You may be familiar with the age-old adage, “Tools are only as good as the hands that wield them,” and in many cases this is found to be true. However, the current issues that the Los Angeles Police Department has been experiencing with their city-wide surveillance cameras aren’t originating from lack of dedication, hard work or care – but rather a missing link in what could be a valuable crime-fighting tool.
LAPD is the third largest local law enforcement agency in the United States, ranking under New York City and Chicago. With a task force this size and the large population assigned to it, it is a perfect candidate for an intelligent security surveillance system that provides remote monitoring, security alerts and system/camera health checks – in fact for a surveillance system this important, these qualities are invaluable.
The Times reported that the majority of the surveillance cameras that are installed in downtown Los Angeles have been out of working order for two years. Many officers aren’t trained to use the camera system correctly and at times hinder the system by causing breaks, rather than helping. A control room the size of a closet in the Central Police Station is the designated monitoring station, but is so small that it causes the security system to overheat. The LAPD has been unable to find a vendor who can maintain the cameras for them and in the meantime the surveillance system has fallen into disarray (LA Times, 2011)
Recently, a string of violent crimes, particularly stabbings, occurred on a specific block in skid row that is supposed to be monitored by cameras. Most notably, a 53-year-old man died after being stabbed and beaten by more than half a dozen attackers. Even though a surveillance camera was located just above the area where the stabbing occurred, the camera has been reported to not be working properly and no arrests have been made. A frustrated community is blaming the LAPD for not having a better system in place for maintaining and monitoring their surveillance cameras (LA Times, 2011).
When it comes to citywide surveillance there is such an influx of video data that having a sophisticated central management system for the network of cameras, one with remote monitoring and camera health checks, is incredibly important to keep such large system working efficiently without taking up valuable department time. Other attributes that systems, such as 3VR’s, offer are real-time searches that deliver instant video search results, simple installation and monitoring as well as configuration templates – all of which can make a huge difference when putting together an efficient security surveillance system.