Hitting a Home Run

Little League World Series uses network cameras to ensure athlete and spectator safety

Every August, the Little League International World Series brings more than 300,000 visitors to the small town of South Williamsport, Pa. With a population of 6,000, the community’s resources could easily be overwhelmed by providing ample security for athletes, visiting dignitaries and spectators. Even though the venue hires auxiliary security staff for the event and receives additional support from the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons and a host of other volunteers, Little League baseball believes that video surveillance is an essential element of its total security program.

For 12 years, Lenel Systems International, a Rochester, N.Y.-based provider of turnkey security systems, has donated products and services for the event’s access control and digital video security systems. The solution includes more than two dozen Axis Communications network cameras deployed around the stadiums and dormitory complex. Lenel’s intuitive video management system allows security staff to control the cameras remotely, spot suspicious packages and vehicles, help locate missing people and verify badge holders’ IDs when they swipe their access control cards.

In keeping with the carefree, family atmosphere of the Little League World Series, the subtle presence of video cameras has been instrumental in maintaining crowd control, finding lost children in a sea of spectators, preventing unauthorized entry into the dorms and measuring crowd size. With the advanced technology in place, the South Williamsport stadium transforms from a rural ball field into one of the safest sports venues in the country.

“Axis cameras are an integral part of our total security program,” said Jim Ferguson, director of security for Little League Baseball and Softball International. “Without them, ensuring the security and safety of our players and fans would be much more difficult.”

Protecting the Diamond
The Little League World Series -- the largest youth sports program in the world -- draws teams and families from around the globe, as well as high-profile spectators such as heads of state and international dignitaries. Keeping participants, family and fans safe during the two-week competition requires a massive coordinated effort involving local, state and federal law enforcement in addition to a contingency security force hired specifically to patrol the complex during the playoffs.

“We house our athletes on-site in the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, which includes dorms, dining halls and recreational facilities for players and coaches,” Ferguson said, “so we need to monitor our complex 24-7. Even with extra law enforcement and security in place, without video surveillance it would be impossible to maintain the level of security parents expect when they entrust their children to our care.”

To augment permanently installed Axis network cameras, Little League International relied on Lenel Systems to set up several dozen more network cameras donated by Axis Communications to expand surveillance during the series.

To cover the heavily wooded area surrounding the International Grove, Lenel installed AXIS Q1910-E thermal network cameras for fence line perimeter detection. To supplement guards, metal detectors and access control badges at the gates, Lenel integrated fixed-dome network cameras with an image database to verify the identity of cardholders.

Flagging Suspicious Behavior
Lenel also installed PTZ network cameras to continuously sweep the crowd, looking for potential hot spots, such as large groups congregating in a single area. High-powered optical zooms, coupled with Lenel’s On- Guard IntelligentVideo software, alert security to objects left behind -- such as a cooler near the bleachers -- enabling officers to scan video quickly, locate the owner in real time and identify the contents without having to raise an alarm.

“We treat these threats seriously,” Ferguson said. “But at the same time we don’t want to cause a panic or make people feel like they’ve entered a prison yard. This is a family-friendly venue. If we’re doing our job right, nobody should know we’re there.”

Lenel also deployed a number of network cameras with two-way audio that allows the operations center to communicate with security guards patrolling the premises.

“It bridges the gap between physical and electronic security,” Ferguson said.

Finding Lost Children
With the sheer volume of people attending every game, lost children and medical emergencies are bound to occur. Using video analytics, security searches camera feeds by clothing color and highlights anyone matching that description.

“We’ve actually been able to find quite a few missing people with the camera system before physical security guards were able to spot them,” Ferguson said. “It’s really reduced our time-to-find, which, I can assure you, is a big relief to anxious parents.”

Ahead of the Curve
“Every year we get bigger, better and more efficient,” Ferguson said.

This year Lenel rolled out Axis thermal cameras to spot intruders lurking in the shadows, Axis High PoE PTZ cameras for 360-degree endless pan and crystal-clear 35x optical zoom, and advanced analytics for tighter integration between surveillance and access control.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    The Importance of Proactive Security Measures: 4 Stories of Regret

    We all want to believe that crime won’t happen to us. So, some business owners hope for the best and put proactive security measures on the back burner, because other things like growth, attracting new customers, and meeting deadlines all seem more pressing. Read Now

  • Today's Enterprise

    Protecting servers and data has evolved rapidly over the past 15-plus years. Early on, concerns centered around the environmental conditions of where servers were housed within a building and the effects of humidity, temperature and air quality on their performance. This led to a better understanding of the need for a controlled environment to maximize equipment lifespan and capacity. It was also a driving force behind consolidating servers in a common space, i.e., the data center. Read Now

  • Study Proves It: Security Awareness Training Reduces Phishing Attacks

    Attackers are increasingly targeting human-based vulnerabilities to infiltrate organizations. Humans have direct access to insider systems and data – any threat actor can easily phish users, steal their credentials and secure keys to the kingdom without having to fight advanced cybersecurity defenses. Studies show social engineering attacks and human errors are behind 68% of all breaches.  Read Now

  • Security Questions Persist After Attempted Assassination Attempt of Donald Trump

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3

  • Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems, an industry-leading manufacturer of pedestrian and vehicle secure entrance control access systems, is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking V07 software. The V07 software update is designed specifically to address cybersecurity concerns and will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Automatic Systems applications. With the new V07 software, updates will be delivered by means of an encrypted file. 3