Ballarat is one of Australia's largest inland cities with more than 90,000 inhabitants. However, it is also a classic rural community with historic architecture, iconic double-decker shop fronts and a thriving entertainment area. It was primarily the need to monitor the entertainment district late at night that prompted the local council to deploy an IndigoVision IP video surveillance system as part of its CitySafe initiative. The system was installed by IndigoVision's authorized partner, Safe Security Systems and was based on a specification drawn up by Consulting Engineers, Umow Lai. The system is monitored by Victoria Police in a local control room.
Victoria Police Senior Sergeant Tim Argall has to deal with big city problems from a small city police station, but having experienced poor quality surveillance images from existing systems, had little expectation for the new system. “The footage we see from private premises is so poor you might as well not bother with a surveillance system because no one is recognizable,” Argall said.
On the day of commissioning when live pictures from all the cameras were streamed into the control room for the first time the attitude was quickly transformed. “It's no exaggeration that there was a crowd of people in the control room admiring the camera views. It was sensational way better than we ever expected it to be,” Argall said.
“From an operational perspective it has given us so many more options as far as extra evidence we can use. We are often confronted with a situation where there are two parties giving two sides of a story and witnesses that don't want to get involved but now there's no question about culpability. It lets us take evidence and play it to an individual in an interview and ask for their response. From 50 meters across the road and high up on the side of a building we are zooming in and reading labels on shirts, which doesn't get much better than that.”
Argall said ultimately the system will have a deterrent effect in that people will know it's there and respect its capabilities.
A key element in choosing IndigoVision's solution was its ability to work with third-part analog surveillance components including fixed cameras, monitors, keyboards and PTZ units. It's IndigoVision's security management software that is being used as the main monitoring tool, however. The police view recordings with the use of motion, time and camera search criteria to quickly find an incident and this improves efficiency. Live or recorded video from all the cameras can be viewed simultaneously on the dual monitor setup in the control room. An additional workstation sits on the Sergeant's desk and is used to export evidential quality video clips for use with investigations and in court. Video is stored on two IndigoVision standalone NVRs with 4TB of storage, providing a 30-day archive.