If you manage a town or city, you’re likely aware of the security challenges it faces. Whether its shootings, robberies, or some other physical crime, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s going on in your municipality. And until recent years, law enforcement had to rely on citizen reporting or real-time observances to know when and where to respond; even then, they didn’t always have the information they needed to quickly close the case.
Fortunately, new technologies now allow cities to monitor their assets and quickly respond to crimes—sometimes before they’ve even been reported. These various technologies—collectively known as a citywide surveillance solution when spread across a municipality—allow cities to increase their reach and autonomy without wasting precious resources.
Technologies That Comprise Citywide Surveillance
As we mentioned, citywide surveillance isn’t one specific technology—it’s a solution comprised of different technologies that are integrated into one system. More importantly, the solution is customized to meet the unique challenges of each municipality. While no two citywide surveillance solutions are the same, there are a few different technologies that tend to make them up.
Surveillance Cameras. Cameras are probably the most obvious part of any citywide surveillance solution. Cameras allow operators to capture and analyze incidents as they happen. The types of cameras used will vary based on where it will be positioned, the client’s expectations, and the overall budget.
Analytics. Software analytics are now being used to evaluate and scan live and recorded video. These analytics include facial detection/recognition, object-left-behind recognition, loitering, banned person/people, slip and fall, sudden crowd gathering/dispersion, etc. This leverages surveillance cameras beyond simple video capturing.
Sensors. Security goes beyond just cameras. Different sensors, for example, allow the client to detect certain events as soon as they occur. One such sensor—a gunshot detection device—immediately alerts law enforcement once it detects a gunshot. There are a variety of sensors to meet any client’s needs, such as nuclear, chemical and biohazard detection, ground-based radar, and cell phone tracking capabilities.
License Plate Recognition. Many municipalities have started to implement license plate recognition cameras within their city’s limits. This technology automatically captures the license plate of every passing vehicle and analyzes it against a database of target vehicles. In the event of a match, local law enforcement will instantly be alerted to the vehicle, the detected location, and any other important information. This information can be shared between agencies to further enhance the coverage and efficiency of active cases.
Wireless Networks. In order for a citywide surveillance solution to function, there needs to be a dedicated, robust, and powerful network to interconnect all of these devices. This network is comprised of various types of radios that transmit data to and from each device in the system. One of the best solutions for a radio network is a mesh topology which provides for a true any-to-any connection. In this scenario, there are multiple paths to transmit the data, which minimizes or—in some cases—eliminates downtime altogether.
Why Citywide Surveillance?
Municipalities are expansive and can be difficult to manage, but technology allows city leadership to monitor incidents and keep their cities safe. Citywide surveillance is a solution that is unique to each city and adapts to the client’s needs. By adopting this solution, cities can quickly respond to incidents and monitor high-crime areas. It’s also an effective force multiplier that allows law enforcement agencies to use their resources more efficiently.