and ask the time, or otherwise delay you? Is there anyone in the area of your car, or sitting in a car near yours. These situations present potential threats you must be aware of. The most natural thing for us to do is “mind our own business.” We all tend to avoid eye contact. None of us wants to be accused of staring at someone. And yet that’s exactly what you must learn to do. Force yourself if you have to. Look at the people around you. How many are there? How close are they? In what direction are they moving? Are you vulnerable? Are you isolated? Are you a likely target? All too often, personal attacks take place as a complete surprise to the victim. In some circumstances, that’s unavoidable, such as an assailant jumping out from a hiding place. But in too many instances, victims are surprised because they don’t perceive the risks around them or their own vulnerability. The victim usually says something like, “They came from nowhere.” No they didn’t! The assailants came from somewhere, the victim just didn’t see where. Force yourself to look, and to see!

From Awareness to Defense

How do you know when you’re being assaulted? When do you switch from being aware and careful to being defensive? There are three criteria: distance, verbal assault, and physical assault. (The term assault is not being used in a legal sense here.) If any one of the three criteria are realized, don’t hesitate, use your defense spray! If you’re wrong you can apologize later. If you’re right, you just might save your life! If this sounds a bit like “shoot first and ask questions later,” it is. It may be a sad commentary on our modern society, but it’s also the harsh reality of the world we must live and survive in.

Distance

We all have a distance or buffer zone we put up around ourselves. This zone, and our comfort level when it’s intruded, varies with each situation. We usually have no problem with reasonable proximity of another person if we’re standing on a crowded bus or elevator. But that can change drastically if a complete stranger is suddenly the same distance away in a parking lot without a legitimate reason. In other words, the zone grows or shrinks according to the situation. The size of the buffer zone we create for ourselves results from our inherent survival instincts. When the zone is suddenly or blatantly intruded upon against our wishes or instincts, we experience the automatic “fight or flight” reaction. And in that reaction, lies the answer to when you should react with defensive countermeasures. A typical scenario illustrates how this works. A woman leaves a shopping mall carrying a large shopping bag and a purse. As she exits the door a young man loitering near the entrance asks her what time it is. She half turns, says, “About 4:15 I think,” and continues on towards her car in the parking lot. The distance, 15 feet, is enough in that situation to make the woman feel fairly safe under the circumstances. However, as the woman approaches her car she hears someone behind her. She turns to discover the same young man. Only this time he’s only about 10 feet away and walking quickly and silently toward her. Should she be prepared to use a defense spray? Absolutely! In the absence of any other information, she has every reason to believe the young man is coming after her; and every right to defend herself in the face of a probable personal assault. The key is whether or not the distance involved gives you any choice. If the distance is short, or being shortened quickly, react defensively; particularly if you’re isolated or even semi-isolated. Trust your internal instinct.

Verbal Assault

Verbal assault is another factor that determines if defensive countermeasures should he used. It can take the form of a threat, a demand, or indecent proposals or suggestions. Verbal assault in the form of demands and threats are a clear-cut case for using defense measures. If a mugger approaches you and says, “Give me your wallet or I’ll hurt you” that’s an assault. If a demand is made and the assailant shows a weapon, that is assault.. If a panhandler approaches and asks for a dollar for food, that’s not an assault. However, beware of panhandlers, particularly if you’re fairly isolated. Occasionally if you refuse their request, they may continue to bother you. As long as their pleas are requests, assault has not occurred. The moment they make a demand, try to block your path, grab you, or couple a verbal threat with any of these actions, assault is occurring and you should use defensive measures. Be very careful in the situation just described. Often a “request” is a test to see how you react and handle yourself. An assailant may be “sizing you up” prior to assaulting you. Or, he may be softening your natural defense instincts by making a nonthreatening approach. The same situation occurs with sexual assault. The assailant may start out by asking an innocent question (directions, time, etc.), making suggestive remarks, or harassing you to see how you react. Are you hesitant and fearful, afraid to look them in the eye? Or are you confident, decisive, and able to deal with them? This is what they look for. If the assailant feels you are weak, they may decide to escalate this ploy into a physical assault. Don’t let this happen! Stop the assailant in his tracks. A verbal
reaction of, “Leave me alone!” is sufficient. If the harassment or verbal abuse continues beyond that, take defensive steps, particularly if the assailant is following you! When you make your demand to be left alone, don’t do so while walking away. Stop, face the assailant and make your demand: “Leave me alone. Get away from me!” Then, still facing the assailant, back away from him. At that point the assailant will either leave you alone, or continue his assault on you, at which time, you don’t hesitate to use your spray!

