|DVTEL’s Latitude NVMS serves as the command and control centre for IP network video surveillance
Baltimore's location on northern Chesapeake Bay has been at the heart of its social and economic development. Through careful city planning and cooperation between public and private investors, Baltimore entered the ranks of one of America's "comeback cities". Its down-town business district has been transformed into a mecca of new hotels, retail centers, and office buildings. However, as one of the nation’s most violent cities, Baltimore needed innovative, cost-effective assistance in fighting crime and creating safer neighborhoods.
In early 2005, Baltimore sought to provide better protection in high profile, tourist areas and to give police additional tools to enhance their jobs.
After observing a DVTEL surveillance project in the Westminster area of London and a small citizen led video surveillance project in his own city’s Greektown neighborhood, Baltimore’s Mayor O’Malley decided to harness video technology to help fight crime.
Phase one of the Baltimore CitiWatch Programme featured the opening of the state-of-the-art Atrium Control Centre made possible through Department of Homeland Security funds totaling several million dollars. After installing 50 plus IP cameras directly on the city’s network to cover commercial areas of downtown, the challenge remained how to extend CitiWatch to Baltimore’s streets which lacked a fiber network and where sup-port was required even more.
The DVTEL Solution
DVTEL’s Latitude NVMS serves as the command and control center for IP network video surveillance (now several hundred DVTEL IP cameras, equipped with low light and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) capability).
TeleTector of Maryland designed the dedicated fiber backbone and managed the project installation. Many cameras are wireless, which was part of the appeal of the DVTEL solution. With no fibre optic running under the streets to where the program had expanded, Baltimore got innovative.
|DVTEL cameras, most of which are mounted on top of street light poles, provide 24-hour surveillance of the downtown
Wireless camera signals from groups of cameras are brought back to a fiber node and then video signals travel by fiber back to the DVTEL head end.
CitiWatch Atrium accesses all project video feeds from DVTEL cameras, most of which are mounted on top of street light poles, and provide 24-hour surveillance of the downtown, some of the cities most violent neighbourhoods, and in five public housing projects.
The programme’s goal is to enhance the safety and security of residents, workers, visitors, public buildings, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, cultural and entertainment attractions, and other tourist venues. The Mayor’s Office of Information Technology drives overall planning and implementation and then turns each completed project phase over to the Baltimore Police.
Lt. Bauler, who has been with CitiWatch from inception, responded:
“I see it getting bigger; we get many calls asking for cameras in their neighbourhood.”
Camera coverage has expanded to include 500+ cameras covering the most crime-ridden Baltimore neighborhoods along Monument St., Greenmount Ave., and in Park Heights. All cameras record 24/7 at 30 frames per second. Live video is viewed at 15 fps and the city maintains an archive of 30 days of recording.
Post-event analysis is not the primary focus of the CitiWatch programme but rather proactive monitoring to prevent violent crime when possible and to direct police officers to the scene with intelligence on what arriving officers will find and how best to deal an unfolding situation.
Thousands of arrests have been coming directly from video surveillance and Baltimore Police estimate violent crime is down year-on-year more than 15% in the areas covered by the project.