Surveillance cameras play an important role in port security

An increasing number of the nation’s largest seaports are adding video surveillance to protect precious cargo, monitor access and deter thieves. The San Francisco-area Port of Richmond has installed a security system that has already made a positive impact on security. To read more about the installation go here.

Terrorism, theft and vandalism are major concerns for ports—vital points of entry and storage for everything from chemicals to cars and keeping it all secure can be a complicated challenge. To meet the challenge, the Port Authority at the Port of Richmond (Calif.), one of the country’s largest ports, has installed security cameras from ADT.

Authorities chose a wireless mesh system to avoid the cost and logistical challenge of trenching around the 15-terminal port. The security system includes 82 IP (Internet protocol) video cameras that monitor approximately 15 square miles of the port for exceptions like large crowds and loiterers, a person hopping a fence, leaving a bag behind or someone falling down.

If the analytic software detects a possible security breach, an on-screen alert pops up to warn security staff to monitor video footage. Video is transmitted via BelAir Networks wireless mesh network and data is routed through mesh nodes to the port administration building, where it is analyzed. Here port security can also use full pan-and-tilt cameras to zoom in on intruders or suspicious activity.

The port is owned by the City of Richmond. The security system went “live” in May and Richmond’s city manager Bill Lindsay has already noticed a decrease in crime, vandalism and illegal dumping in the area as the ‘bad guys’ get word of the new system.

The system’s early success has Port Authority officials looking to expand with a second phase that could include the ability to transmit video signals from the port’s cameras directly to monitors and laptops inside police cars.