Physical Assault

Physical assault is any unwanted hitting, grabbing, touching, shoving, tripping, or sexual advance. It’s also the obvious or implied threat of such physical action. Physical assault calls for immediate and decisive defensive action, using your defense spray, to stop the assailant in his tracks. This will be covered in another article.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
Copyright By Doug Lamb


Choosing a Defense Spray – Pepper Spray or Tear Gas

June 15, 2007

Over the last several years, the popularity of self defense sprays, mistakenly called tear gas or Mace, has grown tremendously. The rising rate of violent crime, the publicity and media coverage of such crimes and the reasoning that “if it’s good enough for the police, it is good enough for me” has led more and more citizens to rely on these devices. The demand for defense sprays has become so great that today there is literally dozens of different brands, types, and size to choose from. And, to make matters worse, there are three basic chemical compositions used, only one of which is worth considering for civilian self-defense.

Chemical Composition

There are three basic chemical compounds used in self defense sprays:
– CS (Orthoclorobenzalmalonitrile)
– CN (Alphachloroacetaphenone)
– OC (Oleoresin Capsicum)

OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) is the newest of the three, by far the most effective, and one you should definitely consider for self defense use.

Comparative Effects

CS and CN are irritants to membrane tissues. They cause stinging pain and tearing, and take from 5 to 30 seconds to be effective. In cases of persons who are drunk, on drugs, suffering a psychotic episode, or otherwise cannot feel pain, there may be no effect at all. For years, the field experiences of police officers have been riddled with accounts of total failure of CN and CS products when used as a self defense spray. The reduced ability of CS and CN to subdue those who can’t feel pain, coupled with their delayed effectiveness (5 seconds is an eternity if you’re being attacked with a knife), make these two chemicals too unreliable for use by untrained, possibly physically limited, persons. OC is not an irritant. It is an inflammatory agent; and this makes all the difference in the world. When a person is sprayed with OC, two things happen instantly. First, the person’s eyes clamp shut, instantly. If they do manage to force them open, they still can’t see because the OC dilates the capillaries and causes temporary blindness. Second, an immediate fit of uncontrollable coughing doubles the person over since the OC causes instant inflammation of the breathing tissues, restricting all but life support breathing. OC, in effect, puts up a brick wall between an assailant and the victim. As one police trainer has put it, “It’s like being hit with a flame thrower!” An assailant, who’s sprayed with OC stops what they’re doing, stops what they’re thinking – period. This is true even for those who are drunk, on drugs, or psychotic. OC works extremely well on animals, although most versions are not made for this purpose.

Other Considerations

In addition to not being as effective as OC, CN and CS take longer to wear off and the chemical residue can last for days. They are both man-made chemicals and are identified as possible carcinogenic agents. Long term skin problems and toxic reactions have also been documented. OC, on the other hand, is a natural chemical derivative of various hot peppers. It has not been found to be toxic in any way, and absolutely does not harm delicate tissues. The effects of OC, depending on the concentration and the availability of fresh air, take about 20 to 30 minutes to wear off. The assailant makes a full recovery, with no after-effects unless the OC spray contains an identifying dye. This usually lasts a week or more, but is harmless.

Recommendations

For the reasons outlined previously, we recommend a defense spray containing OC in any formulation and concentration over a CN- or CS- based spray for self defense by law enforcement and civilians. Combination sprays are very effective as long as it contains a good quantity of pepper spray.

