Page 48 - Security Today, September/October 2021
P. 48

Safer Cities
As populations increase so do the complexity of challenges related to crime, traffic and more
By Adam Lowenstein
Alot has changed in cities around the globe in the last few years. According to the United States Census Bureau, population densities across the United States continue to shift from larger es- tablished metropolitan areas to smaller cities and into the suburbs. This is increasing the number of urban centers with sizeable populations.
As the numbers of new arrivals continue to increase in these locations, so do the number and complexity of challenges they face relative to crime, traffic, municipal services, public schools and housing. These are all longstanding issues that often drive people to relocate and are now emerging across an even larger number of cities and municipalities.
Fortunately, more cities continue to implement new advanced technologies to collect data for applications ranging from law en- forcement, traffic and crowd control to environmental manage- ment, public services and operations management. With the con- tinued deployment of advanced software management platforms and intelligent edge devices, data is being collected and processed from a myriad of public and private sources.
Integrated physical security systems continue to be one of the most efficient and effective ways to achieve wide-area situ- ational awareness. In fact, many locations around the world have followed the early examples set by cities such as London or New York, where cameras provide coverage of areas that would oth- erwise require on-site personnel to observe events and behaviors.
Breakthroughs in physical security systems, such as integrated video and access management platforms, cameras with artificial intelligence (AI), and mobility solutions like in-vehicle camera systems and body-worn cameras, continue to revolutionize the way cities protect and serve the public. In addition to greatly in- creasing overall security and safety, these systems are providing new sources of data to enhance public services and the quality of life for residents.
The quantity and quality of video cameras deployed plays a huge factor in their collective effectiveness. When properly deployed across a centralized surveillance network, public officials effectively and easily monitor even the largest and busiest municipalities. Internet protocol (IP) video has become more affordable than ever and is the best option for installing a new system or upgrading an existing one.
Having a robust, extensive security camera network feeding into a centralized command center provides greater visibility of potential trouble and increases the ability to respond quickly and appropriately. An enterprise-grade VMS can support thousands of IP cameras with an unlimited number of authorized clients able to access live and recorded footage across the network.
Video analytics, whether embedded at the edge or implement-
“... many locations around the world have followed the early examples set by cities such as London or New York, where cameras provide coverage of areas that would otherwise require on-site personnel to observe events and behaviors.”
ed centrally via a VMS, add new levels of intelligent functionality to surveillance systems. With the addition of AI, these systems are quickly evolving from being reactive to proactive solutions.
This is increasingly evident given the wide range of AI-driven analytics readily available, including audio analytics for gunshot and scream detection, video analytics for intruder, loitering and cross-line direction, scene change indication to alert system ad- ministrators of possible camera tampering, people and vehicle classification, and facial recognition. These smart analytics lead to a wide variety of applications beyond conventional security.
Facial recognition, for example, helps authorities match a per- son’s face to a database of enrolled faces to help identify known criminals. Additionally, video redaction allows law enforcement to blur the faces of persons who have no connection to an incident, when video footage is released to the public. This protects the priva- cy of innocent parties and saves valuable search and response time.
Analytics can also capture and process license plates, as well as track service and public transportation vehicles passing through a city or municipality. This can improve municipal services great- ly as it aids in the recovery of stolen vehicles, the apprehension of people with outstanding arrest warrants or the identification of a person of interest.

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