Since the Hojstrup Housing Association in the Danish city of Vollsmose installed Milestone video surveillance in the spring of 2008, the costs of vandalism have fallen by 36 percent. It has created better security for the residents and more money to make improvements for youth activities.
"For years we had video surveillance in our elevators, and it had a very positive effect. When we increasingly had to battle theft and vandalism in other places, the residents decided to expand the system to include other areas. This has created greater security for the residents and a reduction in the amount of both vandalism and thefts,” stated Inger Aagaard, Association Foreman of Egepark in the Hojstrup Housing Association.
Milestone partner Atea won the bid competition against five other companies to implement the new video surveillance solution in the Hojstrup Housing Association. Today there are 120 cameras that are managed with Milestone Systems XProtect Enterprise IP video software. The solution is a network-based system, which means that multiple users can access it simultaneously from different locations.
Inspector Jorgen Kristensen from the Hojstrup Housing Association is one of the users given access to see the video. He said, “we don't look at the video all the time. One of the advantages of this system is the fact that it is fully digital. This means that if we get an alert or message about an incident, we can search by time and location to quickly and easily find the precise sequence of events. This saves us a lot of time since we don't have to go through all of the video but can pinpoint exactly what we need to see.”
Inger Aagaard emphasized that the goal of the surveillance most of all is to dissuade and prevent criminality. ”Shortly after we installed the cameras in the elevators, we could show their preventive effect quite clearly - and this also happened when the system was expanded to more areas. People respect that their misbehavior potentially can be discovered. We have actually experienced one family who earlier had created problems and later voted for increased surveillance. It does work,” said Aagaard.
Hojstrup Housing Association in Vollsmose has noted a marked reduction in vandalism and theft, and this has created a safer environment for the residents. It has also contributed to a reduction in costs for the association. In 2007 they used almost a quarter of a million Danish crowns on repairs due to vandalism. This amount has fallen dramatically to 160.000 – a savings that Inger Aagaard attributes to the video surveillance preventive effect.
"When we register an incident in the video surveillance, we immediately send an invoice to the responsible parties, which makes people take it seriously. The money we are saving on less vandalism will hopefully lead to a decrease in rental costs, and contribute to more budget for things to keep the youth positively engaged instead of making trouble. The dream is to build new playgrounds and recreational centers, so we see a brighter future,” says Aagaard.
In Vollsmose the association has just held another residents meeting with one of the agenda items to weigh opinions about the video surveillance. The vote from the people was overwhelmingly positive.
"It is obvious to see that the people here are very pleased with the surveillance. It not only saves a lot of money from the reduced vandalism, but there's also a generally increased feeling of safety. It works for us to send those who perpetrate the vandalism a bill for their handiwork, and this leads to a clear preventive result. If you ask me, we should set up even more cameras because it works – both for our finances and our safety,” concludes Peter Filstrup, who has lived in Vollsmose the last four years.