City of Ipswich
Metropolitan center keeps promise to safeguard citizens by undertaking major video surveillance upgrade with Genetec™ Security Center
Just 40 kilometers west of Brisbane, Australia, is an urban center called Ipswich. With a population of just under 200,000 residents, the City of Ipswich is home to one of the oldest and best known public surveillance systems in Australia. Installed in 1994, in response to rising street crime, the Safe City solution is owned and managed by Ipswich City Council whose objective is always to keep citizens safe.
While the Safe City solution represented the best video surveillance technology of the day, around three years ago, it was decided that the system should incorporate IP camera technology, and that the Council's adjacent surveillance system should be brought into the Safe City control room. For this, a new video management system was needed.
After a two-year testing period, the City chose to install Genetec™ Security Center, a unified security platform which includes an advanced video management system (VMS), OmnicastTM. The hardware-agnostic platform also merges access control and license plate recognition systems within the same solution, offering an intuitive user experience and other advanced features such as mobile capabilities, a map-based interface and more.
Open Architecture Ensures System Longevity
At the end of this ongoing migration, the OmnicastTM IP video surveillance system will be used to manage just over 500 cameras from the Safe City control room. The upgrade from the former video management solution to Genetec™ Security Center is designed to provide the City with hardware freedom - not just in terms of video surveillance cameras, but concerning any other devices the City may choose to incorporate into its solution in the future.
With the new VMS, changes to the perimeter of the system - new cameras or any other devices in the future - have no impact on the functionality of Genetec™ Security Center in the control room. As well as installing the latest IP cameras, the City can also continue to leverage its existing analogue cameras, and deploy medium-term solutions such as HD-SDI technology, that use existing coaxial infrastructure.
According to Larry Waite, Safe City Security Coordinator at Ipswich City Council, "Something Genetec™ Security Center does that's extremely important to us is scale. There is no limit in terms of growth and that's excellent from our perspective. Every time we add more cameras we can just add more hard drives and expand the system."
Monitoring Hotspots through Ease-to-Use Interface
As part of Safe City's policy of actively engaging with cameras, Waite says operators are always using VMS functionality to actively search for incidents. "What we do is target hotspots based on our experience," explains Waite. "At a given time of a certain day we will move cameras and park them to view particular locations where events have occurred in the past."
Video can be sent through to the shift supervisor at the police station about 1km away, as well as to the police communication room about 5km away. "We can also communicate over police radio and inform police of an event on screen and assist them in real time. Certainly police appreciate the system and the courts love it because when faced with clear video evidence most perpetrators plead guilty, so cases are not dragged through the courts," explains Waite.
Streamlining Response with Security Center Mobile
With the upgrade to Security Center comes the capability to work more effectively with police officers when they are on patrol. "We now have tablets that we can give to police so they have mobile footage of events in real time," says Waite. "For instance, police can see all the cameras in the mall in a 9-screen split on a tablet. This allows police to see what's going on in the next street over during the process of an operation.
"Using police radio, police officers can tell us who they are looking for and we can say - 'they are on such and such street'. Police can then zoom in using the tablets to identify individuals and then take appropriate action to apprehend offenders. This new mobile component of the Genetec™ system is very flexible. We've only used it in the CBD with police so far, but it can be used in parks by our rangers, too."
Security Center Upgrade Makes a Difference in the Community
The process of upgrading to Security Center has been about preparing for the future. Council's goal is to continue the process of going digital, while trialing new technologies such as the AutoVuTM automatic license plate recognition system which has been added recently as a pilot project.
According to Waite, "This system has absolutely had an impact. The Safe City system has led to what is touted as a 78 per cent reduction in crime compared to the year before the system was installed, despite a much larger population. Crimes we used to get in Ipswich like bag snatches, car thefts, armed robbery and thefts at ATM machines - we simply don't see those types of offenses anymore."
Infrastructure at a Glance
OmnicastTM, the IP video surveillance system of Security Center, manages 510 cameras from various manufacturers including Panasonic, Pelco, Samsung, Bosch, Axis and Elbex. A BriefCam VS Forensics solution is also being used to synthesise events from real time video streams. Safe City's VMS upgrade is built around Council's unprecedented fibre intranet, which stretches for tens of kilometres across the council area. The Safe City cameras have its own dedicated fibre, which ensures no issues with bandwidth. All video is recording at 25ips per channel in high-definition with a 14-day retention time.
*This case study has been adapted from an article titled Ipswich City Council Upgrades Safecity CCTV System written by John Adams for Security Electronics and Networks - to read the full article, click here.