The municipality of Egedal in Denmark has experienced a significant drop in crime since the implementation of a surveillance system based on Milestone XProtect Enterprise open platform video management software. The number of vandalism acts alone has fallen by 90%.
When the children and personnel of Egedal come to school on a Monday morning, it is now with a feeling of comfort and safety – but it has not always been like this. The public institutions have had visits from unwelcome guests, who vandalized or broke into the properties. These incidents cost a lot of money for the government budgets. When several county districts were combined in recent years, Egedal decided to renovate a number of buildings, with a simultaneous agreement to reduce the scope of these crimes once and for all.
"For many years we fought against vandalism, especially in the schools, and it was hard on the students. It wasn’t fair that every Monday morning they had to fear finding their classrooms destroyed or their computers stolen. So we investigated the options and discovered that IP network video surveillance was the absolute right solution," says Henrik Jørgensen, Head of First Response for Egedal.
In 2008 Egedal registered glass repairs totalling 700,000 Danish crowns - one school alone had damages totalling a quarter of a million. Around Christmas that year an unknown perpetrator smashed 36 windows in the city hall. The municipality was 70,000 Danish crowns poorer as a result, but richer in experience. Video surveillance has now become part of the daily procedure here – and not just for the purpose of managing costs from vandalism, but just as importantly to ensure a safe environment for citizens.
Since the video surveillance was installed in 2009, the amount of vandalism has fallen by 90 percent. Egedal is using the Milestone IP video management software platform to control network cameras installed in the sports halls, school yards, libraries, job centres, inter-city train stations and other vulnerable areas throughout the district.
Only Egedal security staff and central institution managers have access to the surveillance system, and all recordings are deleted after 30 days, unless they are needed as evidence material. They report that it is easy to get an overview of live video or recordings and identify troublemakers. When a first responder gets an alert about a something happening, he can check the video before driving to the site.
"Among other things, it’s possible to scroll back and forth between images, compare and synchronize recordings from different views and locations in the same time period, and zoom in on the perpetrators. The Milestone software is working with vandal-resistent video cameras from ACTi, HIKvision, Mobotix, IQeye and Axis, and the PTZ cameras pan and focus automatically, following motion themselves. With the high image quality and frame rates per second set up in the software, the system catches many details," explains Christian Bruzelius Director of Bruzelius El ApS, who installed the solution in Egedal.
The video surveillance has already proven its worth as material for the police, and it also has a valuable preventive effect, reports Henrik Jørgensen. "Often we don’t even have to hand over the evidence to the police. In cases where lawbreaking is done by young people, we talk to them first ourselves, then to the school principal or a social worker, and the parents. When the proof exists and the cost of the vandalism is on their heads, we’ve experienced that such youth trouble has fallen greatly."
Egedal’s investment in the Milestone IP video management platform is measurably paying off with the reduction in vandalism and break-ins to community property. And that’s not the end of this story. According to Henrik Jørgensen, the district will continue to follow technology developments in surveillance, and they have already laid plans for the future:
"We are constantly in contact with both Bruzelius El, who installed our solution, and with Milestone. The great thing about the XProtect open platform is that it can be integrated with many different types and models of hardware or software. And if we have a suggestion for Milestone to develop something, they are always interested to investigate new ideas."
Plans include mobile clients in Egedal’s guard vehicles. Via 3G connection to the internet in the cars, security guards can see live video from the area’s many cameras. This gives more flexibility for security, ensuring that guards are not limited by being in one place physically. Via mobile surveillance, a guard only has to log in to the central system to get his access to the video to follow different situations at the same time – able to react before a incidents have a chance to escalate.
"With this technology security guards can track a situation developing and act before it’s too late, or make sure they don’t chase after a false alarm. This really saves on municipality resources and strengthens our position against crime," asserts Henrik Jørgensen, and concludes: "We make big demands on our security and choose only solutions that are the most advanced in the market. This is also why we have surveillance cameras and other equipment from many different manufacturers, and why the Milestone open platform is the alpha and omega for us: it can be built up and scale out with no limits."