The security week that was: 05/14/10

Putting the 3 P's into practice

These days, the words on the lips of many security directors and law enforcement professionals are "public-private partnerships" – the three P's. And a lot of them are taking that to heart. Go to any local chapter meeting of ASIS International and you'll get the sense that there is a great collaborative approach. Talk to Martin Cramer, the director of public safety operations for Downtown Dallas Inc., and you'll hear that reducing urban crime took a collaborative approach. You'll hear the same from David Wardell, public safety director for the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, where private industry helps fund a monitored city crime camera system.

Wardell spoke in-depth on this topic as part of last week's webinar "Municipal Surveillance Solutions", which is now archived and available for viewing on One of the things that Wardell spoke about was obtaining permission to access private institutions' outdoor/street-facing surveillance cameras. He said that has been made easier by the overall move to IP video surveillance, but that it still takes time to establish partnerships and develop memorandums of understanding (MOUs).

On a similar note, I was reading a story this morning from Corona, Calif., where the police dispatch center is obtaining permission from business owners to access their web-connected video surveillance cameras. The dispatch center would be able to access these cameras in the event of a crime report or break-in. Apparently the uptake on this service has been slow, with less than a dozen businesses providing the dispatch center access, but it's a sign of greater possibilities for public-private partnerships. Apparently key hold-ups have been the legal document the city uses for its MOU, and the fact that many businesses aren't using systems which can accommodate remote access (older DVRs and certainly VCRs wouldn't support this, for example). But they're still hopeful. Even if the businesses aren't comfortable allowing police dispatch access to video feeds, they might be more comfortable with allowing a monitoring firm to provide this service for them (and which will relay information to police).

NYC bemoans drop in DHS grants for transit, ports
Bloomberg plans a "Ring of Steel" surveillance project for Manhattan

Just two weeks after an attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square, the city's leaders received quite a shocker when they learned that the Department of Homeland Security was planning funding cuts for New York's port and transit security programs. The money comes in the form of grants, and will go from $153 million in 2009 to $110 million this year. That news comes as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg returns from a trip to London where he inspected that city's transit video surveillance/CCTV system. Bloomberg and New York's leaders are planning a "Ring of Steel" video surveillance project for Manhattan that would add some 3,000 cameras. And while the bomb attempt wasn't in the ports or on transit, it's clear that New York City is THE target for terrorism, and a proper security program means continued investment for the city's streets, buses, trains, ports, airports and other key infrastructure. There's no word yet on whether the cries from New York leaders will do anything to change the DHS grant budgets.

Brink's/Broadview acquisition by Tyco/ADT closes
Merger makes biggest electronic security company even bigger

Expect to see a lot more ADT signs around town. Tyco announced this morning that it has closed on the acquisition of Brink's Home Security/Broadview Security. That means ADT will have over 6 million accounts in North America. Wow. Look for an update next week, since Tyco/ADT has scheduled a press briefing Monday.

In other news
In memoriam for Steve Welsh, plus some hot technology stories

We sadly report the passing of Steve Welsh, the vice president of corporate services at Stanley Convergent Security Solutions (he formerly had worked with Tyco/ADT and HSM Electronic Protection. ... Want to be blown away by technology? Then check out some details on a cutting-edge, real-time wireless video surveillance project for Mumbai's metro which is designed to seamlessly transmit live video to a command center even as the trains speed by at up to 50 mph. ... Want another snap-shot of hot technology in action? Point yourself over to FLIR's website where you can see images FLIR cameras have taken of the Gulf Coast oil spill. ... Plan for these events: 1) PSA-Tec, 2) ESX, and 3) SIW's webinar on airport security contracting best practices.