Outer Norrebro is known as one of the most socially deprived areas in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Green Triangle is a housing complex that has suffered from crime and vandalism. Now a number of social initiatives, combined with a consultant-designed, comprehensive IP video surveillance solution from Milestone Systems, create safer conditions for residents.
The Green Triangle has 47 percent of its residents on a public benefit program, and more than one in 10 households have a member who has a conviction for a criminal act. In June 2010 a new superintendent was hired in a housing area that was marked by repeated burglaries. It was decided to create a safer environment for residents by installing a video surveillance solution.
The building association is responsible for apartment rentals in the Green Triangle, and they contacted the consulting firm Gert Carstensen to get a security assessment of the housing complex. Gert Carstensen went through the area and made the final proposal on management software, where to set up cameras, what kinds of cameras were best suited and which technology should be used.
"We take the role of advisor very seriously. In an area as large as the Green Triangle it is crucial that we make a thorough assessment in close cooperation with those who go there on a daily basis, who know the residents and the places that are most vulnerable to theft and vandalism," explains Kim Hjorthfelt, Director and Engineer at Gert Carstensen.
The project was sent out for tenders and a total of 660 cameras were installed in all the basements, stairwells, laundry rooms, common houses, bicycle rooms, parking garages, playgrounds and outside areas.
Gert Carstensen recommended Milestone Systems as the software supplier for the video surveillance. The building association decided to use XProtect Enterprise, one of Milestone's open platform IP video management software offerings, to manage 2-megapixel and 4-megapixel SANYO cameras. All video is stored on servers for up to 30 days and the entire facility has back-up protection in case of power failure, with storage capacity of up to 200 terabytes.
Previously, the Green Triangle had an analog video surveillance system, but the quality was poor. The building association reports that the Milestone IP network surveillance works perfectly.
"It is my experience that when there is a site as large as in the Green Triangle, Milestone is the best solution. They support many different cameras and the technology is very flexible and easy to operate," says Kim Hjorthfelt.
The superintendent is also happy about the surveillance solution: "The quality of the recorded video is good. You can see down to the smallest detail, and the surveillance is very easy to manage. We can see when there is activity in the recordings, and it means we continually keep track of what is going on."
Several residents had mentioned earlier that they felt unsafe in the area, but after the video surveillance was installed the extent of vandalism dropped dramatically. This is due to several things, says the superintendent:
"We have always communicated openly and honestly to residents about the steps we took, and that includes video surveillance. And the very fact that we now monitor so much has changed people's minds - they know they are being monitored, which has resulted in a marked decline in crime. Residents also know that more vandalism costs mean higher rent."
In additon to the extensive video surveillance, the Green Triangle has launched a range of social measures that will contribute to a better and safer environment for residents. It opened a clubhouse for the area's young boys to meet after school for billiards or video games. Residents can also apply for money from a residential fund earmarked for other activities. In the common house there are initiatives for homework assistance, help for jobseekers, and a number of volunteers run a café.
"We make every effort to employ mainly young people in the area and keep them away from problems. And such social activation, combined with video surveillance, means that the Green Triangle has already become a much better and safer place to live," says the superintendent.