Fri 3 Jul 2020
4 ways to improve your city surveillance system
The responsibility of managing surveillance and security in cities is extremely complex, from making decisions based on crime reduction matters to future development and city planning. A vital consideration for security managers is therefore how public safety can be improved through the use of a municipal surveillance system. Here are 4 key factors that city surveillance managers must work towards, with the objective of improving public safety:
Ensure your system is “Always On”
To safeguard people living and working in your city, it’s essential that your system is recording 24/7 and doesn’t have outages, so that you can always access the footage you need to report an incident. For example, if a person is walking home late at night down a street covered by CCTV and they are attacked, it’s vital that the surveillance manager on duty has access to high quality footage in real time so that they can alert police, identify the perpetrators and ensure the safety of the victim.
Although having a system that works perfectly when you need it seems like an obvious requirement for city-wide surveillance systems, many security managers find this sort of incident difficult to deal with due to the complex nature of their surveillance systems. This stems from the wide geographical area that the surveillance system has to cover and the fact that they are often made up of a variety of different camera brands with varying capabilities, which can create integration issues. It is therefore important to configure your system components – from your cameras, to your NVRs, Video Management Software and integrations – so that it is able to work perfectly whenever you need it to, integrating different camera brands so they can be controlled easily and effectively from one user interface.
Install the right quality cameras
In municipal surveillance systems, it’s essential that the cameras installed are capable of producing High Definition (HD) quality images. HD images provide better evidence to identify suspects and are more likely to result in prosecutions, while expensive litigation can be avoided when you can demonstrate clear footage showing the cause of incidents that have happened in the street, for example falls or car accidents. In city surveillance systems, cameras often need to record footage from a greater distance because fewer cameras are covering a larger area, also requiring powerful zoom capabilities to capture images in sufficient detail for law enforcement. Cameras in municipal systems must also contend with being installed externally, potentially experiencing extreme temperature differences, high winds, torrential rains, ice and snow.
You need to therefore think and plan carefully so that you have the right cameras installed in the right locations, to withstand conditions over the long-term and in the right position to capture crystal-clear images: if you install the wrong types of cameras in the wrong areas, you may find that your cameras are out of action or unable to help when you need them most to prevent an incident or track a suspect.
Respond quickly and efficiently to incidents
Joel Ordonez, Regional Sales Manager for IndigoVision in Peru and Ecuador, explains why it’s so important that public surveillance systems enable a fast response to any type of incident:
Responding quickly is critical, not only to solve the present incident but it also means that you can help to prevent future incidents. For example many cities allocate “red zones”, which are the most dangerous areas in the district. In this zone you know incidents are more likely to occur, so you can start to make plans for how to prevent them, creating a smarter response to crime.
In these “red zones”, you can divert more resources to ensure it becomes a safer area, for example, by installing more HD cameras in specific locations across the district. As soon as an incident happens, such as a theft, the perpetrator can be tracked immediately and clear evidence can be provided to law enforcement to prosecute them.
Henry Gambeta, the Control Room Manager in the San Borja municipality of Peru, explains the benefit of using a powerful Video Management Software to control your cameras and integrations:
If you’re not using software that allows you to control the various camera brands, maintaining control of your system becomes more difficult and, as a consequence, response times are increased in the event of an incident.
The complete end-to-end surveillance solution – combining your video management software, cameras, NVRs, analytics and integrations – means you can more easily control your system components and respond more effectively to incidents, helping to reduce their occurrence. The fewer incidents that your city has, the safer people will feel who live in your district and may encourage more visitors and tourists to your area, whose presence can stimulate investment in local businesses and public spaces.
Raise visibility of your surveillance system
People want to live in an environment which is safe: as you make security surveillance enhancements, with new cameras or analytics software to improve public safety, you should inform the public about this. Social Media is a great place to do this, as it enables you to reach a wide audience who may be at home, in the office or on-the-go and it’s also a media channel where people are used to consuming content. There is also the added advantage that publicizing your surveillance system can deter crime, as potential criminals are discouraged by seeing your cameras in the streets. A district where citizens know that they can move around and live safely is one which will attract future residents, investments and secure economic prosperity over the long-term.
Managing a municipal surveillance system is a complex task but also vital to protect citizens and ensure they live in a safe and secure neighbourhood. An out-of-date system could mean that your security operators can’t provide an immediate response to incidents, or your system may not be able to scale with any future expansion. Enhancing your city surveillance system might be necessary to ensure that your system is fit for purpose to safeguard your citizens.