The Value of Municipal Security Solutions

From design challenges to what to do with all that video, a primer on municipal surveillance

Networked video systems can help law enforcement personnel maintain command and control during emergency situations and can aid in effective criminal apprehension. These systems provide better situational awareness and provide comprehensive access to data generated by disparate alarm systems and other surveillance systems typically present in an urban environment. By integrating all of this information with video data, automatic actions can be triggered to support established security procedures, including adjusting camera angles, video recording rates and quality levels, locking access control doors and raising barriers. To ensure integration of a networked video solution with other municipal security systems, it must be built on open standards that allow for seamless communication between all security systems within an urban environment.

In addition, as an incident unfolds, security personnel need the ability to track activity across a number of different camera views. Since cameras in municipal environments are often spread across city blocks, networked video solutions can employ a method called "scene stitching." Scene stitching involves combining the images from many cameras, spread across expansive locations, in real time to compose a single wide format view. Scene stitching is crucial when the area being observed includes multiple city blocks. By allowing the user to view a mosaic image in a seamless single view, law enforcement and security personnel can identify, track and address an assortment of subjects (people, vehicles) over a wide area, without losing a line of sight.

Finally, as an incident is occurring within an urban environment, a networked video solution must be capable of communicating with external systems in order to distribute valuable information to the people that need it most. By integrating with external systems, relevant data and video footage can be streamed in real time to emergency management and response centers and federal and state law enforcement. This level of visibility ensures that appropriate resources are deployed in response to the emergency while reducing reaction time; both crucial steps in mitigating risk in an emergency situation.

Facilitating Criminal Investigations

Following a crime or emergency situation, law enforcement personnel need to rapidly understand what occurred and collaborate with other departments to share this intelligence. A sophisticated networked video solution helps law enforcement reduce the time required to sift through thousands of hours of video to identify what's important to an investigation, and then to package that information for the proper investigative personnel. With the right solution, gathering case-related audio, video, and data from an array of cameras and systems is as easy as searching within one database.

Intelligence gleaned from post-event investigations can also be incorporated when revising law enforcement policies and procedures. So threat detection emergency management and forensic investigation can become a closed loop process that enhances the overall effectiveness of security programs and policies.

In conclusion, a robust, open and comprehensive networked video solution can significantly enhance situational awareness for municipalities, positioning them to more effectively deter crime and promote a safe environment for people and commerce.

About the author: Mariann McDonagh is executive vice president of global marketing for video surveillance solutions and analytics company Verint Systems.

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