Subway safety has received much attention recently after the mass shooting incident on New York City subway train this year, prompting a call for better security solutions like scanners that can detect weapons easily. But while scanners that detect weapons are often used in places like stadiums and concerts where large crowds gather, using them effectively in subways would be difficult. This is where video analytics becomes relevant.
Asmag.com spoke to Lizzi Goldmeier, video content analytics expert at BriefCam, to understand how subway customers can leverage the power of video to protect people and assets.
Major threats in subways
With crime escalating on subways across the country, transportation managers are concerned about ensuring that travelers feel safe and protected. According to NYPD, four homicide attempts have already taken place in the city subway in 2022.
Other reports suggest that Subway crime rates have soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — from 1.47 felonies per million riders in 2019 to 2.11 felonies per million riders in April 2022, according to the latest NYPD and MTA figures. This is besides the constant need to monitor terrorism-related concerns.
“In addition to monitoring for terrorism threats, security personnel face daily security concerns of trespassing, traffic bottleneck, overcrowding, unauthorized intrusion, assaults, theft, and vandalism,” Goldmeier said. “As a result, managers and law enforcement are constantly searching for technology that can protect commuters in real-time and help them rapidly find important evidence after an incident has taken place.”
Popular security solutions for subways
In the past, video security cameras have facilitated monitoring and post-event investigation by transit personnel. However, many realize that combatting the increase in crime demands deeper intelligence, increased situational awareness, and smarter technology for more effective traveler protection and crime prevention.
“Now, we are seeing transit personnel employ more sophisticated solutions including video content analytics to empower security and operations teams,” Goldmeier said. “Video analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning enables security personnel to detect and respond to security events in real-time, as well as rapidly find key evidence to understand and investigate incidents that have already transpired.”
Agencies within the subway sector can derive quantitative intelligence and operational insight about transit hub occupancy, peak travel times, and traveler demographics; make data-driven, strategic decisions to reduce crowding, prevent crime, and identify inefficiencies; and define rule-based alerts to notify security to respond to unexpected or unusual behavior. Video data can provide beneficial insights, increasing security and operational efficiency overall.
Best practices for best results
Transit organizations can follow many best practices to ensure that their video analytics system is deployed most effectively for ongoing use. Several factors play an important role in this, including the type of camera required, their placement, and creating the right environment.
“When it comes to choosing surveillance infrastructure and camera deployment, solution architects and systems integrators can help transit organizations understand the optimal camera types as well as placement and positioning of the cameras for accurate video analysis in their environment,” Goldmeier pointed out. “Additionally, video processing and supporting hardware requirements for AI-based analytics will vary depending on a number of environmental factors.”
When deploying a video analytics solution, transit hubs need to be aware of the specified hardware, network requirements, and deployment options to best suit the unique needs of their organization.
Subway security is an integral part of city safety. Surveillance cameras are essential for this, but just recording footage is not enough to ensure safety. Smart cameras backed by real-time video analytics can ensure that security operators can get instant alerts of incidents and respond accordingly.