Purchase Considerations

Once proven that OC was superior to CN and CS (the number of suppliers and brands of OC spray multiplied quickly. And with their increased numbers, came different concentrations, formulations, sizes, nozzle types, and spray patterns. Even if a buyer of defense spray chooses OC, there are still several other critical considerations.

Size and Capacity

Size generally ranges from approximately one half ounce up to four ounces. Small units work well as a key chain or clipped onto a pocket. A medium-size 2 oz. unit works well in a purse or on a belt. The large 4 oz. size can also be carried in a purse or on a belt, but tends to be bulky. These are made primarily for law enforcement purposes. The size of the unit generally determines its capacity- how much compound can be sprayed for what length of time. Other capacity indicators are the number of shots per unit and how far the unit will shoot. This is where it may get confusing. To simplify things, two factors are fairly flexible: the range and the number of shots available. The range needs only be 6-to-8 feet, the distance at which most personal assaults take place. Keep in mind, that the greater the distance the unit is fired from, the more accurate the aim must be, something that can be difficult in a time of stress. The number of shots available is not critical, as a good one- to two-second burst will disable almost any assailant. Even the smallest units have enough compound in them to handle multiple attackers if done correctly.

Nozzle and Spray Pattern

Much more important than capacity, is the spray pattern and dispersal-density of the unit. There are generally two types of spray patterns: a stream pattern which gives good range but requires aiming directly at the face; and a cone mist, also known as a fogger, which has a shorter range but does not require true aiming. In addition to these factors, there are two other important comparisons. First, if there is a breeze, the stream spray is more controllable. The cone mist can be blown off target or even back at the sprayer. The second question is how easily the mist can be inhaled. OC works best when it hits the eyes and when inhaled. The cone mist is inhaled instantly while the stream may require longer exposure to cause coughing spasms. With all types of sprays, it is critical to hit the attacker in the face!

Formulation

OC normally comes in concentrations of 10% and 50%. Due to a number of formulation differences, the percent of concentration is not always a good indicator of effectiveness. One of the biggest misconceptions about defense spray is that the higher the percentage, the better it will work. The percentage has nothing to do with the actual “heat” the spray, as that is rated in terms of Scoville Heat Units.

Recommendation

Although each individual should purchase what they feel is best for them, a medium-size with a cone-mist spray is probably the overall best choice for most people. Since most people carry a keychain, a keychain unit is a good choice. In addition, a large fogger type unit & unit with a cone spray should be in the home, either at bedside or by the front door. This will be covered later.

Legal Considerations

As nice as it would be to think we have the right to protect ourselves with a non-injurious device no matter where we are, such is not the case. Despite the fact that OC spray has never been found to injure anyone, and in fact has been responsible for preserving life and limb of law enforcement officers and civilians alike, there are still some jurisdictions that have outlawed all defense sprays. Most of these laws are based on the history and perception of old-style tear- gas sprays. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check with local law enforcement officials before purchasing, carrying, or possessing a defense spray of any kind.

Age Consideration

At what age should a person be allowed to carry a personal defense spray? The answer depends on several factors. First, the maturity of the person should be considered. The young person must understand that defense sprays are to be used for defense purposes only. They are not toys, or something to brag about to their friends. And they’re certainly not to be used to play practical jokes, etc. Second, the environment of the young person should be considered. If they regularly live, work, attend school, etc. in an area where they are at risk, then a defense spray could provide the protection they need. Parents need to understand the need and personality of their child before they allow him/her to carry defense sprays. If the parents of a 16-year-old girl feel their daughter is mature enough to go out on dates, she should be mature enough to carry a defense spray. This, provided, she’s been taught how and when to use it. Those same parents may have a wild, sometimes uncontrollable 17-year-old son who, if given a spray, would likely show it off to his friends, spray people as a prank, and might even possibly use it to commit an assault on someone else. The key question a parent must ask, is whether or not their child needs the spray, and whether or not they have the maturity to respect and use the device for self-protection only. Another consideration is your local and state laws. These need to be checked before you purchase defense spray for yourself or your children.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Copyright By D. Lamb


Riot Control Tactics and Crowd Management Techniques

June 11, 2007

Police and military forces are better trained and better equipped to handle crowds that get out of control. In handling riot situations, it is important to know what causes riots, how police approach crowd control problems, and what equipment they use to clear the streets safely.

