Murder in Front of Broken Camera Missed

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on May 23, 2013

In March, a man was shot and killed within view of a surveillance camera in a Miami public housing community. It was not until police tried to pull video that they learned the camera was not working. The wiring had been ripped out.

(Screenshot of the destroyed wires from a CBS Miami broadcast.)
 
It is not clear how much the city knew about the status of the system in Arthur Mays Villas, but the less than two-year-old installation had been problematic for some time, according to the Miami Herald [link no longer available]. The paper says cameras were often vandalized or moved to point in different directions.

The $118,000, 22-camera system came with a year of maintenance and support, which had expired more than a year before the murder (see the full contract executed May 2011). We could not find any evidence or documentation that the support had been extended.

System Details

The system included 19 analog cameras with lenses and enclosures at ~$620 per camera and six IndigoVision encoders for ~$810 per camera. 

An excerpt from the contract shows the camera and encoder pricing:


Neither Miami Public Housing and Community Development, the agency responsible for the system nor the integrator, Aware Digital, returned our phone calls or emails, leaving many questions about the dysfunctional system unanswered. Why were the cameras not serviced in a timely manner and what is the status of the cameras now?

However, after the family of the shooting victim said it planned to file a lawsuit against the city and Aware Digital, the housing authority released a statement [link no longer available] saying, "We are currently in the process to award a contract for the repair, upgrade and service of the cameras."

IPVM Analysis

It seems that the city should be more concerned about the functionality of a system in an area designated by police as one of the highest crime areas in Miami, where three murders took place in the preceding five months. By letting broken cameras continue in an area where they would certainly be of value and by failing to disclose if the problem had been fixed, it is clear that the City of Miami and the Public Housing and Community Development feel they do not have to answer to the public in this case (We have requested copies of all audits, maintenance and repair records and incident reports related to the system). 

Without knowing the extent of the vandalism, it seems some of the problems mentioned in the Herald story could have been avoided with the most basic step: Mounting cameras and boxes higher to make it more difficult to change their direction or pull out wires.

The specified products did not help. Spending an average of $1400+ per fixed camera for new analog cameras and encoders is highly questionable, considering top of the line HD camera can be had (even in 2011) for significantly less than that. Plus, the money saved could be used for maintenance.

It should not take a murder and a lawsuit for an end user to find out their system is not working and do something about it. For more on maintenance, see our service contract / maintenance contracts guide.

Comments (6) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Uniview Deep Learning Camera Tested on Jul 14, 2020
Uniview's intrusion analytics have performed poorly in our shootouts. Now,...
Anixter Runs Fake Coronavirus Marketing Using Shutterstock Watermarked Images on Jul 24, 2020
Coronavirus faked marketing is regrettably commonplace right now but Anixter...
"He Is An Idiot!" Exclaims SIA Director John Mack on Mar 23, 2020
Here is another inside look into the "leaders" of the security industry. SIA...
ADI Branch Burglary on Apr 03, 2020
A security systems distributor branch is an odd target for burglary but that...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Don't Deceive. Lessons From Scott Schafer on Mar 20, 2020
Deception is bad. We can learn some important lessons from Scott Schafer, a...
ADT Slides Back, Disappointing Results, Poor Commercial Performance on Aug 06, 2020
While ADT had an incredible start to the week, driven by the Google...
US Surgeon General Unwittingly Showcases Sanctioned Dahua Temperature System on Jul 28, 2020
The US' top public health spokesperson, the Surgeon General, posted a photo...
Facial Recognition: Weak Sales, Anti Regulation, No Favorite, Says Security Integrators on Jul 07, 2020
While facial recognition has gained greater prominence, a new IPVM study of...
No Blackbody Mistake, Half Million Dollar, Hikvision Fever Camera System in Georgia on Sep 16, 2020
A Georgia school district touted buying Hikvision fever screening "about...
False: Verkada: "If You Want To Remote View Your Cameras You Need To Punch Holes In Your Firewall" on Jul 31, 2020
Verkada falsely declared to “3,000+ customers”, “300 school districts”, and...
Face Masks Increase Face Recognition Errors Says NIST on Aug 04, 2020
COVID-19 has led to widespread facemask use, which as IPVM testing has shown...
Smartphone Thermal Camera Body Temperature Measurement Tested (FLIR / Seek) on Apr 10, 2020
Thermal cameras have exploded in popularity due to coronavirus, but can...
Convergint Outlook Turns Negative on Apr 16, 2020
Convergint's outlook has turned negative, according to bond rater Moody's,...
Amazon, Microsoft and IBM Abandoning Face Recognition Is An "Irresponsible PR Stunt" Says AnyVision on Jul 17, 2020
In the wake of national protests against US police abuses, big tech firms...

Recent Reports

Virtual ISC West and GSX+ Exhibiting Contrasted on Sep 17, 2020
Both ISC West and ASIS GSX are going virtual this year, just weeks apart, but...
X.Labs Sues FLIR on Sep 16, 2020
X.Labs, the maker of Feevr, has sued FLIR, the publicly traded thermal...
Video Surveillance 101 September Course - Last Chance on Sep 16, 2020
Today is the last chance to sign up for the Fall Video Surveillance 101...
No Blackbody Mistake, Half Million Dollar, Hikvision Fever Camera System in Georgia on Sep 16, 2020
A Georgia school district touted buying Hikvision fever screening "about...
Costar Technologies / Arecont H1 2020 Financials Examined on Sep 16, 2020
Costar's financial results have been hit by the coronavirus with the company...
Startup Cawamo Presents Live Alerts With Edge AI and Cloud VMS on Sep 15, 2020
Cawamo, an Israeli edge-to-cloud analytics and VMS startup, presented its...
Favorite Access Control Credentials 2020 on Sep 15, 2020
Credential choice is more debated than ever, with hacking risk for 125kHz and...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Screening Marketing In Africa on Sep 15, 2020
A multi-national African Hikvision distributor is marketing dangerously...
New Products Show Fall 2020 Announced - Register Now on Sep 14, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature New Products from over 25...
Hanwha 8K / 33MP Camera Tested on Sep 14, 2020
Hanwha Techwin has released an 8K / 33MP resolution camera, the TNB-9000 with...
Gait Recognition Examined on Sep 14, 2020
Facial recognition faces increasing ethical and political criticisms while...
Comparing 2020 Reality To 2010 Expectations on Sep 11, 2020
What can we learn from where the industry was in 2010 and what was believed...
China Dali Fever Cameras and Booming Sales Examined on Sep 11, 2020
Zhejiang Dali, one of China's original thermal technology developers, has...
Risks Of Managing End User Passwords (Statistics) 2020 on Sep 11, 2020
Alarmingly, most integrators used spreadsheets to manage passwords, IPVM...
Dedicated Vs Converged IP Video Networks Statistics 2020 on Sep 10, 2020
Running one's video system on a converged network with other devices can save...