Small town feel with world-class security from Axis

Small town feel with world-class security from Axis
As a small municipality in the shadow of a big city, the Town of Billerica shares the same concerns as cities of any size would recognize: a need to keep its resident and visitors safe and in a welcoming environment. Even without major incidents, the Billerica Police Department (BPD) needed an upgrade to its analog camera system to register a better picture in case of incident. The need for cameras was twofold: to act as a deterrent and to serve as a reactive tool in order to solve crimes.

The initial pilot contained a couple of cameras watching over a few big parking areas, transmitting the video over the town’s fiber network. With early successes, the BPD has continued to expand their system annually to include Axis Communications network cameras as well as a physical access control system.

Community safety in action
Since its origins, the BPD has covered more spots around town, including the Town Hall building, library and recreation areas. The Fire Department also has a camera to monitor their Apparatus Bays. The cameras across town are generally used for two primary reasons: as a deterrent and as a reactive tool.

Given that one of the recreation areas often transforms into a gathering spot for kids and families, cameras on site help to give a simple reminder that the BPD will not tolerate illegal activity on their grounds. Between the skate park, basketball courts and playground, cameras provide a way to deter general problems like drug activity and vandalism.

In turn, the BPD does not focus on live monitoring the cameras, but rather uses them reactively to respond and find evidence for any investigations. In the case of a man causing a minor ruckus at the skate park one night, officers were able to go back on the video footage and apprehend the suspect.

With the camera, the BPD caught the whole incident and was able to add that video to the case file.

Protecting the suburbs
The BPD has seen mounds of success utilizing Axis P33 Network Camera Series. The cameras come in both interior and exterior models and can function in a variety of weather and temperature conditions. Lightfinder is an important tool utilized by officers to respond to any claims of nighttime activity without worrying about exterior lighting at each location.

To process and actually use the footage, the BPD relies on Axis Camera Station to handle the needs of its current 37-camera deployment. “Axis Camera Station has been working well for us,” Katz noted. “We use the new mobile app as well. It’s all very functional for what we need.”

Additionally, Katz and his team ripped out an old access control system to implement Axis A1001 Network Door Panels at both the BPD station and the Town Hall. Controlled through settings on Axis Entry Manager, the BPD has an updated door security arrangement that “has been very good; very reliable and very easy to use,” Katz mentioned.

The BPD has seen many positive developments along the way. For example, officers caught a troublemaker in the town’s skate park that would never have been recognizable with the analog system. The Lightfinder capability on many of the town’s cameras has allowed the BPD to use footage at night when incidents tend to occur with more frequency, but with no need to add external and visible lighting. Plans for the future include outfitting the Police Station with new Axis cameras, as well as expanding the physical access control system.

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