Small City Video Surveillance Cases Examined

By: 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 [link no longer available] 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 : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

The Future of H.266 For Video Surveillance Examined on Aug 17, 2020
First H.264, now H.265, is H.266 next? H.266 was recently announced amid...
Video Analytics 101 on Mar 16, 2020
This guide teaches the fundamentals of video surveillance...
The US Fight Over Facial Recognition Explained on Jul 08, 2020
The controversy around facial recognition has grown significantly in 2020,...
Sony 61MP Surveillance Sensor Examined on Sep 04, 2020
For a decade, the highest resolution single-imager surveillance cameras have...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Directory Of 150 Video Analytics Suppliers on Dec 17, 2019
This directory provides a list of video analytics providers to help you see...
Integrated IR Camera Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 30, 2020
The best and worst cameras tested in this IPVM shootout showed major...
AI Video Surveillance (Finally) Goes Mainstream In 2020 on Sep 03, 2019
While video surveillance analytics has been promoted, hyped and lamented for...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive...
The Booming Multi-Billion Coronavirus Fever Camera Market on Apr 21, 2020
The market for elevated body temperature detection cameras, aka 'coronavirus...
Sunell Panda Cam Body Temperature Measurement Camera Tested on May 14, 2020
Sunell is far less well known than its gargantuan domestic competitors Dahua...
AVTech ~$70 IP Cameras Tested Vs Dahua and Hikvision on Dec 04, 2019
Taiwanese manufacturer Avtech is taking direct aim at low cost leaders Dahua...
Video Surveillance History on May 06, 2020
The video surveillance market has changed significantly since 2000, going...

Recent Reports

New Products Show Fall 2020 continues tomorrow with Genetec, Milestone, Avigilon, Microsoft and more! on Sep 29, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show continues tomorrow and will feature New Products...
Avigilon / Motorola VS Virtual ISC West on Sep 29, 2020
ISC West has historically been so dominant that no player would think of...
Dartmouth College Deploys K3 Temperature Screening on Sep 29, 2020
While Dartmouth College has a $6+ billion endowment, the College has bought...
Hanwha AI Object Detection Tested on Sep 28, 2020
Hanwha has added detection and classification of people, cars, clothing...
Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2020 on Sep 28, 2020
200+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management...
OnTech Smart Services Partners With Google and Amazon To Compete With Integrators on Sep 25, 2020
A pain point for many homeowners to use consumer security and surveillance is...
The Future of Metalens For Video Surveillance Cameras - MIT / UMass / Immervision on Sep 25, 2020
Panoramic cameras using 'fisheye' lens have become commonplace in video...
Hikvision Sues Over Brazilian Airport Loss on Sep 24, 2020
Hikvision was excluded from a Brazilian airport project because it is owned...
China General Chamber of Commerce Calls Out US Politics on Sep 24, 2020
While US-China relations are at an all-time low, optimism about relations...
Verkada Disruptive Embedded Live Help on Sep 24, 2020
Call up your integrator? Have someone come by the next day? Verkada is...
IP Networking Course Fall 2020 - Last Chance - Register Now on Sep 23, 2020
Today is the last chance to register for the only IP networking course...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 23, 2020
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet...
Norway Council of Ethics Finds Hikvision Human Rights Abuses "Ongoing" on Sep 23, 2020
Hikvision's involvement in "serious human rights abuse" in Xinjiang is...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Sep 23, 2020
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The...