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Surveillance Technology Looking To Tag Out Graffiti

It’s a $12 billion issue in the United States each year. Drive around pretty much any large urban area and you’ll see it -- graffiti.

But Law Enforcement Associates Corp. is hoping to curb the problem with its Graffiti Cam, which proactively notifies law enforcement of graffiti-related activity.

Introduced at ASIS last week in Las Vegas, the Graffiti Cam is anchored by a high-resolution camera located in an all-weather enclosure. When the unit is activated due to graffiti-related motion, the camera sends text messages to designated cell phones and e-mails JPEG photos to specific addresses, allowing law enforcement to dispatch personnel to the scene.

And since the unit is covertly disguised in housing, criminals are less likely to notice they are being recorded, helping law enforcement score more arrests.

“The United States spends approximately $12 billion each year on graffiti remediation,” said Paul Feldman, LEA’s president and CEO “Our goal is to give that money back to the community by enabling arrests, securing opportunities for restitution and ultimately reducing graffiti-related crime.”

The camera, which has a range from two feet to more than a quarter-mile, can capture up to 6,000 high-quality images at 0.1 seconds per frame to aid in the identification and conviction. The Graffiti Cam also is mobile, allowing law enforcement to move the unit to specific problem areas.

In addition to crimes of graffiti, the unit can be used to monitor for drug-and gang-related activity, vandalism and theft.

“The packaging and real-time notification of the Graffiti Cam is going to be a tremendous asset to the anti-gang efforts of law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said LEA customer Dan Heinz, training consultant to the Department of Homeland Security. “The Graffiti Cam will allow for the dual capture of both the evidence and the perpetrator of the crime. I look forward to training officers on the product.”

The product has already drawn interest from major cities like Denver, which spends more than $1 million per year on graffiti cleanup. The city has created a Graffiti Task Force with the goal of eliminating the problem by 2010.

The task force, which includes the Department of Safety and Denver Police Department, plans to employ eight Graffiti Cams across the city.

“We’re eagerly anticipating using the product to help us catch criminals in the act and hold them accountable for their crimes through strict penalties on restitution and community service,” said Denver Police Commander Doug Stephens.

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior e-news/Web editor for Security Products and Network-Centric Security magazines.

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