Published on 16 July, 2007
In large public sports venues where emotionally charged crowds gather, there can be civil disorder, especially with intoxicated people and over-zealous fans. The Charles Koch Arena at Wichita State University has more than 10,000 seats, and regularly draws full capacity crowds from both the university and the surrounding community. The mix of campus and urban area also has the potential to involve more risk of assaults or theft. The campus police wanted to ensure the best safety net for guarding this environment proactively, to maintain the highest levels of safety and enjoyment.
After the sports building was remodelled a few years ago, funding became available to implement a new surveillance system with the latest technology, delivered by ISG Technology.
Paul W. Dotson, Chief of Police at Wichita State University, relates that the Koch Arena was identified as one of the top 20 critical infrastructures by the state and federal Homeland Security. "This university is a community-based institution, so much of our public are students, former students, and neighbours. Doing a vulnerability assessment of our campus, working together with the Department of Homeland Security, we identified that we had gaps in our safety net for such largely populated venues. The federal solution in funding was well-placed to address this."
Milestone XProtect Enterprise IP video surveillance software was chosen to manage, schedule, and control 31 Axis network cameras in a mix of fixed and Pan/Tilt/Zoom models. Cisco switches are used in the network fibre optic infrastructure installed during the building's renovation in 2003. Using the IT network in place, setting up the cameras was a quick and easy installation.
XProtect provides excellent overview of the entire facility; the campus officers can be proactive about safety in this busy venue. They watch live images in the surveillance to monitor crowd flow, check body language, and send police to head off situations before they can escalate. When incidences do occur, they have the recorded video to resolve any questions or to use as evidence, also to analyse the environment for improvements.
"It's so easy and fast to see what is going on; we're handling our security proactively. The networked surveillance approach saved costs by letting us use the existing IT infrastructure, and reduced some labour costs for static observation posts of officers at specific stations every hundred feet on the concourse. We then use those resources more efficiently by shifting them to deal with other conflicts or problems, making much better use of our time and dollars spent for security," states Chief Dotson.
"Since 9/11 and other tragic events that have occurred nationwide, we have a whole new approach at our fingertips. IP surveillance can be the critical piece to make the difference in solving a crime and keeping people safe. We look at it as a ‘target hardening' approach to make it more difficult for crimes to occur. If people want to commit anti-social behaviour, we signal clearly that we have a much higher level of security than ever before which works as prevention, as well."