What Makes a Riot?

First we must understand how a riot develops in the first place. A riot is a crowd that takes aggressive and illegal actions as a reaction to fear or anger. The crowd takes on a mob mindset and does things they normally would not do because the crowd makes them anonymous. Being anonymous and seeing the actions of the others makes them feel like they can damage, burn or harm whatever and whomever they want.

The fuel for a riot builds up over time. In many situations, this can take years or even decades of racial prejudice, unfair treatment or abuse. When people have no effective way of dealing with these issues or bettering their situation, an undercurrent of anger and frustration grows stronger and stronger.

Once the situation is at a breaking point, almost anything can set it off. An incident that angers one group can immediately turn them against another group of people. Sometimes an actual incident isn’t even required and it may just a rumor that spread through a group to turn anger into a violent outburst.

Sports teams losing or winning a major game can sometimes cause riots. In this case, the fuel doesn’t build up for a long time and it’s mainly the result of alcohol. The drunkenness of the crowd contributes heavily to these riots and is simply sparked by the excitement or disappointment.

Riot Control Tactics

The tactics used to control riots in the past were very simple. The success was based on the fact that the police were almost always better armed than the rioters. The tactics they used basically consisted of forming a line and charging into the crowd. The police today are even better armed, but the techniques have advanced significantly and usually prevent the injuries that we have seen in the past.

When a riot is in full swing, police will arrange themselves in a square formation with a command team at the center. The command team is protected on all four sides by echelons of troops deployed in groups of 10 or 12 officers. There is also an arrest team at the center of the square.

This riot control unit is very mobile and can adapt quickly to changes in the mod or situation. If a threat suddenly appears in a different direction, the echelon facing that direction is designated the front of the unit. The entire team can change direction without a lot of reorganizing. The echelons can also cover each other when the team moves to take new positions. If a section is under attack, the whole team does not move together. One echelon moves while the others provide covering fire or an actual physical screen using riot shields. Then another echelon moves up into position.

This layout is not meant to be an impenetrable wall of police. Actually, the riot team leaves an escape route to let rioters run past. The officers can take a passive stance by spreading out and leaving a large opening between each officer. The crowd can then easily filter through them. If an overly violent person or group moves toward the officers, they can immediately close the gaps and form a tight line.

As the officers move forward into a crowd, they push at anyone who doesn’t respond to verbal requests to move away by. If they still refuse to move, the unit continues moving forward, but the front line opens up and passes around the protesters. Once the specific people are inside the square, the unit stops and the arrest team processes the rioters. The front line closes and the unit can continue moving.

Riot Control Technology

When crowd control units get ready to engage, the first thing required is protective gear. The full outfit typically consists of:

* Helmet with face shield
* Body armor
* Large body shield

The body shield and face shield are typically made of a material called Lexan. If thick enough, it can be bullet proof. But in this application, it basically protects against thrown objects or attacks with sticks and similar weapons.

The most basic offensive weapon a riot control officer has is a baton. These are usually between 24 and 42 inches long and are made of various materials. Expandable batons or expanding batons are also used because of their size when closed. They can fit into holsters and worn on the belt similar to handcuffs. There are also batons that are fashioned after stun guns and referrer to as stun batons. Most crowd control units use some type of baton instead of rifles because the presence of guns are likely to escalate any situation. If someone manages to take a gun away from an officer, the results could be disastrous.

If guns are being used, the police typically employ a variety of non-lethal rounds. Although these are not generally considered fatal rounds, anything fired from a gun has the potential to be deadly. But, they are trained to use these weapons in ways that minimize the risk of death or serious injury.

These rounds are commonly fired from a 40mm single shot or multi-round gun. They are similar to military grenade launchers.

