Small City Video Surveillance Cases Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Oct 11, 2009

It is becoming increasingly common for smaller cities to deploy video surveillance in public places. Even with their smaller sizes, a number of challenges are still frequently faced. Plus, the ultimate benefit is often less than the terrorism stopping/crime fighting imagined.

Interviews with two Texas police departments on their video surveillance systems demonstrates key issues involved.

Bryan, Texas

Bryan, Texas has about 70,000 residents. They started their public system in the downtown area with approximately 13 cameras (mixture of PTZs and fixed cameras mounted on the roof or sides of buildings). A key driver, according to the Police Department, was the availability of a recently deployed fiber system in downtown that they could use for transmitting camera feeds. While this is only available sometimes, the use of existing fiber networks is a significant benefit as it can reduce costs and risks in using wireless systems.

While there have been a number of positive uses for the system, it has not meet its original concept: "We were expecting from the system in terms of increased arrests and fines turned out to be we ended up using it for different type of public service." Specific public uses include, (1) finding a lost little boy during a public event and (2) finding vandals defacing public property. Such modest success stories are common among public video surveillance systems and should be carefully factored into projections of benefits.

The Bryan system has limited video surveillance sharing. They "worked out a communication system with local businesses equipped with CCTV where if a robbery were to occur, those business owners would download the image and then E-mail it out to all the other business owners." Given that the process is heavily manual, this is fairly low tech. However, it's likely the best a smaller city like Bryan could do with limited interoperability of systems.

Amazingly, the Police Department believes that they can eventually use the system to automatically find suspects using facial recognition. As they state, "A small part of your population commits most of your crimes. If you know who they are, you can biometrically link their pictures into the surveillance system. That surveillance system can biometrically scan everybody that’s going by. When they see that person, they can lock-in on them and give you an alert that that person is in a certain business area." Such a concept is more science fiction than reality. See our recent examination of facial surveillance deployment complexities.

McGregor, Texas

McGregor, Texas has a population of about 5,000. They recently deployed 4 public surveillance cameras with an intent to deploy 3 more. The police department does not cite any success stories for the system.

They did note the challenges in deploying cameras on street poles. "The state of Texas and its infinite wisdom would not let us place the poles where we needed to on East 84, which is the main road between Waco and McGregor. Evidently, there were some rulings that claimed it was an invasion of privacy and, therefore, they were not going to let us put a pole up on state property." This is an important logistical that can often delay city wide projects by months as legal issues and permits are determined.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Police

ISC West 2018 Access Control Rundown on Apr 06, 2018
For ISC West 2018, what is new and interesting in access control?  This rundown will bring you up to speed on the exhibitors, what they are...
30+ Emerging Tech Companies Examined on Mar 28, 2018
ISC West has a new segment for 2018: the 'Emerging Technology Zone', which they boast: Featuring 50 of the latest and greatest startup...
Audio Usage In Video Surveillance Statistics on Mar 28, 2018
Audio is more widely available and easier to use than ever, with many IP cameras building audio in and often making integration as simple as...
Chinese Police Wearing Facial Recognition Are Here on Feb 06, 2018
This is a very interesting and highly atypical usage of facial recognition that the Chinese government touted this week: It is a PRC police...
Washington DC Surveillance Hackers Arrested on Dec 29, 2017
The US Department of Justice has announced that "Two Romanian Suspects Charged With Hacking of Metropolitan Police Department Surveillance Cameras...
WSJ Investigates China's Total Surveillance State on Dec 26, 2017
The WSJ is continuing its investigation into Chinese video surveillance. Following up on last month's WSJ Investigation of Hikvision, the WSJ is...
BBC Features Dahua on Dec 13, 2017
Hikvision is not the only mega-Chinese video surveillance manufacturer getting global attention. Last month, the WSJ investigated Hikvision and now...
Panasonic Unified Surveillance Strategy Analyzed on Nov 17, 2017
Panasonic is now a "Unified Surveillance" offering, as their ASIS 2017 booth proclaimed: Looking to make a comeback in the security industry,...
WSJ Investigates Hikvision on Nov 13, 2017
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has released a detailed investigation into Hikvision's government ownership and cybersecurity problems, hitting the...
Genetec Citigraf Big Data Platform Analyzed on Oct 26, 2017
A big industry debate is whether VMS software is now a commodity. However, Genetec believes it can charge a substantial premium for higher-end...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2018 on Apr 26, 2018
150+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why? Unlike the 2016 access favorites where a group...
Last Day Save $50 - May 2018 Camera Course on Apr 26, 2018
Today is the last day to save $50 on early registration. Register now (save $50) for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only independent...
Hikvision DarkfighterX Vs Darkfighter PTZ Tested on Apr 26, 2018
Hikvision has focused on improving low-light performance for PTZs, an area that has traditionally been a problem, even more so than fixed cameras,...
Digifort VMS Profile on Apr 25, 2018
Digifort, a Brazilian company, has a strong presense in their home country. In a crowded and mature Enterprise VMS market, will they be able to...
Death Of A Dummy Camera Manufacturer on Apr 25, 2018
5 years ago, IPVM gathered insights from a dummy camera manufacturer, who was then the top selling dummy camera provider on Amazon and 3rd in all...
Hikvision Critical Cloud Vulnerability Disclosed on Apr 25, 2018
Security researchers Vangelis Stykas and George Lavdanis discovered a vulnerability in Hikvision's HikConnect cloud service that: just by...
The Yolo Bro And The Death of Journalism on Apr 24, 2018
There's an old quote: The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable Unfortunately, the opposite is more...
DMP Adds Ring Video Doorbell Integration on Apr 24, 2018
Video doorbells have become one of the hottest items for security systems. After several years with no doorbell, DMP has announced integration with...
Milestone 2017 Financials Examined on Apr 24, 2018
For ISC West 2018, Milestone released ... their financials, touting "strong revenue growth in 2017". However, there were discrepancies with the...
Chinese Manufacturer Kickstarter Campaign Huge Success (EverCam) on Apr 23, 2018
In a week, a Chinese manufacturer's expertly done Kickstarter campaign has received $1.4 million in pledges, an incredible amount for a video...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact