Video surveillance solutions to cities

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Cameras in front of UK Parliament building
Every year in Poland there are registered about 350,000 burglaries and 40,000 robberies, 20,000 of which taking place in public places. The general tendency shows continuous growth of crime level.
What surveillance system is to be applied for?
In the zones monitored with cameras, it is noticed considerable drop (in some cases even complete elimination) in number of robberies, excesses, thefts and vandalism acts. It also makes drivers keep to traffic regulations. For instance - the crime committed in one of monitored zones in Radom has dropped by 50 percent. In the case of other cities, this rate varies between 25-75%.
The necessary condition to reach such effects is coupling the surveillance system with intervention of the police or the municipal police. Correct organization enables the officers to arrive at the place indicated by CCTV operator in 2 minutes.
Surveillance system allows "recovery" of city centers or railway stations for trade, tourist or cultural purposes. One should remember that introduction of surveillance doesn't have considerable influence on crime drop in all big city, as it is seen relocation of offenses to the zones not encompassed with monitoring.
The advantages of video monitoring system
City surveillance system helps not only to greatly improve security level as a deterrent for vandals and criminals and a means for providing evidence, but also supports organization of mass events, management of the traffic system etc.
How to introduce surveillance system - the example from Kielce.
It's important that realization of this task should be carried out with good cooperation with the police and municipal police. If it comes to Kielce, on the grounds of surveys on danger places, which had been conducted in two last years, it was made the map that became the base for cameras' deployment plan. It was agreed that observation center should be situated in close neighborhood of police station. There were provided appropriate means of wireless communication with patrols and phone connection with police stations that were situated near the places of cameras' location. There was allotted appropriate room and assigned qualified personnel to work in.
The center of observation might also be situated in municipal police headquarter. But one should remember about direct communication and cooperation with the police, being always the key force to intervene.
The organizational preparation of observation center is of great importance. In Radom, with regard to constraints on the time a person can work at the monitor, the active staff is always two people. In connection with the necessity of constant observation, the full staff of the center counts 10 people. The rule that operators should work in pairs is generally required in surveillance, but its importance is often neglected. Simply, this requirement increases the maintenance costs.
How to organize, how to fund?
As a rule, an initiative is taken up by municipal government, but in some cases the first steps are taken by the police and the municipal police.
Finances are mostly provided from self-government resources, usually municipal government, but the police may also have some participation in the fund. But it is connected with previous reception of appropriate resources form provincial governor. Such undertaking may be also financed by private sponsors (the system in Radom has been financed this way). One should establish foundation for this purpose so that resources from those interested in sponsorship could come into its account. The unites that should be interested in such an undertaking may be banks, owners of businesses like shops and restaurants, insurance companies or even inhabitants. All investments have to be clearly accounted for.
The police from Kielce estimates that if the crime level in monitored areas drops only by 20 - 30 percent, the expenses will pay off in one year.
There has to be appointed the institution and the person managing all the project, having authorization for negotiations with, for example, roads' administrator, telecommunications operators, private owners of buildings etc. For instance, the institution that managed the execution of investment in Gdansk was The Board of Urban Roads and Greenery. Further, the best solution is handing over all the installation to municipal/urban government (provided that they are not the main investor or owner from the very beginning). The self-government should prepare resources for later modernization, maintenance and servicing. General inspection and maintenance should be carried out twice a year, before winter and in spring. In contract with the service firm it's worth to pay attention to the time of performing reparations and the stoppages connected with.
There should be emphasized great approval of public for such investments. The poll of local radio station in Radom showed that installation of surveillance system was recognized as the most important event in the city.
Some frequent implementation mistakes and design hints.
The common mistakes are: wrongly arranged cameras, improper sensitivity of the cameras, insufficient illumination of observed area, cameras' housings not suitable for outdoor operation, system of recording with too long breaks between recorded frames.
At design stage one should indicate which cameras are to be used for identification of persons, and which only for general observation. It's worth to know that identification of a person requires that the image of the person on the monitor's screen takes at least 120% of the screen's height (for recognition purposes it will do 50%).
The experts recognize the advantages of cameras with darkened domes, equipped with PTZ functions (they have esthetic housings resembling lamps, ensure invisibility of the direction of current operation, may be placed at heights - these are the reasons they are less vulnerable to devastation). They may observe chosen areas as well as the whole panorama - no-one can determine the actual operation.
When developing the design for the installation it's worth to think about emergency power supply. It is essential to ensure that the system will operate in all circumstances. The best solution is central power system with UPS feature.
