Over the past decade, video surveillance has changed; where it used to be a way of reviewing a crime, it has now become an essential tool for real-time crime prevention. This is thanks to the development and adoption of intelligent, integrated technology. Security firms now have powerful tools at their disposal, enabling them to take a new approach - moving from traditional reactive surveillance methods, to much more effective proactive monitoring.
Traditional CCTV surveillance uses a network of cameras to record activity in certain areas, which is stored as evidence in the event of a crime taking place. Studies have shown that CCTV is, in and of itself, good at preventing certain types of crime, as the physical presence of security cameras can be enough to deter criminals. In urban areas, installing CCTV was found to reduce crime by 16%, and vehicle-related crime by 51% in car parks.
However, traditional “reactive” monitoring has its drawbacks. While cameras might deter offenders and record criminal activity, this isn’t a consistent or reliable way of dealing with the issue. The hard truth is, reactive monitoring depends on crime taking place in order to identify vulnerabilities and improve on them in future. As security methods go, it’s not the most cost-effective, since the potential losses far outweigh the cost of the cameras.
If businesses decide to employ operators to actively monitor cameras, the chances of stopping crime before it happens are higher. However, there is always the possibility of human error - if they are tired or extremely busy, an operator might miss something on the screen. When operators are called upon to monitor multiple screens for hours at a time, reviewing on average 3 alarms every minute during a 12 hour shift, their job becomes even harder, and the risk of missing something becomes even greater.
Proactive monitoring, in its latest and most effective form, uses technology to assist operators and help stop crime before it can take place. The new wave of intelligent surveillance cameras have integrated technology that acts as a first line of defence, spotting any movement that might be a threat. When a camera picks up movement, it sends an alert to the control room, which operators can review and act upon if it is a real threat.
Integrating intelligent technology into security systems converts cameras from recording devices into invaluable tools for detecting and preventing crime.
One of the biggest benefits technology has brought to video surveillance is turning video footage into meaningful, searchable data; by learning what different objects look like, intelligent software builds up a database that operators and law enforcement can mine for information, rather than trawling through hours of old footage. For example, if a break-in took place and the suspect was driving a blue car, it is now possible for an operator to search for all instances of blue cars on the database.
This technology is not only useful for security businesses - it also helps to identify and apprehend criminals more effectively. Real-time alerts are another enormous benefit for monitoring stations and ARCs. By receiving a notification from a camera when it detects movement, operators easily receive useful information about the sites they monitor, which would be difficult to detect from hours of footage.
Alerts also help security professionals develop a better understanding of the areas they monitor thanks to analytics. If certain cameras generate a high volume of alerts, this could be an area that needs extra attention or a different security strategy. On the other hand, it may be that the camera itself needs adjusting by an installer, to make monitoring more effective.
Intelligent technology in action
AI-based technology like Calipsa helps control rooms and ARCs to detect and prevent crime more effectively. As you can see in this example from FLR Security, Calipsa's False Alarm Filtering Platform successfully flagged human activity on site, and forwarded this to monitoring staff who were able to immediately review and respond to the incident.
"Calipsa has been a huge help for our operators. Technology that cuts through all the noise of false alarms gives us the time to focus on genuine threats, and valuable analytics after the event. When we’re doing our job to the best of our ability, that means our clients are as safe as possible."
David Seal, ARC Manager - FLR Security
Intelligent technology allows businesses to be more flexible in their approach to site security. Camera alerts are extremely useful, and much better than the alternative of continuously watching a screen, but they can also be a hindrance for ARC operators when the alarms are false. As cameras are so sensitive to movement, but not intelligent enough to distinguish what the object is, around 95% of camera alerts are false; for example, these alerts could be a cat running across the site, or trees in the wind.
Integrating other technologies can help relieve the burden of false alarms for operators, making them even more productive. For example, video analytics software like Calipsa’s False Alarm Filtering Platform identifies true alarms and removes over 90% of the false ones, so that operators don’t have to.
With intelligent video analytics, you can monitor specific areas of a site by blocking out, or “masking” irrelevant zones on the screen, only send alerts through at certain times of day, or even learn what certain threats look like, such as people and cars.
Operators in ARCs and monitoring stations are freed from watching the screen for every possible threat - now, they can focus on applying their expertise to acting on the genuine threats that occur. By integrating technology into their day-to-day operations, security firms are much better equipped to fight crime faster and more effectively than before.