Riot Control Rounds

Some of these non-lethal rounds include:

* Blunt-force rounds – These rounds cause pain when they strike, but they don’t penetrate the skin. They are often fired at the ground so the round skips off the pavement and strikes the rioters in the legs. Each round is filled with small discs. When officers skip the rounds off the ground in front of the crowd, they separate and tend to hit multiple rioters. It can cause a lot of pain, but has a lesser chance of doing damage as compared to a solid piece of the material. The objective is to cause enough pain to make the rioter comply with the officers.

* Bean Bag Round – These are square-shaped bean bags that have a long-range but they tend to be inaccurate. There are teardrop-shaped bean bag rounds with a tail that are geared toward accuracy.

* Sponge Round – Bullet-shaped round with a sponge tip. They are all-purpose with average range and accuracy.

* Stinger rounds – A Stinger round is loaded with small, rubber pellets that disperse on impact.

* Pepper ball rounds – A paint ball gun is slightly modified to fire pepper spray pellets instead of paint balls. When these strike someone, the severe burning sensation in the eyes and nose will incapacitate most people without doing permanent harm. When children or elderly people might be present in a crowd, the police can use water pellets instead. It still stings to get hit with water pellets and sometimes people are afraid they have actually been hit with pepper spray, so the crowd disperses.

* Aerosol grenades – These are metal canisters that are activated and thrown like regular grenades. They spray tear gas or pepper spray gas over a wide area. Officers rarely throw these directly into a crowd since it can increase panic. They typically use the gas to create a type of barricade to direct the crowd’s movements in a certain direction. A gas grenade might be thrown into the crowd if a particular group is extremely violent or attacking a single victim.

* Ferret rounds – Ferret rounds are made to penetrate windows or wooden barricades, where they can then deposit the gas. These are used to flush people out of barricades and other standoff situations.

* Dye rounds – Sponge rounds, ferret rounds and pepperball rounds can all be filled with marker dye. These are used to mark certain people in a crowd so that other officers can identify them or so that they can be caught later if they leave the scene. In a riot, the leaders are often tagged with marker-dye rounds so the arrest team can pick them up later.

* Gas rounds – These rounds are loaded with a gas that causes severe irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and even causes contact skin burns in some cases. These most commonly contain pepper spray or tear gas. Officers don’t like to use gas rounds, because they know they’re going to experience some of the effects of the gas themselves. Still, they wear gas masks and goggles to protect themselves in case the need arises.

Crowd Control Prevention

Today’s riot control units are not usually called riot squads anymore; they are crowd-management units. Rather than trying to beat the rioters in battle, the police just try to calm them down and get them to go home. The use even non-lethal force is a last resort.

The first step in crowd management is making sure a riot doesn’t happen in the first place. Although riots can erupt unexpectedly, they are frequently tied to a planned protest or organized demonstration. When the police think a situation could potentially get out of control, they contact the organizers of the protest ahead of time. They set up ground rules that the protesters are to follow and they designate a specific area for the event to take place. The police assign specially trained officers to monitor the event and to ensure that everyone stays safe. The police will only take action if the ground rules are broken.

If the officers disagree with the opinions of the protesters, they are still trained to maintain an unbiased attitude. The officers try not to look at the protesters as enemies. Instead, they recognize that the rioters are part of the same community that the police are entrusted to protect and serve. There is fine balancing act.

Even though police are trained to be polite, they are careful to not give off an impression of subservience. They have to be seen as being in charge and in control at all times, even while they stay passive and allow the crowd to operate within the ground rules set out ahead of time. Occasionally these preventative measures don’t work and a riot breaks out despite police efforts to keep everyone peaceful.

Crowd Control Conflict

If a crowd gets disorderly and starts taking violent action, the police will switch to a more aggressive approach. They understand that most riots are lead by a few individuals who feel strongly or have something to gain from a violent confrontation. The majority of the people are present either because something exciting is going on or they are simply bystanders that get caught up in the mob mentality. The likelihood of arrest or confrontation with police usually prompt them to escape and go home.