It is also sensible to take into consideration intercom connection between places of cameras' installation and the monitoring center. It may be very useful and will allow to install alarm posts (the person in need or policeman can get in touch with monitoring center just by pressing a button - they will be also visible on the monitor).
IP CCTV is nowadays the only technology used for building modern surveillance systems in cities.
It should be emphasized that use of other technologies (e.g. analog cameras and DVRs) does not guarantee proper functionality of such systems.
The newest trend is using megapixel cameras (large share of IQinvision) that allow to monitor large areas without loss of details - stadiums, mass events, intersections, major roads etc.
IP platform gives perfect opportunity for creating big, extensive installations. A good example of the potential is the worldwide monitoring system implemented by Cisco Corporation, integrating 296 monitored locations scattered in 60 countries. It employs 2661 cameras.
Applying similar formula for city monitoring, such system can be easily (and cheaply) developed in the future. The architecture of IP monitoring networks is identical to common computer networks.
The devices used for processing video signals have their own IP addresses. There is still a possibility of utilizing analog fragments of installation e.g. cameras and sets of monitors by employing A/D converters, usually called web servers - at one side, and D/A converters, called decoders or transcoders - at the other side. Recording of the video can be performed either locally, with common DVRs, or remotely, with data stream recorders.
Illustration of the concept of implementing IP CCTV system which utilizes existing analog equipment. The red paths - analog part of the installation, the blue ones - digital networks.
1 - analog camera
2 - set of analog cameras
3 - one-channel web server
4 - IP camera
5 - four-channel web server
6 - rotational IP camera
7 - D/A decoder
8 - multichannel D/A decoder
9 - network digital video recorder (NDVR)
10 - digital monitor
11 - analog monitor
12 - set of analog monitors
In traditional analog CCTV system a big problem is long distance of transmission. In Tarnobrzeg, it was impossible to run the farthest camera. The solution was to employ IP CCTV camera from ACTi.
Wireless CCTV systems.
In the case of a number of distant locations that are to be monitored in the city, often the only means of accomplishing such system is using wireless installations. Analog technology did not offer such capabilities and flexibility of deployment, and there were problems with interferences and PTZ control.
IP CCTV - monitoring of the town and schools in Oswiecim. The program Safe Town of Oswiecim is based on modern wireless IP CCTV system. It includes monitoring of the town center, 3 schools, and kindergarten.
In the first stage there have been deployed 19 IP cameras from ACTi and one video server which enables to use four analog cameras that were part of the older CCTV system. In each school there have been mounted four K1311 cameras and local server for recording and viewing the material. Division of the installation into small autonomous sections allows lengthening the time of registration (one server for only four cameras) and optimization of picture parameters without high throughput requirements.
Signals from the cameras installed in schools and on the streets are wirelessly sent to the monitoring center that is located in municipal police headquarters. The links work in 5GHz band, using access points. The network ensures smooth transfer of images from the 19 cameras, placed even several kilometers away from one another. Despite the fact of local recording, the municipal police register the data in the monitoring center to guarantee maximum security level. Use of schedule and motion detection recording options allows to limit network traffic and the needed capacity of the recording system.
The town center is monitored by IP speed dome Day/Night cameras K1214. The surveillance system started up in Oswiecim is one of the first projects combining monitoring of schools and town center. Central management of the system executed by police professionals guarantees quick response to any threats. In the future the system will be further developed, even up to 100 cameras.
The installation has been carried out by Crowley Data Poland.
City monitoring in Oswiecim - the system has been described on ACTi website as the model solution for city/town installations
IP-based monitoring in Zlotow.
Town CCTV system in Zlotow, Poland, has been based on fixed and rotary IP cameras from ACTi, and a number of wireless devices. However, in the case of shorter distance, there has been used wired link, too. The decisive factors are always the economy of possible solutions and reliability of the transmission.
Basic diagram of CCTV installation in Zlotow
The signals from the cameras are additionally retransmitted from the monitoring center to the police station. This path is very important to produce an immediate reaction of policing service in case of any danger.
Hybrid CCTV system in Skawina near Krakow. The existing analog system (13 rotating cameras), should be extended by next three cameras. Due to large distances between the locations and municipal police station it couldn't be analog cameras. The proper solution was provided by IP CCTV technology. As the transmission medium, it has been employed cable TV network, which allows simultaneous distribution of TV channels and transmission of data packets. This solution enables quick installation of next cameras without a need of laying additional cabling.
As the system uses 16-channel DVR, there are employed transcoders. It allows utilization of three channels which were not used before, as well as the existing console for control of the new cameras. Such hybrid system is the first step towards IP technology, all for low costs (only new cameras and transcoders). The installed K1214 cameras ensure high quality images despite changeable light and weather conditions. The installation has been done by Autocom.
The equipment of ACTi - one of the world leader in the field of cameras for city monitoring.

Video Surveillance of Cities | Equipment | Concept | FAQ | Examples

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