'Severe Deficiencies' for Baltimore City System

By: Ben Wood, Published on Dec 11, 2013

A "hodgepodge of basic query services and secretarial work” containing “severe deficiencies, including understaffing” is the conclusion of Baltimore Police Department’s strategic plan for improvement about their much bragged about Citiwatch system for “complete domain awareness.” In this note, we review the report and the key issues identified.

The Baltimore Police Department's Analytical Intelligence Section includes the Crime Analysis Unit, the Watch Center, the CitiWatch Unit, and the Comstat Unit. The report offered critiques for all of them. It says the main problem with the Crime Analysis Unit is that it is understaffed and receiving inadequate data from the other Intelligence Section Units. The unit, with six employees is understaffed by 40 employees, according to the report.

“Neither the Watch Center nor the CitiWatch Units are reaching their potential as valuable intelligence resources," the report says. "The Watch Center should function as a real-time, intelligence fusion center, while the CitiWatch should function as the Department’s lead on citywide CCTV and other electronic intelligence resources.” Citiwatch cost $10 million for the first 300 cameras and costs $1.4 million annually to operate.

Instead, staff from the Watch Center are overrun with “tasks that could be done by police cadets or clerical staff.” Baltimore wants analysts to do more analysis, not clerical work. The police department wants to hire more people who can do that clerical work.

Lack of Timely and Accurate Data Coming In

"Much of this stems from the present lack of ability for field officers to conduct remote data entry, but also from poor data practices – namely a proliferation of databases outside of RMS, a massive data entry backlog, poor prioritization of data entry in the Records Unit, missing or incomplete data in existing databases including RMS, widespread use of unofficial data, and errant CAD reports that are never corrected by officers on scene," the report says. 

Duplication of Efforts?

The report questions whether there is a duplication of efforts between the Watch Center and CitiWatch. The Watch Center is a command center that was initially only activated for special events, but now runs 24/7. Like Citiwatch it can monitor all of the city’s cameras. However it’s not clear if they can also pull in LPR, GPS, and social media data and access other agency cameras like CitiWatch.

Solution

Baltimore’s plan is to increase staffing and consolidate its intelligence activities. The police department says it will also clearly define and separate the distinct duties of CitiWatch and the Watch Center, according to the report.

The Watch Center will branch off to be more of a fusion center and a central location for the police department’s intelligence databases and will be renamed the Strategic Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center. CitiWatch will take over all operations related to surveillance cameras and will also be renamed.

Our calls to the Baltimore Police Department to talk more about how they plan to help CitiWatch to reach its potential were not returned.

IPVM Analysis

Smaller to medium-sized agencies looking to get these big systems should ask themselves these questions: Do I have the resources to use a 600+ camera system to its full potential? And do I have the resources to handle all the paperwork and requests that will start pouring in now that you have eyes on so many places? We saw this problem in a justice complex with 1800 cameras. Not only did they need 20-30 people monitoring the cameras, but they were inundated with requests for footage for lost cell phones.

The report also raises the question: Is PSIM enough? CitiWatch only touches a small portion of Baltimore Police Department's intelligence operations. There is still database entry, 911 calls that PSIM doesn't address.  

 

Comments (0) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Private School IT Manager Surveillance Interview on Feb 22, 2019
This IT manager describes himself as the "oft-maligned IT person" whose "opinions may not always be appreciated by the integrator crowd." But he is...
Police Department Surveillance Manager Interview on Feb 28, 2019
Former Memphis PD Surveillance Manager, Lt. Joseph Patty retired months ago, but kept busy during his decades on the force, working to build up...
Large US University End-User Video Surveillance Interview on Mar 18, 2019
Schools have become targets in modern days of active shooters and terrorist fears. The need for video and access security is high. Universities...
UK Camera Commissioner Calls for Regulating Facial Recognition on Apr 15, 2019
IPVM interviewed Tony Porter, the UK’s surveillance camera commissioner after he recently called for regulations on facial recognition in the...
San Francisco Face Recognition Ban And Surveillance Regulation Details Examined on May 14, 2019
San Francisco passed the legislation 8-1 today. While the face recognition 'ban' has already received significant attention over the past few...
First Video Surveillance GDPR Fine In France on Jul 08, 2019
The French government has imposed a sizeable fine on a small business for violating the GDPR after it constantly filmed employees without informing...
New GDPR Guidelines for Video Surveillance Examined on Jul 18, 2019
The highest-level EU data protection authority has issued a new series of provisional video surveillance guidelines. While GDPR has been in...
UK Facewatch GDPR Compliance Questioned on Aug 27, 2019
Even as the GDPR strictly regulates biometrics, a UK company called Facewatch is selling anti-shoplifter facial recognition systems to hundreds of...
First GDPR Facial Recognition Fine For Sweden School on Aug 22, 2019
A school in Sweden has been fined $20,000 for using facial recognition to keep attendance in what is Sweden's first GDPR fine. Notably, the fine is...
France Declares School Facial Recognition Illegal Due to GDPR on Oct 31, 2019
France is the latest European country to effectively prohibit facial recognition as a school access control solution, even with the consent of...

Most Recent Industry Reports

'Severe Impact' Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss for the video surveillance industry. XNOR.ai stunned the industry...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...
PRC Government Entity Now Controlling Shareholder of Infinova / March Networks on Jan 16, 2020
A PRC government entity is now the controlling shareholder of US security manufacturer Infinova as well as its wholly-owned subsidiary March...
Network Cabling for Video Surveillance on Jan 15, 2020
In this guide, we explain the fundamentals of network cabling for video surveillance networks, how they should be installed, and the differences in...
ONVIF Trashed Statement, Confirms Dahua and Hikvision Still Suspended on Jan 15, 2020
ONVIF has 'trashed' the suspension statement for Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei, etc. but confirms to IPVM that those companies are all still...
Wyze Smart Door Lock Test on Jan 14, 2020
Wyze's inexpensive cameras have grabbed the attention of many in the consumer market, but can the company's new smart lock get similar...
Wesco Wins Anixter on Jan 13, 2020
Despite Anixter earlier arguing that Wesco's bid was inferior to CD&R's by nearly 10%, Anixter confirmed that they are taking Wesco's 3.1%...
Anixter Resisting Takeover From Competitor, Bidding War Emerges, Wesco Wins on Jan 13, 2020
Mega distributor Anixter is going to be acquired but by whom? Initially, Anixter planned to go private, being bought by a private equity firm....