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

Massive Leak Of Chinese VMS Provider Exposes Xinjiang Surveillance on Feb 20, 2019
A subsidiary of China’s claimed largest VMS provider is tracking the precise location and ethnicity of millions in China’s Xinjiang region,...
Austria’s First GDPR Fine Is For Video Surveillance on Jan 29, 2019
Should EU businesses be concerned if police see a business' surveillance cameras filming public areas? This is what happened with Austria’s first...
Mobile Surveillance Trailers Guide on Jan 17, 2019
Putting cameras in a place for temporary surveillance where power and communications are not readily available can be complicated and expensive....
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
Infinova's Xinjiang Business Examined on Dec 07, 2018
As pressure mounts for companies to stop doing business in China’s Xinjiang region amid a severe human rights crisis, IPVM has found Infinova sold...
ADT Wins Fire Death Suit But Faces Appeal on Dec 05, 2018
ADT/Protection 1 has won a wrongful death court case in which it was sued by the estate of a deceased customer. However, the attorney for the...
Evidence of Dahua's Involvement In Xinjiang Surveillance on Nov 28, 2018
IPVM adds new details about Dahua’s activities in Xinjiang, a Chinese region where mass surveillance used to facilitate grave human rights...
Pressure Mounts Against Dahua and Hikvision Xinjiang Business on Nov 19, 2018
Pressure is mounting against Hikvision, Dahua, and other companies operating in Xinjiang as an international outcry brews against the Chinese...
Directory of Access Control and Intrusion Startups on Oct 30, 2018
This directory catalogs access control and intrusion detection startups IPVM has found noteworthy. The directory is provided for your review to...
IACP 2018 Police Show Final Report on Oct 08, 2018
IPVM went to Orlando to cover the 2018 IACP conference, the country's largest police show (about as big as ASIS), examining the 700+...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Outdoor Camera Mounting Hardware Guide on Feb 21, 2019
Mounting cameras outdoors can be challenging, requiring understanding different types of equipment and methods. In this guide, we teach this...
HID Favorability Results 2019 on Feb 21, 2019
HID favorability results were strong, in the 2019 IPVM integrator study of 200+ integrators, with a net +62% and low negativity as the table below...
First US State, Vermont, Bans Dahua and Hikvision on Feb 21, 2019
The first US state, Vermont, has issued a ban on a number of Chinese and Russian manufacturers including the world's 2 largest video surveillance...
ADI 'SAVE BIG' On FLIR And Hikvision Examined on Feb 20, 2019
One is a major US defense supplier. The other is owned by the Chinese government. But you can "SAVE BIG" on both at ADI. In this note, we...
BluB0x Company Profile on Feb 20, 2019
BluB0x has doubled in revenue every year since its founding in 2013, according to CEO Patrick Barry. We originally reported on them in 2015. At the...
Security Installation Tools Guide - 22 Tools Listed on Feb 19, 2019
In this guide, we cover 22 tools that security installers frequently use. This is one part of our upcoming Video Surveillance...
Sales Cuts At Rasilient on Feb 19, 2019
Over the past 2 years, video surveillance storage specialist Rasilient has expanded its workforce significantly, aiming to build its own branded...
Exacq Raises VMS Software Pricing Twice in Less Than a Year on Feb 18, 2019
Most VMSes regularly release new features, but rarely increase their prices. For the 3rd time in 4 years, and 2nd time in 8 months, since being...
Axis IR Multi Imager Camera Tested (P3717-PLE) on Feb 18, 2019
Axis has released their first IR multi imager, the P3717-PLE, a repositionable model listing 360° IR illumination and flexible positioning,...

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