The first step is simple intimidation. Riot police stand in strict formations and act with military precision. Once they form the lines of barriers, they tap their batons on their shields or stomp their feet in unison. The result can be quite intimidating to unarmed civilians. It can appear that the group is getting ready to attack. In reality, this display is meant to scare off as many of the rioters as possible without the officers ever getting near them.

Police do not try to arrest every person in the riot. Their first targets are those who are leading the riot because the crowd will often disperse without their leaders encouraging them. Everyone seen breaking a law are also targeted for arrest, especially if they injure someone.

When the officers are actually in conflict with the rioters, the objective is still to disperse the crowd. A combination of advancing lines of officers and the use of gas is used to move the crowd in a particular direction. The crowd is never pinned down and always given an escape route. The main purpose of the crowd management team is to get the people to disperse.


Identity Theft has Evolved as Technology Grows

June 6, 2007

Today, people must keep up with technology in order to conduct their lives and daily routines. They are required to change almost daily to new knowledge and exciting discoveries that constantly change the way they function and do business. Everything from saying hello to a friend down the street to video-conferencing with someone around the world can be done electronically from anywhere.

Technological advances now allow people to carry out the most mundane of tasks, such as ordering groceries from the store, to the most complex activities, such as performing complicated surgery.  All this can be done from a separate remote location with simply a computer connected to the Internet.

Since its beginnings in the 1990s, the Internet has grown into a huge electronic network that now spans the entire globe.  Because people use the Internet in their everyday lives, they rely on it almost completely for safe and accurate exchange of information.

Constantly, personal data such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and passwords are traveling through wires, and also through the air, from one computer to another. With security measures in place to protect this sort of information online, most people feel safe on the Internet and trust that their personal information will remain confidential. But, unfortunately, criminals have also adapted to advancements in technology and, these days, people are becoming victims of crimes committed over the Internet.

The Evolution of Crime on the Internet

For years, criminals have been using discarded credit card receipts, bank statements, tax notices, and other bills (often found in the trash) to gain the personal information necessary to assume another person’s identity. However, on today’s electronic playing field, these criminals have used technology to devise cunning new methods of theft in the form of cyber crimes. Now, computer hacking and email scams known as phishing are included among the risks of sharing information online.

Computer hackers are able to enter areas of the Internet where they are prohibited and hack in to another computer network. Once they are inside a computer’s network, they are able to view documents, files, and confidential data and use it for their own personal gain. Phishing, on the other hand, is a method in which people are duped into providing their own personal data to a thief who is posing as a legitimate business or agency. Both of these cyber crimes have been steadily on the rise in recent years. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, there were more than 9.9 million cases of identity theft last year in the United States.

Hacking Into Your Life

One example of the growing computer hacking problem in which personal information was stolen emerged in February, 2005 when an information broker, ChoicePoint Inc., announced that an identity theft ring had hacked into its database and gained access to hundreds of thousands of personal documents. Some of the information that was stolen included full names, Social Security numbers, home addresses, and credit reports.

Many other large corporations such as T-Mobile USA were also recently hacked, and had their clients’ information stolen. Even superstar Paris Hilton could not escape the threat of identity theft as her personal photos, text messages, and phone numbers in her personal directory were stolen by a hacker and spread across the Internet. The U.S. Senate will soon hold hearings to determine whether these corporations and information brokers require more extensive regulation.

Don’t Get Hooked by Phishers!

Phishing is currently on the rise around the world as well. Phishing works because scammers are able to construct bogus emails, pop-up ads, and even websites that appear to be from legitimate businesses or agencies. They inspire a false sense of trust, then send out emails asking for personal and financial data so they can steal identities.

Some phishing emails may even install software on your computer that could be used to redirect your computer to bogus websites. Be extremely cautious of whom you trust with personal information on the Internet. You should know that legitimate businesses will never ask you to provide nor confirm any personal information through an email or pop-up message.

Tips to Protect Yourself and the Internet

The Internet can be a powerful tool, and the convenience it offers to manage business and recreation is invaluable. But theft and fraud are damaging the positive reputation of the Internet as a medium for business. Consumers are losing confidence in their own safety on the Internet, and fewer people are making purchases online these days.

