NHA buildings are located in nearly every neighbourhood in the city of Newark, comprising over 8,700 units, and providing housing for over 20,000 residents.
Many NHA developments were rife with drugs and gangs, mothers and children were prevented from moving freely throughout their neighbourhoods, and seniors needed more protection.
In 2006, the Newark Housing Authority was labouring under the threat of a Federal takeover and hired a new Executive Director, Keith Kinard who completely revamped the organisation. Budget cuts meant staff cuts and replacing the in-house NHA security guard unit with a private security service.
The NHA realised it needed to upgrade the physical security systems to provide more effective assistance to Housing Authority security staff. The NHA’s initial security strategy was to lock down all the buildings housing elderly residents with improved access control and a 24/7 guard presence.
Prior to installing state-of-the-art surveillance technology from DVTEL, Newark Housing maintained low-tech, black and white cameras that were unmonitored. If an incident happened, the video could aid in an incident investigation, but it was not an ideal means of security.
The DVTEL Solution
NHA installed a fibre optic backbone connecting all buildings, providing a strong infra-structure for a high-performance IP camera solution connected directly to the network. A dedicated command centre was established to be staffed by at least two operators at all times.
DVTEL’s Latitude was chosen to manage all video feeds covering upwards to 50 of the Authority’s buildings. Security staff trained and supplied by Winfield Security, monitor more than 600 cameras located throughout the Housing Authority’s many properties. The cameras are a mix of fixed and PTZ.
"The NPD response is excellent, and with our camera views we’re able to provide helpful guidance, such as telling them exactly who they’re looking for and where he is"
Millennium Communications Group advised on interior and exterior placement for the hundreds of cameras to be installed.
Each building’s lobby guard monitors that building’s cameras and each building’s manager(s) have access to the video as well.
In addition, NHA upgraded access control throughout many of its buildings with Emerge from IEI which was integrated to DVTEL’s Latitude.
The DVTEL Latitude VMS manages video feeds from over 600 cameras, 24/7 and 365 days a year providing crisp, clear images for two or more staff in charge of the Command Centre.
- Command centre also receives fire alarm and integrated access data, and with one-way intercoms, has a direct line to a New-ark Police dispatcher and building security officers.
- Multiple video wall screens display single camera views, multiple tiles of views, maps of locations, and access control in-formation.
- Results in fighting crime have been impressive. Charles Whitner, NHA Director of Security recounted a number of stories how he and his staff, in cooperation with Newark Police, “staked out” problem are-as within the NHA developments and gathered video evidence to connect suspects to the crime.
“The DVTEL system has resulted in numerous arrests and convictions,” said NHA Executive Director, Keith Kinard. “The judges have been very interested when we bring our laptops to court and show them footage of what has happened. Some of them are caught off-guard at just how clear the images are.”
Prosecutions coming out of the NHA have included aggravated assault, petty thefts, vandalism, and numerous drug crimes.
“What we’re hearing from our residents is that those who have cameras on the first floor of their building want them on higher floors. Those family developments that don’t have cameras want cameras.”
Monitoring over 600 cameras is a lot of information to focus on. Operator experience, in tandem with DVTEL technology, has proven key to improving residents’ safety.
Newark Police take a more active role in policing the properties. As Whitner recounted, “The NPD response is excellent, and with our camera views we’re able to provide helpful guidance, such as telling them exactly who they’re looking for and where he is.
“We use it for management purposes as well as crime.” For example, cameras installed above security guard desks allows the guarding company to monitor officers remotely.
“From a quality of life perspective, it’s a huge improvement.”