In its fourth year, the First Line of Defense Award, co-sponsored by SDM and the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) continues its mission to recognize and publicize the effectiveness of electronic security and life safety systems. The award honors the dealers, central stations and emergency authorities that have demonstrated outstanding performance in deterring, detecting or preventing crime and/or loss through the effective design, use and response to security and fire alarm systems.

On the morning of December 2, 2000, Frank Zatika awoke to discover what many of us often do — he had overslept. As co-owner of Absolute Auto and Truck Salvage in Middlesex, N.J., it was his responsibility to open shop that day. However, thanks to the new security system that was installed just two weeks earlier, he did not have to scramble to get out the door.

Instead, Frank sat down at his home computer and called up his business on his monitor, through a remote video connection. He knew that other employees were scheduled to work early that day, and he wanted to see if they were able to get in, as some of them had keys to the shop. He logged onto the system, and began to view the office and yard. He was glad to see that his employees were able to get in. But his sense of relief was short-lived.

As he observed the activity in his shop, he noticed an employee open a drawer that held a cash box. The employee then opened the box, removed some cash, and placed it back in the drawer. All the while, he was being watched and recorded, and all the while he was none the wiser.

Security dealer Steve Becker (center) shares the satisfaction of having provided effective security with his customers, Frank (left) and Joe Zatika (right).


DDS Home Automation and Security, Manville, N.J., installed the security system that caught the employee red-handed, and secured them the First Line of Defense Award. This was not the first time that DDS had worked with Absolute Auto. DDS has been protecting Absolute Auto for the past six years.

“We joined the local chamber of commerce and met Frank and Joe Zatika (co-owner) through the chamber,” says Steve Becker, partner and sales/design engineer, DDS Home Automation and Security. “For about six years, we had been protecting the office and outdoor area of the auto salvage yard with four infrared beams that were strategically located in the yard’s high-risk areas and connected to an Ademco alarm system. The system, which is monitored by Securall Monitoring in Brick, N.J., would be triggered often. Because it is a salvage yard, it was not uncommon for debris to be blown around and set off the alarm, sometimes four or five times nightly. The customer was not connected directly to the police station, because they would have incurred several fines. So when an alarm did trip, employees were responsible for driving to the site and determining the cause.”

This routine soon became tiresome for Frank and Joe, so they decided to do something about it. They called on their friends at DDS to install a new system that would make their lives easier.

“We decided to install indoor and outdoor cameras that would be hooked up to a remote video transmission system,” Becker says. “The cameras were installed on the building and were pointed toward multiple locations of the yard. Now, when a motion detector goes into alarm mode, the VCR begins to record and the panel sends the code to the central station. The central station notifies the owner on call, who then goes to his computer and begins to use the remote video transmission system. This system enables the owners to view the cameras on their property or office. Any type of movement transmits the video back to their home computer.”

Silent Witness Night Hawk cameras mounted on rooftops oversee DDS Security’s customer’s auto salvage yard. They have built-in infrared illuminators for nighttime surveillance.

Caught in the Act

After viewing the employee taking money from the box, Frank headed to work. He viewed tapes from the prior few weeks, and saw that this was not the first time the employee had taken money. He immediately called the police, and played the tape for the responding authorities. He made a copy for the police, and the employee was arrested and prosecuted. In total, he had stolen just over $3,800.

Since its installation, this system has been responsible for evidence in 14 arrests. It has made it easier for the local police to find the thieves, and has paid for itself many times over. The complete system now gives this family operated business the confidence of security.

“It’s really a great feeling to know that a system we provided has helped so much,” Becker says. “Most of our work is residential, so it’s rare that we get to see exactly what effect our systems have.”

For the future, Absolute Auto does not have any immediate plans to upgrade or improve their system.

“Right now the system is working really well for them, and they are happy with the results,” Becker says.

However, if need be, they can call on their old friends at DDS for some help.

DDS: Their Story

DDS Home Automation and Security is a full-service company providing a broad range of products and services in the low-voltage electronics field. The firm was founded in 1993 by Steve Becker and his brother, primarily selling security and control systems. Shortly after a trip to the Home Automation Show, they began selling and installing much more.

“At that show we saw the future of what was coming down the pike for the home. We realized we wanted to be not just one contractor at the house, but all the contractors,” Becker says. “That’s what made us grow to what we are today.”

The five-person staff sells and installs about one job a month, but the price can range from $50,000 to $250,000, Becker says.

DDS is located in central New Jersey, serving the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The company sells security, lighting control, energy management, camera systems, telephones, audio, and home theater — “anything electronic inside of a house or building.” Although DDS is primarily focused on the residential market, they also service commercial accounts.

On the Job

This complete security system was responsible for detecting more than a dozen thefts at Absolute Auto and Truck Salvage in New Jersey. The installing dealer, DDS Home Automation and Security, garnered the SDM/NBFAA First Line of Defense Award.

Silent Witness:

4 Silent Witness Nighthawk cameras (installed outside)


2 Sony Hyper HAD cameras (installed inside)

1 Sony model SSM125, 15-in. B/W monitor


1 Sanyo SRT-7072 time-lapse VCR (72-hr.)


1 Crow i-Witness Guard-8 Remote Video System


1 ATV DPX9M full duplex multiplexer


1 Ademco 4110XM security system

3 Ademco door contacts

2 Ademco model 996 motion detectors


4 Aleph AB500Q outdoor photoelectric beams