Smart camera surveillance and modern incident management

Smart camera surveillance and modern incident management

Perceived and actual security
We all want to feel safe and secure, it's a basic human need. It comes way before in the hierarchy of needs than esteem or self-actualisation. However, we all perceive that security differently. There are cultural and geographical differences in this perception and also a correlation to the actual level of security based on the individual's knowledge of the situation or based on the sequence of events that have occurred historically.


Surveillance is a tool that public transport transit authorities can use to both manage the present security level, in terms of reducing incidents and crime and also to address passengers' fears concerning safety and security on the transport network. Used proactively in real-time, rather than merely recording the footage, camera surveillance is one dimension for security managers to consider when building a security system.

The main goal in any incident management system is to not overreact or underestimate any incident when it occurs and to use the right resources early on to reduce the number of incidents or avoid them entirely.

An incident lifecycle
The incident lifecycle can be characterised in five or six distinct steps:
Detection → Prioritisation → Response → Re-prioritisation → Investigation → Follow-up

Detection
This is the phase where an incident happens and is discovered. Incidents can be discovered manually when for example a passenger reports the incident via phone to the security centre, or it can be done automatically through automatic video analysis by a modern network video camera system. Examples of automatic video analysis could include overcrowding on platforms or entry into a restricted area or entry onto the rail tracks.

Prioritisation
Once the incident is detected, it needs to be prioritised in terms of what the nature of it is. This information is then prioritised against all other activities that response personnel are currently occupied with. By using high quality video from network video cameras, operators can make an informed assessment in real-time of the incident from a remote location and decide on the appropriate action.

Response
When the incident is fully understood by the security operators, it can be classified to follow a protocol; a set of operating procedures that have been determined beforehand in order to defuse and minimise the situation. The security centre can continually use network video to monitor how the scene potentially escalates and develops.

Furthermore, as modern network video cameras provide crisp, clear HDTV-quality video, not only can operators recognise what is currently happening they can also clearly identify the individual(s) involved. It is vital in a real-time situation to give a clear description of a perpetrator or someone in need of help (ie. clothing, height, body shape etc.) to allow the response to be quickly co-ordinated. With older camera technologies this was not really possible in many situations, but now it is.

Re-prioritisation
Sometimes an initial response to an incident is made with vague or limited information at hand. Sequences of events that have happened shortly before detection of the incident need to be reviewed and operators have to create a picture of the situation.
Furthermore, live and recorded video from other nearby locations can be used to continue the search for people involved and help responders be in the right place. Key to any successful response is the speed of that response and here network video also plays a central role in reprioritisation of incidents.

Investigation
After an incident is dealt with, there usually follows a period of investigation where the facts are established and the sequence of actions reported to the authorities. Video evidence is key as it helps to show the actual scenario from many different angles. By using modern network cameras, the image quality is the same as the HDTV broadcasts we are accustomed to at home. Positively identifying people where there can be no doubt of who did what and when, is a vital benefit to any investigation process.

Follow-up
The final phase is the step of follow-up and learning. Here video can be used to review real incidents with staff and security partners in order for them to discuss and learn from the footage.

Proactive video use with centralised surveillance in real-time
To create a new level of security for public transport, centralised, real-time surveillance and the ability to coordinate response personnel is key to minimising the impact of incidents and increase the perception of security. Network video has a clear role to play in all phases of modern incident management. By carefully applying intelligent video where cameras analyse the video, security operators will also benefit from an additional detection mechanism to detect incidents early and thereby increasing their ability to respond to an incident successfully before it escalates out of control. 


--Contributed by Patrik Anderson, Director Business Development Transportation, Axis Communications

 

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