Philly's Disastrous Surveillance System Investigated

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jun 10, 2013

Philadelphia's surveillance system is a huge mess. The last we checked, they were paying $136,000 per operational camera, with most cameras broken. Now, a new audit has been released, with more grim details, followed by more debate amongst city officials. In this note, we break down the four main issues we found from interviewing Philadelphia officials and reviewing the final report:

Finger Pointing Within Philadelphia

  • ****** ******** ***** *** key **** *******
  • **** ** ** ***********
  • ******* ** ******** *** disrepair
  • ***** * ****** ***, hoping ** ******* * PSIM ** ******* ****

***** ** *********** ************ ******* the **** ******* **** are ******** *** ****** of *** ******: 

  • *** **** **** ***** Center **** *** ******* on * ***** ***** and ****** **** **** 50% ** *** ******* working. 
  • *** ****** ** *********** and ********** (***** ******** the *******) ****** **% of *** ******* **** working ****** *** *****, 71% ***** *** *****.
  • ************ ***** ******* ****** reported ** **** ****** number, ****** **% **** ***********.
  • *** ************ **********'* ****** ********* the ***** *** ***** only **% ** ******* operational. 

*** ***** ***** ***** comparisons **** **** ****** reports ** **** *** observed ** ******** (** Observation) ** **** *** reported *** **** ***** the *****. 

 *** ***** ***** **** reason *** **** *********** in *********:

“***** * ****** *** be ** ** *** time *** ******* ****** is ******** ** *** spreadsheet ** *** *******, it ***** ** **** in *** *********, *** vice *****. ** ** believed **** **** ** most ********** *** ** weather ********** (*.*., ****, rain, ***.) ** **** of ******* ... ************, since ** **** ** data **** **** ****** is ****** *** ********* for ******, ***** * camera *** *** ** working *****, ***** ** a *********** **** ***** images **** **** ****** may ** ********* **** sometime ****** *** ******** 28 ****.” 

****'* *** ********* ****** *** ***** *****:

  • **% ** ******** ******** cameras ****** ******** (**** year **% ******)
  • **% *** ******** (**% did *** **** ** all/36% *** ***** ******)
  • **% *** ******* ***** quality ******** (*** **** to **** *** ****** or ******* ******)
  • *** ****** ** ****-**** employees *** **** ** the ************ ******: *
  • ** ******* **** **** removed ***** **** **** “skewing *** ********** ** make ** ****** **** a ******* ********** ** cameras *** ******* ********.”

Various ********

*** *******, *** ****** randomly ******** *** ******* produced ***** ****** *** first ****, *** *** PTZ ******** *** *** work. *** ***** ***** the **** ****** ******** blurry, ******, ********* ** the ******. **** ** the ******* ******* *** some **** ** ************ or ******** ***** ****** their *****. **** *** other ***** ******* *******, made ** “********* ** discern ****** ********, ***** on ******** *** ********, and ***** ************ *******.”

*** ******** ******* *** rate ******** ********** ** the **** ***** ******* as ****, ****** *** “bit **** *** *** high ****** ** **** up *** ****; ******** due ** ****** *** bandwidth ** *** *******’ compression *******. *** **** significant *********** ***** **** viewing ********** ***** *** the ********** ** ********* images **** ******** **** the ****** *** ****** onto * ******* *****.” IPVM ******** **** ***** be ******* ***********'********* ***** **-*********** ** reduce ******* ***********.

Poor ** ** ***********

*** ***** ******** *** the **********’* ******, ***** Dries, ********* *** *** system ***** ** *** up ** *** ***** having * **** ** make ***********:

“* ***** **’* * combination ** ******. **’* the **** ** * maintenance ******* *** *** condition ** *** *******. We *** * ********** to ********* [*** ***** below]. ** ********* ** there’s ** *****, ** takes ** ***** [** fix]. ** *****’* ** issue ** ************ ** takes ** ** **** weeks ** ***." 

Cameras *** ** ******** *** *********

"*** ****** ********* ** the ******* ** * problem ***," ***** ****. "Thirty-two ******* ** **** could ** ****, *** rest ** ** ** useless. *****’* ***** ** the ****** *****, *** with *** ***** ******* you ***’* **** ******** any ******* ** ****** or **** ******* ******.”

