High Profile Events

Keeping the network secure helps protect Boston Marathon runners

Boston is not only Massachusetts’ largest city and capital; it is the largest city in New England. With a territory stretching 48 square miles and an estimated population of 645,966, it holds the title of the 24th largest city in the United States.

The city is an important manufacturing hub, port and cultural center. Its many colleges and universities have made the city an international center for higher education, as well as a world leader in medicinal innovation. Additionally, Boston’s rich history attracts an astounding number of tourists each year. The colonial-era Faneuil Hall alone draws more than 20 million visitors annually.

Since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, officials at sports facilities and special events throughout the country have increased their focus on public safety. In addition, city officials have sought to provide enhanced coverage for events like the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which attracts nearly 750,000 people.

Realizing the need for stronger surveillance in high-profile locations such as the marathon route, the city of Boston decided to increase civilian protection. The new security measures included doubling law enforcement personnel to about 3,500, the addition of bomb-sniffing dogs, and a SWAT team provided by the FBI.

The Boston Police Department worked with experienced companies to install a robust IP-based surveillance network to enhance video coverage in high-risk areas. Efficient security for events such as these requires shared visibility of common areas in public-private partnerships. Participants included LAN-TEL Communications, a Norwood, Mass.-based contractor; Sonet Electrical Systems of Woburn, Mass.; and Motorola of Schaumburg, Ill.

Officials leveraged DVTEL’s enterprise-class Latitude Network Video Management System (NVMS) and associated cameras to safeguard more than 30,000 runners and nearly one million spectators along the 26.2-mile course. Equipment was positioned strategically in various areas surrounding the parade with live video feeds from the cameras streaming instantaneously back to Boston Police headquarters. Latitude NVMS was chosen to merge existing, standalone DVTEL video surveillance systems in the Metro Boston area into a single, unified system for routine monitoring, scene recording and general investigation that will achieve new levels of intelligence.

More than 30 quick-deploy cameras were designed into a system by a skilled team of technicians in the weeks prior to the events. The devices, specifically designed for this type of deployment, each carried NEMA enclosures housing a camera, network switch, and power supply. The pre-configured units were deployed for pole mounting on street and traffic lights and wall-mounted on the sides of buildings throughout South Boston.

This approach provided the police with a direct overview of the parade route, while delivering live video to command center personnel for immediate monitoring. The security installation also integrated the monitoring of all cameras via DVTEL’s Latitude Network Video Management System. In addition to the cameras, Shot Spotter’s gunshot detection solution was integrated into the video management system. DVTEL Cloud Services was used to monitor all system health components.

Boston’s investment in a robust IP-based surveillance platform via DVTEL has allowed the city to minimize potential security risks and build a proactive approach to preventing threats to public safety. This comprehensive and effective approach to gathering intelligence has ultimately created a higher level of security for Boston’s residents and visitors.

Law enforcement and race officials monitored activity from multi-agency command centers to maximize efforts, while ensuring collaboration between law enforcement, event organizers, and other aligned stakeholders. DVTEL’s Latitude NVMS provided global situational awareness by linking several separate camera networks to a single entity for greater visibility, and to provide more insight into safety and security operations.

Following the success of the 2015 Boston Marathon, other race and special event organizers are looking to Boston for inspiration on how to best address their own security challenges. This year’s race is a testament to the capabilities of today’s surveillance technology, as well as the power of collaboration between police, event organizers and other stakeholders.

“Since the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon, race officials throughout the country have made security a number one priority,” said Yoav Stern, CEO of DVTEL. “DVTEL is proud to be a part of Boston’s efforts to ensure safety, while providing law enforcement with greater visibility to effectively and efficiently respond to incidents. This year’s collaborative efforts were deemed a success, and other race and special event organizers are now looking to Boston as a model for their future security endeavors.”

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Security Today.

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