Security Innovation Awards Gold Medal: Taino Towers security project showcases collaborative success

Crime moves out of Harlem low-income housing complex with high-tech video surveillance solution

The intelligent recognition analytic is so accurate and fast that it is able to unlock a door with in-motion identification from 10-12 feet away in less than 1.5 seconds under normal lighting. SafeRise can be coupled with a criminal database to deny entrance to anyone on the do-not-allow list and automatically notify the NYPD of their current whereabouts. In addition, the system can help management ferret out illegal subtenants and criminals living in the building.

The FST21 SafeRise in-motion identification system has proved to be a preventive solution. Some other key benefits include:

  • Banned tenants are no longer allowed access
  • No one can lend their keys to unauthorized personnel or guests
  • No one can enter premises without a facial image capture
  • If desired, parents are sent an SMS or email with an image attached when their children arrive home safely
  • Traffic flow is electronically measured to better staff security throughout the week

This last phase took eight months -- totaling a year and a half for the entire project implementation.


Crime No Longer an Unwanted Amenity

The Taino Towers management team has been extremely impressed with the state-of-the-art technology deployments selected as well as how effective the system has proved to be in protecting their residents and property.

The system’s overall ease of use has also been key to providing the security staff and the NYPD with instant access to live video and evidence. The high-quality, usable video captured by the integration of Axis cameras, Genetec software and FST21 detection system has led to a dramatic increase in arrests in one of the most criminally active areas of the City. More importantly, Taino Towers has become a safer and more secure community. The new surveillance system has played a vital role in helping police solve incidents, including a fatal stabbing, armed robbery, and destruction of personal property. Specifically in July 2012, a gunman was apprehended in less than an hour as a direct result of the video surveillance system

Even if the system encounters technical problems or the cameras are damaged or tampered with, alerts are automatically sent to Plugout for immediate investigation and issues have been resolved within very short time periods thanks to the remote health monitoring ability of the systems.

The Taino Towers security project has allowed law enforcement to not only identify the criminals, but also have enough clear evidence to make arrests. The new word out at Taino Towers is, “If seen on camera, then you are caught on camera”. This is a far cry from the old analog solutions where facial identification was impossible and most incidents failed to be resolved.

The Taino Towers project combines some of the security industry’s most cutting-edge technologies. The seamless combination of these technologies has been credited with successfully eliminating crime up to 90 percent, according to the District Attorney’s Office.


Exceeding Expectations

While crime prevention/reduction was the number one priority as the system was being planned and implemented, one unforeseen benefit has been the operational efficiencies gained by using the IP system to manage the 50-person staff. Axis megapixel and PTZ cameras with the Genetec software have allowed the Taino Towers management to:

  • Improve staff effectiveness by tracking unusual activity from the central base while simultaneously dispatching patrols if necessary
  • Maximize staff scheduling
  • Train staff when mistakes are made
  • Hold staff accountable if errors occur
  • Verify time clock punch ins/outs

The reduction in crime in and around the Taino Towers has been so dramatic that the DA’s office says they would love to see the system expanded another 10-15 blocks to further reduce crime and help apprehend criminals.


Seeing Is Believing

There was one specific incident where the capabilities even shocked the systems integrator. Plugout installed a 5 MP / 1080p HDTV quality AXIS P3367-E camera on the 35th floor of each tower. One day, through the pouring rain from 1,000 feet away, one of the cameras clearly captured a small 10-pound dumbbell being thrown from a window of a 23rd floor apartment of an adjacent tower. The dumbbell plummeted 20 stories and crashed through the roof of Touro College and into a classroom. Though the building sustained damage, no students were present at the time.