Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Video of Wal-Mart Fire Released

A Wal-Mart store in Palm Coast, FL caught fire last weekend, and police believe it was no accident. On Tuesday, investigators released a surveillance video to the public. The video shows a male suspect walking into the store, followed by a woman who was apparently with him, and another woman in a wheelchair. All three were seen near the store’s sporting goods section moments before the fire ignited in that area. According to witnesses, heat from the flames caused a small propane tank to explode.
By releasing the surveillance video to the public, police are hoping the identities of the suspects will be revealed. They are offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to an arrest.
Read more and view the video at…

Friday, March 2, 2007

Surveillance Cameras Capture Elderly Woman’s DMV Crash

Running into trouble and frustration at the local DMV is not uncommon. Workers are notoriously gruff, and the lines are long. It was an entirely different set of circumstances however, that provided the misery at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Deerfield Beach, FL recently. And it happened on Valentine’s Day. The unfortunate incident involved an 80-year-old woman who accidentally rammed her car through the office wall, injuring eleven people in the process. CCTV video cameras captured footage of the incident. The surveillance video has been released to the public. A careless driving charge has been filed against the driver, who authorities say inadvertently stepped on the gas while pulling out of a parking space. Thankfully, this didn’t happen during her driving test.
Go here to view the CCTV video footage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

North CarolinaTown Debating over Public Surveillance

Residents and city council members of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, are currently divided over whether to install public surveillance cameras in the surrounding area. An increase in crimes, including prostitution and robberies, have raised concern among residents and business owners. Cameras would record activities on public streets, and although they could read license plates from up to 500 yards away, would not record activities within homes. Advocates of the surveillance cameras say that because they are recording activities on public property, they are not an invasion of privacy. Still, many residents and councilmen oppose the installation, saying the nearly $200,000 in projected costs could be used to hire more police officers and implement active security measures.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

North Texas Traffic Cameras Met with High Approval

A survey of residents from Hurst, TX has shown that the installation of traffic cameras in the North Texas town have been met with overwhelming approval. Approximately 82% of residents surveyed say that they like the presence of the cameras at major intersections, and were a popular topic of discussion during the a phone survey which was conducted to gather opinions about new town ordinances.


Friday, February 2, 2007

Transit Surveillance Pays Off

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has announced that a system of 450 surveillance cameras aboard local rail lines have greatly helped reduce crime on board. Originally an anti-terrorism measure, the cameras have also grown to become a valuable resource for transit police for pursuing suspected criminals. In 2005 alone, the MBTA transit police observed more than 200 attempted robberies, and have been able to suspect traits gleaned from the footage to help in the pursuit of the criminals. Most recently, a man suspected of robbing a passenger at gunpoint has been successfully identified and charged thanks to the surveillance footage.

Read more at The Boston Globe...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Video Analytics - The Future?

There's a lot of chatter about video analytics, that revolutionary security camera feature that will change CCTV and IP surveillance as we know it. But how does video analytics actually work? What actually can a camera with video analytics do?

Video analytics systems consist of cameras programmed with specific analytics software. Algorithms in each piece of analytics software analyze a security camera's footage pixel-by-pixel for certain specific features (e.g. facial recognition, motion detection, etc). Ultimately, the completed security system is composed of layers of different video analytics algorithms. This hodgepodge construction means that unlike other security cameras, IP cameras with video analytics are completely customizable.

An analytics system works much like a standard IP security camera system. Wireless digital IP cameras would be configured and networked together, all transmitting their footage back to a main control room. Footage would be broadcast over a computer, and recorded onto a digital video recorder (DVR) or a network video recorder (NVR). However, when the algorithms in the surveillance camera detect a certain characteristic or action, the cameras or the security software notify an operator who can investigate the situation further. In non-analytics systems, footage must be constantly monitored for suspicious behaviors. This difference is key, and circumvents a crucial problem with security camera monitoring - short attention spans of security guards.

Let's say you manage a large water treatment plant. Your see your main threat as an attack or infiltration on your storage tanks . A large amount of poison or other insidious chemical in a water supply could spell disaster for a local population. Your security guards do a good job, but you want to bring more flexibility to their job and make your whole facility more secure. Replacing your old analog CCTV system with IP cameras enabled with video analytics could afford you many secure advantages. A camera with video analytics enabled with motion detection capabilities with a built-in notification feature could notify your security guards when the camera detects a presence near a certain area. Instead of having to watch the cameras constantly, this would allow security guards to perform foot patrols and do other duties.

An analytics camera could also help with your filtration process. Many industrial processes are delicately balanced and require precision in their execution in order to maintain safety and produce a quality product. Video analytics cameras can be programmed with a time tracking feature, which could monitor the amount of time that water or sewage is in a certain stage of processing. The possibilities are endless.

One area where video analytics promises to extremely popular is airport security. Airports must screen thousands of people each day for threats of terrorism or violence. Security cameras enabled with analytics algorithms that identify known supsicious behaviors could be used in conjunction with human security guards to extend the security dragnet and prevent any suspicious party from entering a terminal, baggage area, or tarmack. Busy airports around the world are already starting to use rudimentary video analytics programs to help enhance their existing security systems.

Analytics' versatile capabilities are being touted as security solutions for almost every industry. Indeed, if the predictions are true, the widespread use video analytics will be an industry-changing advance that could revolutionize security as we know it. Time and technology are analytics' sole predictors, and the passage of both will reveal video analytics' true potential.

Monday, January 15, 2007

High School Installs Parking Lot Surveillance

After pressure from parent groups, Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon has announced that two security cameras will be installed in the student parking lot. Although no cameras are to be installed in other district schools, it is hoped that the security cameras will enhance the security of the parking lot and prevent the spread of vandalism and theft. Administrators have stressed that the cameras are only being installed to maintain the safety of students and their possessions, especially when extra-curricular activities run late.

Read more at the Lake Oswego Review…