COPENHAGEN – 8 April 2010. The city of Ursus just outside Warsaw, Poland, has lowered crime with the help of surveillance from Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software. XProtect Enterprise software manages 300 network cameras from Axis Communications to protect schools, nurseries, parks and government buildings.
Ursus is a district of Warsaw located just west of the city. This suburb has a population of almost 50,000 with an average population density that is much higher than that of Warsaw with almost 6,000 residents per square kilometer. Vandalism used to plague the educational institutions such as schools and nurseries, as well as the parks in this busy suburb. Ursus authorities decided to introduce a video monitoring system to provide public security and the ability to react faster to such incidents.
The local authorities in Ursus wanted to invest in an upgradeable video surveillance solution that can be easily modernized and expanded, and it had to integrate with previously installed hardware. One priority was to monitor 8 schools and 7 nurseries, where it is planned to provide public access to the cameras installed in those locations via local cable TV. The second priority was the installation of cameras in the parks. Video monitoring has also extended to the local authority building and its perimeter.
Various solutions, both analog and digital, were trialled before a decision was made; both set-up costs and open-ended system structure were determined for the design. Based on experts’ opinions, TCP/IP-based monitoring was the final winner. Approximately 300 Axis cameras are now controlled by Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video management software, and the video data is recorded and stored on local servers. The system runs on a fiber network, as well as copper-based and external wireless transmission.
"Application of TCP/IP network infrastructure has opened new venues for the computer networks already in place. In many cases, a minor upgrade to a network replaced the need for serious expenditure to create new infrastructure. System modularity and scalability combined with technological progress ensured by Milestone was the factor that swayed us in favor of this video monitoring solution with data storage and online/offline viewing," said Stefan Zaja, the Head of the Organizational Division for the Ursus district of Warsaw. "It is easy to re-set the configuration parameters of the system by adding new hardware devices and moving the cameras as current needs arise."
After the system was installed, the number of cases of criminal damages and theft was reduced, and access to the recordings provides the evidence for fast resolution of incidents.
Prevention and prosecution
The total number of IP cameras installed across Ursus is approximately 300. The majority of these are fixed, uni-directional cameras, but where necessary rotational ones were also installed with Pan/Tilt/Zoom. Some megapixel cameras have been installed, as well; they were chosen for their very high image quality, required for personal identification and licence plate recognition.
The surveillance cameras, apart from the monitoring functions, have proven to give a preventive effect – the knowledge that one is being watched and recorded is often a deterrent. The net effect is a reduction in crime and offence rates. When incidents do happen, high-quality recording is used as evidence in court. Ursus today is proud to have one of the lowest crime rates per 100,000 residents of all Warsaw districts. This figure stands for both minor offences and serious crimes.
Based on a central Milestone application implemented in Ursus (the system owner is the Warsaw City Hall), local surveillance "islands" were built. They cover the nurseries, schools, other community facilities and public buildings. They are then linked to the municipal monitoring system, managed from the central location and shared with other users, such as the municipal police. It is planned to link the Ursus survellance system to the Warsaw-wide municipal monitoring system.
"Milestone software is perfectly suited for such integration, as it is compatible with cameras by various vendors, including the analog ones that have already been installed in the Warsaw area," says Waldemar Szylar, the Board Director of Mirare, the company responsible for the implementation of Milestone XProtect. "Through its open platform design, Milestone is very flexible. It is possible to enhance the video monitoring system by adding analytics software with new features, such as people counting, detection of abandoned luggage, or automatic identification of road traffic offences like parking or moving violations."