****** ******

** ** *** ******* in ****** ** ***** images. *** ***** *** full ** *****:

 

*** **** ** *** audit ***** **** ******* were ******* ** ********** blocked ** ***** ** buildings. **** ****** ** blocked ** ****:

*** ** ***** ***** images ** ** ********** to *********** ******* ****** at **** ************ *** in **** ******* ***: 

****: *** ****** ******** in *** ****** ******* the **** ***** ** view. ****** **** *** zoomed **** ********* ******. 

System *****

*** ****** **** **** and **** ******* *** TimeSight ***. ** ******************* *** *** *** the ******** *********** *** *******, *** until ** *** *** the ***** ***** ** work, **** ** *** details ** *** ******** contract **** **** * ****** ***** ******* from ****. *** ******** *** for $*.* ******* *** included************ ** *** ******* with ** ****** ** deploy ** ********** ***. The ******** ******* *** noted ** * ******* in *** **** *****, but ** ***** ** not **** **** **** they **** *****. **** audit **** *** ******* is ********* ***** ******** with ***** ******.

***

****** *** *** ************ ************ *** **** wants *** ****** ** have, *** ** ******* on *******. *** **** ****** a surveillance ****** **** *** scalable ** ** *,*** cameras, ******** **** *** IP *******. ** **** wanted * ******* ** a **** ** *********** and ***** ********* *** storage *** * ******* of ** ****. **********, *** 2007 *** **** *** system **** **** ** alarm **** ******** ************** if *** ***** ** the ****** *** *** working. ** ***** **** capability ****** *** *** make ** **** *** system ** **** *** alarm **** ********** ** going ***. ***** ** what *** "******** ******* Requirements" ******* ***** **** (**** *** ****):

Failed *** / **** ****

*** ****'* **** ** fix *** ******** ** not *****, *** *** Office ** ********** *** Technology ********* ********* ********** with ****. ** *** audit ***** *** ** mention ** ****** ***** or * *********** *******, but ***** *** ******* of *********** * ****.

** ***** *** **** report **** *********, *** brand ** *** **** by ****************** ********** ** ****. *** ************ ***** to ********* ******* ******* *** ******* (****) ***** **** ********* to ******* "**** ******** images." The **** **** ** is ******* “***** ** update ** *** ********* software ** **** *********” that **** ***** **** to ******* *** ******* using ******.

***** *********'* ******, ** could ** ********* ** integrate *** ***. ********, even ** *********, ** do *** *** *** way **** *** **** could '*******' *** ****** coming **** * ***** party ********.

*** **********’* ****** **** the *** ** ********* was ** ***** **** noticed ** *** ***** audit ** ****. *** city ***** ** **** people **** ********* ** TimeSight **** *** ****** first ******* ****** ********, but **** “**** ***’* have **,” *** **********'* office ****.

What ** **?

*********, ****** *** ********* maintenance **** **** *** the ******** *** **** likely ******. *** ***** of ***** ****** ** a *** **** ** out ** ******** ************ plus ************ **** ******* ****** with ***** ********** / transmission **************. ********, **** have ******** ********* ******. We *** *** ********** about *** ******'* ****** without ******* *******.

******, **** ****, ************ has ****** *** **** ******* **** ********** private ********** ** ******* surveillance *******. *************, **** ******** has ***** *********** ** well.

Comments (5)

Another fantastic example of the government's stweradship of the citizen's money.

"The Office of Information and Technology (which oversees the project) claims 60% of the cameras were working before the audit, 71% after the audit."

There's your solution: at 11% gain per, with three more audits they should be at 103%

Of course, given what an audit probably costs, it would be cheaper to just rip everything out and start from scratch.

Do they honestly, honestly, seriously expect the system to just run itself, with no dedicated surveillance system staff?

It's pretty amazing that most times you see a system with major problems, they have terrible to no maintenance in place. You would think this would serve as a warning / lesson to not short cut maintenance.

Why, when it's easier to just point fingers and insist the vendor deal with "their" deficiencies?

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