Dallas Police Department Wireless Video Surveillance Network Combats Crimes

Dallas provides a great testament to how security technologies can help law enforcement improve public safety and enhance emergency preparedness. A wireless surveillance system in Dallas watches over various parts of the city, supplying the Dallas Police Department real-time video from many areas throughout Dallas.

“The wireless video surveillance system is an integral part of the city's three pronged approach to public safety, which also includes beat officers and the citizens that live and work in the area,” said Anthony Crawford, Dallas Police Department. “The wireless video system has contributed to crime decreases in the target areas. In fact, from Jan. 1, 2007 to Sep. 28, 2010 the total crime rate is down 37 percent in uptown Dallas, 35 percent in downtown and 59 percent in Jubilee Park. I believe an important part of that reduction is due to the presence of the camera system.”

OnSSI supplies video surveillance software for the Dallas Police Department's system. OnSSI's PSIM platform was chosen for its ease of use and advanced instant investigation tools such as the time/motion slicer engine and push video alerting. OnSSI provides mission-critical information conveniently and efficiently to enable fewer DPD officers to monitor more cameras.

Firetide provides the wireless mesh networks for IP video surveillance in the Texas city that transmit high-quality video traffic from network cameras. Without wireless mesh, it would have been far more costly to install the cameras where they were needed. In addition, mesh creates alternate wireless links to help ensure high system reliability.

BearCom, a nationwide wireless communications solutions provider, designed and installed the Dallas system beginning with implementation of the first cameras in early 2007. Since then, BearCom has continued to add cameras to monitor various areas throughout the city. The Dallas Police mobile command center can tie into the system as long as the vehicle is within range of the wireless mesh network.

Experienced police officers in Dallas keep a close watch on live video from cameras mounted about 20 feet off the ground on various light and traffic signal poles and buildings throughout the downtown and uptown areas in Dallas, as well as several Dallas neighborhoods, including Jubilee Park and Jefferson Boulevard. Monitoring the video 24 hours a day, seven days a week are sworn active-duty police officers currently serving less than full-duty because of injuries, along with retired police officers working on an hourly basis. Successful public/private partnerships were instrumental in the deployment of the camera systems in several areas of the city, including the Central Business District, the Arts District, the Jefferson Boulevard area and the Jubilee Park neigh

A total of 152 cameras have been installed throughout the city of Dallas, including 126 Sony and 26 Panasonic units, making it one of the largest municipal wireless video surveillance systems in the country. In the city's Southwest Division, for example, 11 cameras have been installed along the Jefferson Boulevard corridor, where small retail stores, mom-and-pop businesses, pawn shops and similar establishments predominate. These cameras are not monitored in real-time, but officers routinely use the OnSSI software to review video after the fact.

In addition to watching cameras in real-time, the monitoring personnel also cross-check crime reports against video archives to determine if a camera near the location of an alleged crime captured any evidence. There have been 4,518 of these “camera-involved calls” through June of 2010, and there were 6,259 of them in 2009. Making video copies helped with 28 incidents through June of 2010 and with 70 incidents last year. The cameras have also been used to monitor events in real-time, for example, in areas like the downtown business district where there are high concentrations of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The cameras have been used to monitor 112 real-time events through June this year.

Since the cameras have been installed, DPD reports have been a total of 17,283 calls and 5,016 arrests in surveillance areas in Downtown, Uptown and Jubilee Park thanks in part to the video system. In one incident, a camera operator observed a theft of pay boxes in progress in a pay parking lot and directed officers to make an arrest. In another incident, a person in a military uniform was observed on video having a seizure, and someone stole his wallet during the incident. The next day, the thief was again spotted on video and arrested.

“The Dallas installation is a convincing example of how IP-based systems can capture video from anywhere in a wide geographic area and provide it in an intuitive and user-friendly way precisely when and where it is needed,” said Gadi Piran, President and CTO, OnSSI. “Combining the latest network camera technologies with wireless mesh networking and OnSSI's video management system provides a great tool for the Dallas Police Department.”

“Three and one-half years since the first phase of the project began, the DPD's wireless video surveillance network is an instructive case study of the crime fighting benefits of such a network and the public private partnership model that has been key to its success,” said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide.

“We*re very proud to be associated with the Dallas Police Department and this project,” said John Watson, Chairman of BearCom. “The success of the DPD surveillance system would not have been possible without the cooperation of our partners."
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