Milestone Surveillance System Reduces Vandalism For Denmark Residents

At a residents' meeting in the spring of 2008, an overwhelming majority of Vollsmose, Denmark's Hojstrup Housing Association voted for increased surveillance, which has resulted in a quantifiable decrease in episodes of vandalism—and thereby a notable savings in their operational costs, which can be used for more beneficial initiatives.

"For years we had video surveillance in our elevators, and it had a very positive effect. When we increasingly had to battle theft and vandalism in other places, the residents decided to expand the system to include other areas. This has created greater security for the residents and a reduction in the amount of both vandalism and thefts," said Inger Aagaard, Association Foreman of Egepark in the Hojstrup Housing Association.

Milestone Partner Atea (formerly TopNordic) won the bid competition against five other companies to implement the new video surveillance solution in the Hojstrup Housing Association. Today there are 120 cameras that are managed with Milestone Systems XProtectT Enterprise IP video software. The solution is a network-based system, which means that multiple users can access it simultaneously from different locations.

Preventive effect

Inspector Jorgen Kristensen from the housing association is one of the users who was given access to see the video. "We don't look at the video all the time. One of the advantages of this system is the fact that it is fully digital. This means that if we get an alert or message about an incident, we can search by time and location to quickly and easily find the precise sequence of events. This saves us a lot of time since we don't have to go through all of the video but can pinpoint exactly what we need to see."

Aagaard emphasized that the goal of the surveillance is to dissuade and prevent criminal activity. According to her, the system has had a quantifiable result: "Shortly after we installed the cameras in the elevators, we could show their preventive effect quite clearly; and this also happened when the system was expanded to more areas. People respect that their misbehavior potentially can be discovered. We have actually experienced one family who earlier had created problems and later voted for increased surveillance. It does work."

Reduced vandalism—more money for the children

The association in Vollsmose also has noted a marked reduction in vandalism and theft, and this has created a safer environment for the residents. It has also contributed to a reduction in costs for the association. In 2007 they used almost a quarter of a million crowns, about $48,000, on repairs due to vandalism. This amount has fallen dramatically to 160,000, about $31,000—a savings that Aagaard attributes to the video surveillance system.

"When we register an incident in the video surveillance system, we immediately send an invoice to the responsible parties, which make people take it seriously. The money we are saving on less vandalism will hopefully lead to a decrease in rental costs, and contribute to more budget for things to keep the youth positively engaged instead of making trouble. The dream is to build new playgrounds and recreational centers, so we see a brighter future," said Aagaard.

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