City of New Orleans Launches High-Tech Assault on Crime

Crescent City deploys IP network camera system to help fight crime; cameras can be viewed from patrol vehicles

The City of New Orleans is employing a new, high-tech approach to fighting crime by deploying a network of IP-based cameras citywide to provide infrastructure protection and increased crime fighting capability.

When conceiving ideas for a solution to fight crime and boost security for the City, officials tapped into many different technologies, selecting Sony Electronics' SNC-RZ30N cameras as the "eyes" of the system, and then incorporating the latest in networking, wireless communications, telecommunications and fiber optics.

"Leveraging cutting-edge technology to find creative, cost effective solutions has been a top priority in my administration," said Mayor C. Ray Nagin. "With this system in place, it will be like virtual police patrolling our streets, deterring and fighting crime."

The Sony cameras are configured into systems that are mounted high on power poles above city streets, and have the power to pan, tilt and zoom to help police identify and apprehend criminals. Many of these cameras are currently watching over crime "hot spots" throughout the Sixth Police District in New Orleans.

These powerful IP cameras can read a license plate from hundreds of feet away, and feature remote-controlled pan/tilt/zoom, a 25X optical zoom lens, day/night and wireless capabilities. Images captured on the street are digitized and sent via the city's network to a main server archive for Internet-based monitoring from any location -- whether it's police headquarters or a patrol vehicle.

"Camera technology from Sony has continued to advance to provide amazingly clear, crisp, quality images," said Phil Whitebloom, director of Business Development for Government and Education for Sony Electronics Inc. "Those advances coupled with high-quality Internet and broadband capabilities make for a surveillance system which allows law enforcement to see detail that could never be seen before."

The New Orleans surveillance camera project is expected to be fully deployed by the end of the year, and will be one of the largest in the country.

Cameras "Walk a Beat"
With their pan/tilt/zoom capability, the SNC-RZ30N cameras can be programmed to, in effect, walk a beat just like a police officer walks a beat on the street. The camera can be programmed to capture wide angle shots down a street or to capture close-up shots of people and vehicles. They can even zoom in to deliver crisp, clear images of vehicle license plates.

"The surveillance cameras are virtual police officers out on the street corners in high-crime areas," said Detective Mike Carambat of the New Orleans Police Department. "When we investigate a crime captured by the surveillance cameras, those cameras become a cop who has already done a greater part of the investigation,"

According to Detective Carambat, another advantage of the Sony cameras is that the clear images captured by these cameras make the perfect witness, providing identification-quality images that will hold up as evidence in court.

"One of the greatest challenges in police work is getting victims and witnesses to cooperate with an investigation all the way through to prosecution," said Carambat. "These surveillance cameras give us the perfect witness -- a witness that will never tell a lie, has total recall and will always cooperate with the police throughout the investigation and prosecution."

New Technologies Make It Possible
Recent advancements in the types of technologies used in this solution are what made it possible for the City of New Orleans to deploy this ambitious and innovative citywide security project.

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