Video surveillance system transforms a mid-sized city into a model of progress.
The Lancaster Community Safety Coalition is a non-profit organisation formed to prevent crime in the nation’s oldest inland city – Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The organisation’s mission is to enhance public safety and the quality of life in Lancaster by engaging the community and advancing current crime prevention strategies. The Coalition uses a three-pronged approach – environmental design, community mobilisation and technology – to aid police in protecting the city.
When the city planned to upgrade its traffic signal communications from copper to fibre-optics, the Coalition worked with city engineers to ensure the fibre-optic network could also support a video system. In addition to the infrastructure, the Coalition required reliable cameras that could withstand various weather conditions and vandalism while delivering excellent image quality.
Now, Bosch AutoDome and EnviroDome pan-tilt-zoom cameras are spread throughout the city, streaming video over more than 100 miles of fibre-optic strands to the Coalition’s monitoring centre.
Coalition employees – civilians hired for their knowledge of the city and their commitment to its safety and growth – monitor live video from the cameras 16 hours a day. Using a Bosch Allegiant Control System and an IntuiKey keyboard that controls the PTZ cameras, employees can switch between video streams from each of the cameras and hone in on suspicious activities or crimes in progress up to three or four blocks away.
The Coalition’s monitoring facility has a direct line to the city’s centre for 911 calls for times when police need to be immediately dispatched to an area. Coalition employees can even send live video to flat-screen monitors in the emergency centre to help the dispatchers communicate more effectively with officers patrolling the streets or arriving on a scene.
Video is recorded on Bosch digital video recorders which aids police during investigations. In a recent incident, officers used surveillance camera video to find and arrest a suspect soon after a shooting occurred. This same feat took 1600 hours in a previous case that was similar in nature.
The system and the overall work of the Coalition have also helped to revitalise the city of Lancaster. Lancaster is on the cutting edge with more cameras than any city in Pennsylvania.
“There is a link between crime reduction and growth,” said Joseph Morales, COO of the Coalition. “Our citizens no longer perceive downtown as a high crime area, which has helped bring more people into the city from suburban areas.”
For more information contact Bosch Security Systems, +27 (0)11 651 9604, www.boschsecurity.co.za
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