Business owners often struggle to ensure an environment that is secure and protected 24/7 for their employees and customers. Theft, fights, break-ins and a countless variety of other wrongdoings can happen inside or outside a business at any moment. Protecting business assets and citizens can be a real challenge, making it important to have the appropriate systems in place.
But providing a secure environment isn’t solely the job of business owners. City officials and city police are faced with the responsibility of security for their whole community – the businesses, the people, and the vast array assets including parks, roadways and public buildings.
It’s simply impossible to be everywhere at once. Police are often informed of crimes too late, or with too little information to catch someone in the act. Criminals are getting away with their crimes, ultimately hurting the businesses in the community – let’s face it, who wants to shop or get their car repaired in an area with a high crime rate?
Fortunately, business owners and city officials are learning that working together is one way to create the solution to their shared problem – by using technology and a public-private partnership to create a Secure City.
A Secure City is a city where business owners and law enforcement form a crime-fighting partnership. Not simply through an increased police force or business owner training, but through technology – specifically an advanced series of inter-connected video monitoring systems.
The network of cameras in a Secure City work like this.
The cameras are placed inside and outside of different local businesses, especially in locations of high crime, and provide local police departments with live, 24/7 access to the footage, or access to recorded and stored footage. Then, in the event of a crime, the police can have up-to-the-second information on what is happening and take action while following the situation, or they can go back and access recorded video for investigatory efforts.
In a Secure City police can monitor different areas at the same time, go to specific events or locations in stored footage to look for additional intel, or get information on a person after they have committed an offense. Secure Cities get safer security measures through deterring, preventing and identifying crime, while the businesses who are outfitted with the cameras reap the same benefits, creating a win-win scenario.
Secure Cities appear to be the trend of the future for municipalities, and some cities have already put this plan into action. But, according to BBC, a majority of the first Secure (or Safe) Cities ran into problems because their video surveillance technology was inefficient. They cited that police investigations were often hampered by blind spots in the videos, low-quality imagery, or the inability to make out details in dark areas. There were also issues with data storage and retrieval. Retrieval of stored video tended to be slow, while some data simply got lost, derailing full investigations.
Despite issues with the first Secure Cities, other cities have adopted this model, but with better results. Detroit found a way around the quality problem by opting to use Comcast Business’ SmartOffice Advanced Video Monitoring Solution. These cameras offer a wider view then the competitors, reducing the blind spots that other municipalities had. They are also commercial-grade, HD surveillance cameras with night vision that provide crystal-clear images able to capture details like faces or other identifying features. And to eliminate the storage problem, all recordings are securely stored in the cloud, which allows the businesses to give easy access to police departments.
By becoming a Secure City that used a top of the line network of cameras, Detroit has seen a 50 percent reduction in crime in locations with cameras, as well as an improvement in successful post-crime arrests in affected areas. It is also one of the factors that has contributed to Detroit’s decrease in the raw number of crimes such as homicides, non-fatal shootings, carjackings and property offenses (including car theft and burglary).
Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, said the high-quality cameras installed in his city “helped us take a successful public safety measure even further and enable a growing base of local business owners to secure their establishments.”
The Secure Cities of the future are already leading to safer areas. For every city nationwide to become a Secure City, cities will need to start with using the best available monitoring solutions, the foundation of a powerful broadband network, and a commitment to making the public-private partnership simple to execute, without undue red tape or bureaucracy.