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Declining crime rates in many major cities can be attributed in part
to technological advancements that deter prospective criminals
and bolster rapid response time when crime does occur. New
York City, for example, had a crime rate that decreased by 3 percent
from 2009 to 2013, due in part to an increase in use of IP
security cameras and cutting-edge software that allows thousands of camera feeds
from a single site to be accessed remotely.
Following this approach, property owners of low-income housing projects
across New York City rise above the challenge of unlawful activity by placing emphasis
on well-maintained facilities and on-site security teams that cultivate safety
via video surveillance.
Building from the Ground Up
When Omni New York purchased the River Park complex in the Bronx in 2012,
the purchase was the largest in New York subsidized housing history. The firm
sought to dramatically increase the quality of life for River Park’s more than 4,000
residents by renovating the development’s 1,654 tenant units and drastically reducing
the amount of unwanted or unlawful activity. To achieve this goal, Reliant
Safety, a subsidiary of Omni, devised a comprehensive security solution that
included an on-site security team and thousands of video cameras.
In designing the system, Reliant sought a solution that was easy to install and
operate, and that offered user-friendly VMS that could be effortlessly accessed
by multiple users from a variety of locations. Early on, they conducted thorough
market research into different CCTV system providers, ultimately concluding that
Hikvision equipment was the best choice to meet their needs for ease of use, superior
image quality and innovative software solutions.
One Camera per Unit Keeps Residents Safe
Reliant Safety’s goals included establishing a more secure atmosphere, installing
new cameras to provide comprehensive coverage, both inside and outside of the buildings; and incorporating intelligent
video management software (iVMS) to
streamline and coordinate the solution.
When asked why Omni’s properties
stand out from other subsidized
housing developments, Ash Abolos,
vice president of technology at Reliant
Safety, said, “Every inch of our property
is covered; we usually have on average
one camera per unit.”
The IR Mini Bullet Camera, stationed
in corridors, stairwells, lobbies
and exterior areas of River Park Towers,
works alongside megapixel mini
dome cameras. These hardy cameras
easily withstand harsh weather conditions
and exhibit true day/night surveillance.
In addition, the mini dome
boasts an impact resistance rating
greater than IK10 to safeguard against
even the most determined vandal.
Hikvision’s iVMS-5000 Integral Monitoring
Management System Software
ties the whole solution together.
“This software allows us to manage
all of the new cameras, as well as older,
preexisting models, on one convenient
platform,” Abolos said. “We also use
iVMS-5000 Enterprise to remotely link
the NYPD and our own private security
Hikvision originally developed its
innovative VMS for the Beijing Olympics.
Although the software was initially
made for a closed network, Reliant
identified a need to connect with
the New York City Police Department
(NYPD) during special investigations
into activities in violation of River
Park’s rules and regulations. To ensure
the success of the installation at River
Park and at Omni’s other properties,
Hikvision research and development
custom-tailored the software so it could
travel over the network to client machines.
The reconfigured software was
introduced as iVMS-5000, and now
links River Park’s control room directly
to the NYPD when the need arises.
“We work very closely with the police
department,” Abolos said. “They
have full access to all of our surveillance
systems during any crisis so they
are aware of the surroundings before
they arrive on site.”
Detectives are assigned unique usernames
and passwords as Reliant designates
certain areas for each detective to
access. If they are working on undercover
investigations, for instance, they
can view video footage remotely, enabling
them to observe suspects in detail
without the conspicuous presence
of a police cruiser.
“The police love working with us
because not only do we provide them
remote eyes with our video surveillance
system, but the software is incredibly
easy to use,” Abolos said.
The Impact of Rapid
The combined forces of Reliant’s on-site
security team, NYPD and Hikvision
equipment have all played a role in reducing
criminal activity at River Park Towers. Criminal activity decreased
noticeably as soon as the cameras were
installed, their presence acting as a deterrent
to potential criminals. But, the
function of the system is not simply surveillance;
it boosts response times when
unwanted activities occur and even prepares
the security team for the future.
All facets of this system work in
tandem with tremendously successful
results. Recently a young man who
was wanted by the police came onto the
River Park property but fled before the
police could respond. His image was
captured on camera and stored in the
IP video surveillance system. One week
later, the in-house security team saw him
re-enter the property, called the police
and used the cameras to track the suspect
through the lobby, into the elevator
and up to a unit on the fourteenth floor.
When the police arrived on the
scene, the security team was able to let
them know exactly where the suspect
was. As the police took the elevator up
to the fourteenth floor, the suspect exited
the apartment with another man.
Because the real-time functionality of
the high-definition cameras permitted
the security team to follow the action,
they relayed to the police that their suspects
would be standing in the elevator
lobby as soon as the doors opened.
The police immediately apprehended
one suspect when they exited the
elevator, but the other escaped down
the stairs. He exited the stairwell on the
tenth floor, ran across the hallway and
headed down another stairwell on the
opposite side of the building. The police
who were pursuing him didn’t see
him exit, so they continued down the
first stairwell. Technology upheld the
mission as the security team watching
in the control room was able to follow
every move of the fleeing suspect.
They alerted the police waiting on the
ground level and the second man was
taken into custody as soon as he burst
out into the open.
Such a successful endeavor is a testament
not only to the coordination and quick
action of Reliant Safety and the NYPD,
but to the dependability of the security
equipment for real-time imagery and
software that effortlessly manages multiple
cameras operating in tandem.
Reliant has installed 8,000 Hikvision
cameras in approximately 30 housing
complexes spanning all five boroughs
of New York City and extending
to Omni properties in Boston as well.
“Hikvision’s state of the art technology
gives us the ability to monitor thousands
of real-time video feeds and link
directly to law enforcement during any
incident to immediately respond to the
concerns of our tenants,” Abolos said.
Advanced video surveillance technology
such as this serves the community
by curbing criminal activity while
helping residents feel safer and more
secure in their surroundings.
This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Security Today.