However, there are steps that you can take to decrease your chances of becoming a victim, and to help catch cyber-criminals at work:

* Be aware that there are people online who would like to gain access to your personal information. Do not share this information unless you have initiated the exchange or are absolutely sure of who is receiving it.

* Install security and scanning software onto your computer to protect it from online hacking.

* Do not use your name, date of birth, address, or any other personal information for passwords. These passwords are easily cracked by hackers. In fact, it is suggested that for any password, you should not use a word that is found in the dictionary, as there are hacking programs that will attempt every word in the dictionary.

* Never disclose personal information in response to an email. Legitimate businesses would never ask you to do this. If an email or pop-up ad requests you to confirm personal information, even if it looks genuine, it is an example of phishing and should be reported to reportphishing@antiphishing.org, the attorneys at the Securities and Exchange Commission at enforcement@sec.gov, and to the Federal Trade Commission at uce@ftc.gov.

* If you are concerned about an email you receive from a company, contact that company by phone to verify the information. If there is a web link provided in the email, type it directly into your browser instead of using the link or copying and pasting it, as some links can be redirected to other sites.

* When giving personal information over a website, check to make sure that site is secure. Look at the first part of the web address in your browser. It should read https:// and not http://

* Regularly check your credit card and bank statements and keep track of your transactions. Also, log into your online accounts frequently. This way, you will be able to notice any changes to your account soon after it happens.

By taking these steps, you can greatly reduce your chance of having your identity stolen, and help to combat this growing problem. If you are careful not to reveal personal information online, and help to make others aware of the risks, you will be playing a part in making the Internet a safer place for all of us to communicate and conduct business.

Staff Patrol offers several services to check your own details and see if anything is associated incorrectly with your social security number.


Kubaton Uses & Self-Defense Techniques

June 2, 2007

The Kubaton is a small baton developed by a Japanese self-defense master for use as a restraint device. The Kubaton proved so effective in law enforcement work that it has become one of the most commonly carried martial arts weapons in the United States. The Kubaton combines functionality and convenience and sometimes is attached to a key chain for even more convenience. It is light, inexpensive, easy to use, legal in most areas and available from a variety of retailers.

The self-defense techniques used with a Kubaton are very simple ones. They work by trapping the nerves in the skin between the two hard surfaces (the Kubaton and the opponent’s bones). If used properly, the pain is excruciating and leaves no lasting injury. There are non-lethal impact points on the body suitable for the Kubaton. These are along the spine, chest, solar plexus, and various pressure points along the arms and legs. Extremely effective locations include the throat, eyes and groin, but these locations may lead to permanent injury to the opponent. These techniques are easy to apply, but you must understand how they work, how your opponent will react, the best way to manage the effect, and how to control your attacker after using the technique.

The human body has many methods that ensure its survival in times of danger. One of the most effective methods is the release of a chemical called Adrenaline. There are dozens of physical responses to Adrenaline such as making the heart pump faster, sending blood to the muscles and making an individual stronger. It also numbs pain so that an individual can overcome injury or exhaustion to get away from danger. These things should be recognized when dealing with an opponent and if you cause consistent pain using a Kubaton, the opponent will eventually panic. Adrenaline will surge into his body and he will eventually no longer feel the Kubaton. The secret is to apply pain in only the amount necessary to get compliance and then release the pressure. This will slow your opponent’s flow of adrenaline and help you to keep him under control.

When you are dealing with opponents under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their pain threshold will differ. They may not react to pain very quickly or at all. The Kubaton may be ineffective as a restraint under these circumstances, so you need to judge accordingly.

In a different approach, the Kubaton can be used as a jabbing or striking weapon. The Kubaton can be used underhand or overhand with a swing or jabbing technique. Of course, the Kubaton is only effective if used forcefully and accurately to the impact points. It does have the same limitations that all short-range, hand-to-hand self-defense weapons have. You must be in close physical contact with your opponent to use a Kubaton. If you are elderly or physically challenged, the Kubaton may not be the best self-defense weapon for you.