Security Down Under

School seeks to develop a campus-wide security plan to create a safe and open learning environment

FOUNDED IN 1850, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY IS ONE OF THE OLDEST UNIVERSITIES IN AUSTRALIA, ATTRACTING STUDENTS, STAFF AND RESEARCHERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO ITS STATE-OF-THE-ART CAMPUS. DEDICATED TO PROVIDING A SAFE AND SECURE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH STAFF AND STUDENTS CAN ACHIEVE THEIR TEACHING, LEARNING AND RESEARCH GOALS, THE UNIVERSITY HAS DEPLOYED A HIGH-DEFINITION SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM AS A KEY ELEMENT OF ITS CAMPUS-WIDE SECURITY PLAN.

The goal was to reduce crime, and statistics show that the University of Sydney has achieved a reduction of 25 percent year-over-year with Avigilon HD Surveillance System.

SECURING A SMALL CITY

With approximately 32,000 full-time students, 16,000 part-time students, and 16,000 staff and affiliates, the University of Sydney faces the same security risks as a small city including theft, disorderly conduct, assault and vandalism.

“Spread across six campuses, more than 1,300 acres of open space, and more than 6 million square feet of indoor area, we actually have our own postal code,” said Morgan Andrews, manager of the campus security unit at the university.

With an existing analog-based system in some of its buildings, the university decided it was time to expand coverage to all major open spaces including pedestrian corridors, athletic fields, and all entry and exit points. After undergoing a thorough review of seven high-definition surveillance system manufacturers, the University of Sydney selected Avigilon.

“We wanted to find the best way to achieve our surveillance goals for the best value,” Andrews said. “It made more sense for us to deploy a higher grade system than one that involves more, less powerful cameras that require multiple installations.”

DEVELOP A CAMPUS-WIDE SECURITY PLAN

Security officers monitor the Avigilon HD surveillance system 24/7 from a central control room using Control Center Enterprise Network VMS with HD Stream Management. The university uses 100 Avigilon HD cameras ranging from 1 MP to 16 MP and Avigilon HD 360 panoramic dome cameras to provide coverage of its campuses and has installed more than 45 Avigilon analog video encoders to improve the performance of its existing analog-based cameras.

With superior image quality and zooming capabilities, the HD surveillance system has enabled the university to install fewer cameras and to leverage its existing network infrastructure to save on installation and maintenance costs. Security officers have improved investigative capability and reduced investigation times. By integrating surveillance with an access control and intruder alarm system, university security guards are better prepared to respond to emergencies and the crime rate was reduced by 25 percent.

To improve the performance of its existing 190 analog-based cameras, the university deployed Avigilon analog video encoders.

“By dramatically improving image quality, the analog video encoders have extended the life of our existing analog-based cameras, saving us a significant infrastructure investment,” Andrews said. “We can monitor our classrooms and labs with just one 360 panoramic HD camera instead of two or three analog-based cameras.”

USABILITY FOR GREATER EFFICIENCIES

The search capabilities within the control center software have proven invaluable for security officers, who have reduced investigations from days or hours to just minutes.

“The software is so easy to use, it has allowed us to improve the success of our investigations and also save time,” Andrews said.

For example, the university installed one HD camera to monitor its entire boardwalk, an area that would require up to 15 analog-based cameras. With just one camera to monitor, the university can track a person moving along the boardwalk for a seamless view of an incident instead of having to switch from camera to camera. In fact, the university recently leveraged the HD surveillance system to capture indisputable evidence of a robbery that occurred on the boardwalk, which resulted in an arrest and conviction.

“We clearly identified the perpetrator from 200 yards out,” Andrews said.

The HD surveillance system has played a key role in multiple investigations because the University can provide information to local police to finalize a criminal incident.

SURVEILLANCE INTEGRATES WITH ACCESS CONTROL

One of the key requirements for the new HD surveillance system was that it be able to integrate easily with the University’s existing Cardax access control and intruder alarm system to further assist in investigations.

“By integrating the surveillance system with the access control and alarm system, we can better assess a situation before we dispatch our guards,” Andrews said. “Now we can determine the nature of the call and prepare our officers to handle the situation appropriately.”

The integrated surveillance and access control and alarm system also helps save time, freeing up guards from having to respond to non-urgent situations, like when an alarm is accidentally set off.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Security Today.

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