With a city-wide HD surveillance system connecting the two organizations, the City of Selma can ensure greater coverage and overall protection across the municipality. "Now, if the SPD receives a report from GWC, officers can review the surveillance footage in real-time to determine what resources are needed before dispatching an officer," says Lola Rogers, SHA director. "The result is faster and more effective crime management and prevention."
The city has been impressed with the day/night image clarity and zooming capabilities of the surveillance system. "We can see minute detail - including license plate numbers - from more than 100 feet."
According to Wiley and Rogers, the surveillance system is user-friendly, making it easy to achieve maximum results. "We simply have to click and point to operate the system and find what we are looking for, and switching from camera to camera is straightforward," Rogers says.
Adds Wiley: "Investigators love using the system to track an incident onsite or at GWC. If we get a report from GWC or the surrounding area, the first thing we do now is check the footage." The SPD rarely reviewed surveillance footage for investigative purposes previously because it was not reliable - one month it would be operational, and the next it would be down.
Because the system is so much easier to manage, maintenance costs have also been reduced. "If our former system failed, we would have to send the old CPU out for maintenance, so we would often be without the system for weeks," Wiley says.
Large Drop in Criminal Activity
"GWC tenants know that they are being monitored, so criminal activity has declined since we installed the system," says Rogers, who tracks criminal activity at GWC by the number of reports she receives each week from the SPD. "Before installing the system, we would receive 40 reports each week. Now, we are down to less than 10 a week - a 75 percent drop in criminal activity."
In addition, SPD officers and staff feel much more secure at work since the new system was deployed. "Anxiety levels have dropped, especially on court day when traffic increases, because staff know that we can easily capture and review footage if an incident does occur," Wiley says.
Looking ahead, the City will develop new resources and build new facilities to further enrich the living and tourist experience.
"We plan to deploy the surveillance system in all public places, including our new waterfront park, walking trails, downtown and our schools to better protect and secure our entire community," Wiley says. The SPD is also rolling out a mobile computing platform to its 54 officers that will give them access to surveillance footage on laptops from any location.
City of Selma residents and visitors alike understand and appreciate the effort the City has made to preserve their safety.
"We can't eliminate the criminal element entirely," Evans says. "But [now] we have the tools to accurately identify suspects and successfully convict them, reducing crime and ultimately preventing the risk of repeat offences for better overall community protection."