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How the Public is Helping Law Enforcement with Crime Prevention

Technological change is redefining efficiency in many use cases, from retail to health care, and government to city surveillance. With the imagesavailability of new devices that can capture large amounts of data, one particular use case has begun aggregating video content at a rapidly increasing rate — law enforcement. The proliferation of body-worn cameras imposed by government mandates is adding to the many camera streams coming from police car dashboards, interview rooms, and sally ports that provide valuable insight to law enforcement agencies.

With many different ingest points supplying surveillance video, law enforcement needs more coverage on private property — and they’re enlisting the public to help. The Somerset Police Department in Massachusetts has recently begun asking residents and business owners to register private surveillance systems installed on their properties with police department’s camera registry. This action costs nothing, and guarantees that police officers will not have direct access to video footage, but will request access if needed. Most importantly, registering surveillance cameras with the police department increases the number of eyes and ears across the city. This idea has the potential to expand this small police department’s presence — without increasing budget or using resources that could be utilized elsewhere.

This method of collecting video evidence is not limited to expanding coverage for small agencies —larger police agencies, like the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), are leveraging private video surveillance security systems too. With the donation of $85,000 over the course of a year, the NOPD was able to purchase almost 4,000 cameras to cover high-crime areas in New Orleans. Like Somerset, these cameras were placed on over 1,000 private properties in the city to increase surveillance visibility. Protocol states that NOPD officers can contact property owners when video access is needed — adding support when police officers aren’t physically present at the scene of a crime.

Seeking help from citizens is just one of the many ways police departments are gathering evidence. Police officers are busy — and managing video content takes away time from their day-to-day duties. Having the option to view private videos on an as-needed basis is an optimal solution for those worried about privacy being breached when the safety of the city is at stake.

With so much information being created, it’s critical to have a data management solution that can be easily and immediately accessed without compromising performance — and more importantly, cost. Often when an agency purchases a video gathering system, the company offers cloud storage as well. This offering is often built in, locking an agency into a cloud solution for the duration of its contract. Many video gathering systems have their own cloud storage, and frequently these solutions are incompatible with each other. Fortunately, a solution exists.

Multi-tier video storage centralizes all data into a single file system that streamlines video evidence into an easy-to-use platform. No matter the size of your agency, you can choose from a mix of on-premise high-performance disk with on-premise archive or off-premise cloud storage (or both) that can automatically migrate less-used data to lower cost, higher-capacity forms of storage.

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