I know I'll be sleeping more soundly tonight.
Police in my town of Addison, Texas, have a new weapon in the fight against crime. The innovative new process uses surveillance cameras, proprietary software and equipment recently installed at the police department's dispatch center. The program, developed by Stealth Monitoring Inc. of Dallas, operates at no cost to taxpayers and is scheduled for a nationwide roll-out this year.
"Video analytics and trained operators are what sets this program apart from others that use video technology," said Norm Charney, Stealth Monitoring CEO. "The interaction of software and human intelligence allows the Stealth control room to cost effectively monitor thousands of cameras from its customers. Any unusual motion or activity instantly draws the attention of the operator by placing an individual camera's live video on the computer screen for quick action."
How does it work? When Stealth employees see suspicious activity, rather than making a phone call and describing the suspect or their actions they can instantly "push" the technology to the Addison Police dispatch center and provide police with the same live video they are observing. The dispatchers determine when a suspect's actions warrant dispatching officers.
Responding officers are provided with real-time suspect descriptions, actions, vehicles and changes in location. Not only will the video provide better information, but it will improve safety for officers as well. A dispatcher might see a suspect hide behind a dumpster just as the officers arrive on the scene and can relay the suspect's movements to the officers in real time.
Addison is upgrading its dispatch center so that they will be able to provide video directly to patrol cars, PDAs or even cell phones of officers who are responding. In addition, the video provides an after action recording feature that can include post-event descriptions of the vehicle used in the crime, video of the criminals and often the vehicle's license plate number.
"This program puts Addison on the cutting edge of technology that will make our city safer and our police officers more effective," said Ron Davis, Addison Chief of Police. "As more businesses and other venues take advantage of this type of technology our dispatchers and police officers will be able to respond more quickly and effectively making it harder for criminals to commit crimes or get away with crimes they have committed."
"Monitoring video feeds isn't new," Charney said. "What is new is our ability to actively live monitor thousands of video feeds from our customers in a cost-effective manner, identify suspicious activity and notify authorities quickly. This is taking technology beyond the event based monitoring that some companies offer. While video from security cameras can be helpful, immediate notification and confirmation of suspicious activity as well as a video feed directly to the police is a major advancement in the reduction of false alarms and crime."
Businesses pay for the monitoring service and equipment. The equipment from Stealth is installed for free at the police department and allows Addison to create a video fusion center without the expenses normally associated with this technology.
"In today's tough economic times a program that provides our department with state-of-the-art technology, monitoring services and video monitoring equipment at no cost to taxpayers, made this a win-win proposal," Davis said.