Technology upgrades heighten security on L.A.'s Skid Row
- By David Darling
- May 01, 2011
Los Angeles Mission, a nonprofit organization, serves the homeless
living on the streets of downtown’s Hope Central (known as
Skid Row). It is benefiting from a new IP video network that is
centrally controlled by a video management system that encodes
and integrates existing analog cameras. Installed by security integration
specialists at ISO Integration, the new video surveillance system is designed
for greater scalability, higher operational efficiency and excellent ease
of use while also leveraging prior-installed analog video cameras to preserve
the mission’s long-term security investment.
The challenge was to secure the mission’s indoor and outdoor premises
and reduce crime to protect staff and property. The primary goal was to consolidate
the three DVRs and the previously installed analog cameras to a single
platform capable of long-term video storage; install additional IP cameras
to increase protection for the mission’s kitchen, store room and perimeter;
and maintain flexibility for future expansion.
In order to meet these challenges, L.A. Mission seamlessly manages nearly
75 cameras with the Avigilon HD surveillance system, using Avigilon control
center network video management software with high-definition stream
management and installed Avigilon high-definition cameras to monitor the
building’s perimeter. Avigilon analog video encoders are designed to improve
the performance of existing analog cameras, and the system is monitored
from users’ desktops or remotely when necessary. The mission also stores 30-
plus days of continuous surveillance video footage.
By delivering clear and identifiable images, the surveillance system has
helped to reduce security management costs. Leveraging use of JPEG 2000
compression technology and advanced motion detection capabilities, the
mission has been able to reduce storage costs and improve search capabilities
for greater investigative success. This has allowed the organization to reduce
crime-related incidents significantly.
Addressing Security Challenges
Founded in 1936, L.A. Mission has been located at three different addresses
in its lifetime; from 1949 until January 1992, operations were based at 443
South Los Angeles Street. The current 156,000-square-foot facility, located at
303 East 5th Street, opened on Jan. 21, 1992. Because of the guidance and
direction of both current and past leaders, the mission is fulfilling its mandate
to reach those who are destitute and alone. Having begun as a small rescue
mission, it is now among the nation’s largest service providers to the homeless.
The organization continues to provide hot meals, safe shelter, clothing, personal
care and life-transforming long-term rehabilitation to hungry, hurting
and homeless men, women and children.
“We are very pleased with our partnership with ISO Integration and the
investment in this surveillance system to help us meet our security challenges,”
said Ron Rector, vice president of facilities and operations at L.A. Mission.
“The system has improved our response time, decreased the time to search
and save incidents, raised staff security awareness and is protecting the mission’s
assets from theft and vandalism.
“The surveillance system has helped us secure the front of the building,
where the highest level of activity occurs, as well as the kitchen and storage
areas, where we have seen an immediate drop in theft.”
Located in the heart of L.A., the mission is ground zero for those in need.
“Our facility caters to the needs of the less fortunate and often desperate,”
Rector said. “And as a result, the atmosphere can change without warning.”
After a string of thefts, Rector was given approval to upgrade from an old,
unreliable, and ineffective analog-based surveillance system to the power and
advanced functionality of the Avigilon HD Surveillance System.
“We use the Avigilon HD Surveillance System in forensic mode, so image
clarity and advanced search functionality were key requirements. When
we compared the Avigilon HD Surveillance System to our old analog-based
system, it became very clear why we needed to make the change,” Rector said.
With the new video surveillance system installed, the mission also installed
new IP video surveillance cameras alongside existing analog video
cameras, integrating the new and legacy systems into a single unified control
and monitoring platform that is highly scalable along various paths. Analog-to-
IP video encoders were used to produce an IP stream from the analog cameras,
facilitating integration with the new pure IP cameras. Repurposing the
analog equipment protects and extends the mission’s prior investments and
also serves as a “green” approach that keeps viable equipment in play rather
than discarding it.
This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Security Today.