Firetide to Help Prevent Crime in Central Footscray

Firetide, provider of high-performance wireless broadband networks that enable concurrent video, voice and data applications, announced the suburb of Footscray in Melbourne’s Inner West is using the company’s wireless mesh as a key element in their new Public Safety Security Surveillance System. Firetide’s HotPort mesh is the communications foundation for the IP video surveillance system which is part of a larger initiative being driven by the Maribyrnong City Council, State Government, and Victoria Police, to improve security and safety in the high pedestrian traffic retail areas of downtown Footscray.

The Firetide network connects 31 Axis Communications outdoor IP video cameras, a combination of both fixed and PTZ cameras, at 16 locations. Real-time video is sent via the wireless network to the local Police command center where it is viewed live and also recorded.

A trial of the $1.1 million Footscray surveillance system was launched in July 2011, with final system acceptance in mid-September. $650,000 of the cost was sponsored by Maribyrnong City Council and $440,000 from the Department of Planning and Community Development. During the trial period alone, the video cameras are credited with assisting in 107 arrests and 144 penalty notices for public order and drinking offences. 

“We now have the capacity to respond quicker to incidents and to support prosecution with video evidence," said Tony Long, Maribyrnong local area commander.

The project is owned and maintained by Maribyrnong City Council; Victoria Police operate and passively monitor the cameras 24 x 7, as well as record video at the Footscray Police Station. The video can be viewed in real-time, enabling police to identify problems faster and take immediate action. To ensure reliable video performance required the wireless mesh network supports high bandwidth and low latency – each camera requires 2-3 Mbps bandwidth with minimal latency enabling high quality viewing of live video. To ensure high reliability, the mesh network is inherently redundant as part of its architecture -- should a node fail, traffic is automatically rerouted around the failed node. The cameras also are designed for high reliability and can record video locally should the wired network be unavailable.

“Footscray’s state-of-the-art video surveillance is an example of the high value this application provides to augment community safety initiatives – the significant arrest record already achieved speaks for itself,” said Bo Larsson, CEO of Firetide. “We are pleased to have been recommended for this project by SNP Security, working with Anixter Australia Pty Ltd., based upon our proven track record in enabling high performance wireless broadband communications for IP video surveillance and many other municipal applications, in cities around the world.”

SNP Security, one of the leading digital security system integrators in Australia, was selected by the Maribyrnong Council to lead the project and deliver a turnkey solution, including system design, recommendation of technologies and vendors, installation, and configuration of the various components required for the Public Safety CCTV System.

“Local police have indicated that from their point of view, the technology has already proved itself,” said Stuart Pitcher, SNP Security, state manager for Victoria.

A significant challenge presented to SNP Security as part of the Footscray video project was the accelerated timeline – just 3 months from trial to final acceptance.

“SNP Security met the tight schedule of this project due to careful project management and due to the ease of deploying the Firetide mesh network.,” said David Xuereb, SNP Security, project manager.

IPP Consulting was commissioned by Maribyrnong City Council to provide technical advice and project management services for the project. 

“You can’t predict when crime will occur so it is essential to ensure that a surveillance system is reliable. The system has been so effective, that 18 arrests by police were made using the system before it was even commissioned," said Bob Firth, IPP consultant.

The Footscray video surveillance installation coincides with an announcement from the Victorian Department of Justice of a $20 million Community Crime Prevention Program to assist in local crime prevention initiatives.

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