Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown came into office in 2006 pledging to reduce his cityâ€™s crime rate. Today, two years later, city police are using a wireless video surveillance system that goes well beyond traditional security cameras. The rapidly deployable, real-time video surveillance solution from Firetide and Avrio Group helped police make their first five arrests while the installation was still in progress. The suspects were caught on camera burglarizing a convenience store just ten hours after the police camera was installed nearby.
"The response to this program has been positive from day one as citizens have seen an immediate impact from it," said Mayor Brown. "We plan to expand the system with 40 additional cameras by the end of the year."
The city has received more than 50 calls from Buffalo citizens requesting cameras on their street corners. Other municipalities that have publicly announced installations of Firetide wireless surveillance networks include Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Los Angeles County.
"Any police department in the country considering video surveillance should ask themselves why not go wireless," said Police Capt. Mark Makowski, Buffalo Police Department. "Iâ€™m convinced it is the way of the future. With a wireless network, we can put cameras where they are most needed, and itâ€™s a capability that most cities and police departments can afford."
Buffaloâ€™s new system allows the police department to be more proactive instead of responding reactively to 9-1-1 calls. Additionally, police officers are better prepared when approaching a situation because an officer operating the network camera provides details about exactly what is occurring at that particular scene.
In its initial request for bids, Buffalo requested:
â€¢ The ability to read license plates from 200 yards away.
â€¢ Evidence-grade, real-time video (high-resolution streaming video at 30 frames per second).
â€¢ Wind- and weather-proofing, and good performance in low lighting.
â€¢ Flexibility to add and move cameras in the future.
The current system consists of 56 Avrio Rapid Deployment Surveillance Solution PoleCams â€“ portable units that integrate Axis network cameras and Firetide wireless mesh nodes in a weatherized enclosure â€“ plus 37 additional Firetide nodes for infrastructure connectivity. All PoleCams have been installed in overt locations with blue lights and police branding. Some of the cameras are pan-tilt-zoom network cameras that operators can control remotely. The video is monitored by members of the police force who are temporarily unable to patrol the streets, such as injured or pregnant officers. Funding for the current deployment came from the state of New Yorkâ€™s Efficiency Grants.
"We knew Firetideâ€™s network would have to be the core of this system since we need a lot of bandwidth to run evidence-grade video," said Mark Jules, president, business development and strategic planning, Avrio Group. "Together with Axis, Firetide and OnSSI, we are able to serve a growing number of American cities, both large and small, that are discovering how wireless video surveillance can be an effective weapon to fight crime."