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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Firearm activated camera control.

10 January, 2008
City surveillance systems in some areas of America have their camera guidance systems linked to gunshot detection devices to home in on firearm incidents.
Gunshot detection has been around for some time and although this is principally a military technology, its deployment across US cities is becoming more widespread. Most noticeable in this area are two companies which feature in today's news, DVTel, who have integrated their surveillance management system with Safety Dynamics' Sentri gunshot detector, and Shotspotter, who are enjoying widespread take up of their system across the states.

The detection system uses acoustic firearm signatures, filtering out echoes, ambient noise and false signals such as fireworks and backfiring cars. Sensor arrays pick up the direction and the on-board camera swivels to the required position and zooms according to range. This is fine if you can afford an intricate matrix of cameras to cover city hotspots but far better to have the technology to feed the location information to the city surveillance network and have the programme determine which cameras to activate and in what direction to point them.

With a military pedigree that has been honed to a level where a moving vehicle's weapons can be instantly trained on the origin of a shot based on its acoustic positioning, controlling static cameras seems easy by comparison. Indeed, using this technology, arrest rates for firearms offences in dozens of American cities have soared.
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