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

China Public Video Surveillance Guide: From Skynet to Sharp Eyes on Jun 14, 2018
China is expanding its video surveillance network to achieve “100%” nationwide coverage by 2020, including facial recognition capabilities and a...
French National Police Buy 10,400 Hikvision Body Cameras on May 31, 2018
France’s national police forces bought 10,400 Hikvision body cameras earlier this year, in a high-profile deal that’s coming into effect as the...
Amazon Enters Home Security Services on Apr 26, 2018
Move over ADT? It is certainly what investors have feared for ADT, especially since Amazon acquired Ring. [Update: We spoke with Amazon and have...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined on Jun 22, 2018
When it comes to low light, infrared light has become the defacto standard in surveillance. But IR is limited to monochrome images, making colors...
'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

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