Four Steps for a Safe City Concept

31.08.2022 - Investment in digital infrastructure: CCTV cameras can operate better together

Cities are becoming more and more crowded, and as a result, municipal as well as police resources are under great pressure to investigate crimes and realize crime prevention for the benefit of citizens at the lowest possible cost.

Currently, many video surveillance systems are not as efficient as they could be. Police investigations are often hampered by blind spots in the video networks and low-quality images. Another problem is data storage and retrieval: incidents can only be followed up with immense effort and therefore very slowly. Data loss can bring investigations to a complete standstill. However, new technologies are emerging to help police and municipal authorities fight crime more effectively.

1. Investment in Digital Infrastructure

With implementing in a better digital infrastructure, a city can increase digital tools for public safety. If communication systems are upgraded, CCTV cameras can operate better together, as well as body cameras from police forces. Command centers are highly efficient and e.g. a predictive data analysis system can bring a big advantage to the level of safety in the city.

Example for Roll-out of Digital Infrastructure

An example of a connected safe city is Nairobi, Kenia. According to the BBC (1), communication networks from Huawei link 1,800 surveillance cameras with 195 police stations and 7,600 police officers. After recent terrorist strikes Kenya government has invested in the high-speed private broadband network. Its National Police Service Commission has now linked command centers with over 1,500 high-definition cameras in downtown Nairobi, as well as 200 cameras at checkpoints and wireless devices of field officers. The urban centre is equipped with panoramic video surveillance and a highly-agile command and dispatch setup, running on satellite-based GPS and software-based GIS. Managing all the video data efficiently, an intelligent video analysis platform was installed, including real-time surveillance, video browsing, data sharing, and evidence collection.

2. Updating Existing Technology Systems

Buying thousands of new cameras is very cost-intensive. However, it is possible to adapt even older camera models to newer standards through cleverly implemented analysis or management software or even cloud access. Sometimes it is also suitable to install some cameras with a better overview, e.g. fisheye cameras at overview points, in order to reduce the number of required end devices.

Cloud-Based Video Surveillance

According to Digital Barriers, Cloud-based VSaaS brings a whole host of benefits to urban environments, often helping them to become smarter by optimising existing hardware, rather than having to replace it. Tearing out all existing devices just isn’t feasible for most municipalities. London, for example, is the ninth most surveilled city in the world with over 127,000 public CCTV cameras. That equates to more than 13 cameras per 1,000 people. By transforming existing video security systems, VSaaS platforms are essential for cities looking to become smarter without requiring extortionate budgets. They allow new services to be developed helping to make the overall system more proactive, intelligent, and efficient at a much lower cost. The move to the cloud means that organisations no longer have to maintain expensive on-site storage capabilities to hold security camera footage. For example, Digital Barriers solutions are built on its own patented proprietary technology, recognised by Vodafone to use 50-75% less bandwidth than competing technologies. Lower bandwidths ultimately equate to lower costs and improved performance, especially in busy urban environments.

 3. The Great Benefit of Compression

Since security is about awareness on the one hand and the authorities’ ability to act on the other, it is essential to be able to transmit, evaluate and recognize information quickly. To ensure that all functions smoothly and that the system is not slowed down under the huge volume of data, technology is needed that can quickly compress and unpack data volumes without losing any information. What use is there to have an all clear and high-resolution image of an 8k camera, if it slows down bandwidth for quick solutions and communication.

4. Network Capabilities of City Surveillance and Body Cams

The first point is about creating the resources in the first place so that networks can be established. Now this should also be applied and implemented together with the police and the city departments. If a system can bring together and evaluate the data from all of the fixed surveillance devices and maybe even body cameras from police officers, then it can be the perfect interplay of technologies.

Everything Needs to Work Together Seamlessly

Joel Ordonez, Regional Sales Manager for IndigoVision in Peru and Ecuador, explains why it’s so important that public surveillance systems enable a fast response to any type of incident: “Responding quickly is critical, not only to solve the present incident but it also means that you can help to prevent future incidents. For example many cities allocate “red zones”, which are the most dangerous areas in the district. In this zone you know incidents are more likely to occur, so you can start to make plans for how to prevent them, creating a smarter response to crime. In these “red zones”, you can divert more resources to ensure it becomes a safer area, for example, by installing more HD cameras in specific locations across the district. As soon as an incident happens, such as a theft, the perpetrator can be tracked immediately and clear evidence can be provided to law enforcement to prosecute them.
Henry Gambeta, the Control Room Manager in the San Borja municipality of Peru, explains the benefit of using a powerful Video Management Software to control your cameras and integrations: “If you’re not using software that allows you to control the various camera brands, maintaining control of your system becomes more difficult and, as a consequence, response times are increased in the event of an incident.”
The complete end-to-end surveillance solution – combining your video management software, cameras, NVRs, analytics and integrations – means you can more easily control your system components and respond more effectively to incidents, helping to reduce their occurrence. The fewer incidents that your city has, the safer people will feel who live in your district and may encourage more visitors and tourists to your area, whose presence can stimulate investment in local businesses and public spaces.

The 2022 Safe City Project in Karachi City

There is a much higher rate of highly-surveilled cities in many countries in Asia. An example of a very recent safe city project in Asia is Karachi City in Pakistan.
“Business Recorder”(2) reports on 10,000 new CCTV (Close Circuit Television) cameras that will be installed in Karachi. The existing 2,000 cameras will be upgraded in this regard. The project is a joint venture between the Sindh government and the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC). The retrofit is divided into two phases, where in the first phase it is planned to install 4000 cameras at different points of the city and upgrade 2000 existing cameras. In the second phase, another 6000 CCTV cameras are to be installed on a large scale. About 17 international companies will be involved in the project.
Some important components were also added during the planning process. These include upgrades to the existing CCTV surveillance system, an emergency response system and vehicles, personnel and training facilities, and a digital communications network.

According to SSCA officials, the following brands are involved in the Karachi safe city project:

  • Amped Five
  • Avaya
  • Caterpillar
  • Cisco
  • DJI
  • Global Connect Synergy
  • Hikvision
  • HP
  • Hystar
  • Hytera
  • NRTC
  • Optech
  • Oracle
  • Schneider/APC
  • Toyota/Suzuki
  • Vericom