9 urban security and video technology lessons from Secured Cities

Training insights on technology-based policing using video surveillance


A week ago, we concluded the Secured Cities conference in Chicago, Ill. The conference brings together law enforcement and technology leaders from urban areas, cities, towns and transit agencies for two days of education about topics such as using police crime cameras, creating transit-wide surveillance systems, homeland security, technology-based policing and more. In this week's blog post, I want to share a few take-aways from the conference to the broader security industry.

The conference has been my project for a couple years now, having founded it in Atlanta in 2011, and it’s continued to grow – far beyond its initial focus solely on city video surveillance (although that is still a dominant topic at the conference). As conference director, I have the luxury of dropping in on many of the seminars from speakers like Baltimore Lt. Hood (a speaker for a webinar on urban security technology integation next week – register today), Chicago OEMC’s Ruben Madrigal (an amazing technology leader and public safety visionary), and the Urban Institute’s Dr. Nancy La Vigne (who found an ROI of more than 4:1 for Chicago’s video system!). There are so many jewels of knowledge surrounding video technology, CBRNE, policing effectiveness, but here are nine that were iterated again and again in the seminars:

  1. Management of urban security technology today means linking a high number of disparate systems.
  2. If you solve one crime or prevent one crime, you will see cascading benefits.
  3. Look for new opportunities for funding urban security and municipal video surveillance because the former sources are shrinking and are becoming highly sought after (for great tips check out Deb O’Mara’s write-up on the seminar from National Public Safety Foundation’s Mark Jules).
  4. Different systems have different needs and different cities have different needs. There is no cookie-cutter approach to municipal security technology.
  5. Cooperate and share resources. The continued message was that if you are not doing this, 1) you won’t get the funding you request and 2) you are setting yourself up for political failure.
  6. In the Jones (GPS) case, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that video surveillance is now ubiquitous. This subtle determination could have lasting impacts on privacy rulings as they related to municipal video surveillance.
  7. The proliferation of thousands of video surveillance cameras is exceeding our ability to do live monitoring, and is creating a resurging interest in and applications for video content analytics.
  8. Just like in the corporate security world, IT and physical security are starting to merge in terms of how they are managed and who manages them.
  9. Video surveillance is no longer a “nice to have” for officers; it’s becoming a necessity.

We’re moving forward. We will host our fall Secured Cities conference in Philadelphia (Oct. 10-11), and are adding a “Secured Campus” component for law enforcement and security teams associated with K-12 and university security/policing. The Secured Transit component returns as well. The call for papers is open now until June 1st on the SecuredCities.com website, and if you’d like to see some of the great content from Secured Cities, watch next week’s webinar with the Baltimore Police Department -- which I promise will open your eyes in terms of what you can do with urban video surveillance integration.