City Video Surveillance Isn’t Effective Without Analytics

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The modern age us flooding us with information on everything, which can cause great confusion among political and intelligence bodies. The important, relevant information we need is covered by “noise” – irrelevant information or false data that take too much time to handle. So assuming that more accurate information and more of it will allow us to understand the reality – is not necessarily correct. The increase in information is actually what makes solving crimes and terror attacks that much harder.

One of most recognized tools for civil security services in fighting crime is video surveillance, i.e. cameras deployed across the city streets in order to deter criminals from committing crimes or provide information on a crime after it is committed. Although these cameras are supposed to decrease the number of officers needed for patrols, they are still insufficient. The data provided by the cameras and the rest of the sources of information are of no use without proper analysis and management. As video surveillance are becoming increasingly central in public safety, then we should ask how are dangerous incidents still occurring along the city streets, incidents such those in Ferguson and Philadelphia several months ago.

video2015E_300x250Security services are getting massive levels of data that are coming in from social media, from mobiles and other sources. Understanding and gleaning relevant information from the video streams can be assisted through Physical Security Information Management (PSIM), The software provides a platform that integrates all streams of security data into a comprehensive user interface. This PSIM monitors all these various sources of data. It allows them to put together analytic data and incident-management reports they can share—not only in their agencies, but with other agencies in the city and county—so everybody’s on the same page when things occur.

You could say these conclusions had already come up after 9/11. According to a committee report after the attacks, a lot of information on Al-Qaeda’s possible attack was received, but all this information was lost in the vast ocean of data. Experts explained that the attack was successful due to failure to collect, analyze and spread information in real-time. So perhaps we are at a place where we can have all the possible information, even in real-time, but unless we are able to interpret it and to act on it, it will simply remain useless to us.

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