Live Video Feeds to Law Enforcement
Live feed video surveillance is the future of crime prevention.
However, many city law enforcement agencies perceive it as a costly solution, requiring too much time, staff, and resources to implement and support. Some believe it requires dispensaries and businesses to purchase compatible surveillance systems and law enforcement to develop state-of-the-art IT data centers.
But what if it were far simpler to get a live feed video surveillance system installed?
• What if there were a way to make it easy to implement and support, requiring nothing more than an Internet connection, a Web browser, and existing video surveillance systems?
• What if law enforcement agencies could get the project approved quickly because it required minimal budget and no hidden costs?
• What if a basic live feed surveillance system could be installed in your city, in all precincts, meeting legislation requirements within 90 days?
There is a simpler approach for implementing live feed surveillance systems. It requires nothing more than a browser, an IP address, username and password. And it allows the dispensaries and businesses to keep their existing systems. All within 90 days.
Why we need live feed video surveillance
Since January 2016, Las Vegas has documented more than 26 burglaries and robberies, including at least one officer-involved shooting, related to marijuana dispensaries.
Although voters and legislators in a number of states have legalized marijuana, there are some dispensary-related regulations that continue to make them crime targets.
One example is regulation that prohibits dispensaries from making bank deposits, turning them into cash-only businesses. The large amount of cash on premises encourages robberies and burglaries at and around the dispensary. To balance the rising crime rate resulting from this regulation, legislators often mandate dispensaries to install surveillance camera systems.
These surveillance system mandates have evolved to become standards and best practices for how dispensary surveillance systems should work. The legislation often includes guidelines for storing surveillance footage, camera placement, camera resolution, and surveillance footage access.
These surveillance systems have proven effective to reduce crime rates, but what if law enforcement agencies could have direct access to a dispensary’s live video feed? We believe this would further reduce crime at and around a dispensary.
Live feed benefit: the right response - fast
If there were a crime in progress at a dispensary, an employee most likely would call 911 for assistance. The 911 dispatcher may not fully understand the complete situation unfolding at the dispensary based on the call alone. However, to respond to the call, he would contact officers for help. The first responder law enforcement officials would arrive at the dispensary, assess the situation from outside, and contact additional backup, if needed. They would be arriving with little knowledge about the situation and would need to make judgement calls without knowing what’s really happening inside, in real-time.
We know that most robberies are completed in minutes, so response time, complete information, and fast decisions matter.
A live feed changes the situation described. Let’s follow the same scenario with a live feed available.
The dispensary employee would call 911 or press a panic button. Rather than finding available officers to assist, a dispatcher would immediately access the video feed, assess the situation, broadcast it to available law enforcement, and send the right team to help. This style of response would reduce the time needed for law enforcement to respond appropriately and increase the likelihood of catching the suspects in the act.
Other live feed benefits
There are other benefits of live videos feeds setup between law enforcement and the dispensaries (or any organization).
Reduce criminal intent and behaviors
People’s behaviors change when they are under live surveillance or notice a surveillance camera. Underage customers reconsider their purchases. Criminal intent for robberies, burglaries and other illegal activities are reconsidered because perpetrators know that officers will respond quickly and that the crime would be recorded and used in court.
Improved response time
Once dispatch is notified, law enforcement could witness the action real-time through the dispensary camera, evaluate the situation, and get the right team to respond quickly. More information at the time of the 911 call would decrease response time significantly.
Reduce false alarms
Once notified, law enforcement would be able to observe the live feed, assess the situation, and confirm with the dispensary if help is truly needed. No need to respond to a false alarm.
Increase police safety
Situations can escalate quickly. That’s why it is important for law enforcement to have visibility into a situation before entering the premises. Officers can view the situation inside the dispensary from dispatch, a Real Time Crime Center, in their car and call backup if necessary.
Increase public safety
The cameras positioned outside of the dispensary would also improve safety in the surrounding neighborhood. Not only could law enforcement respond to calls in the dispensary and assess the situation there, but they could use the live feed to assess situations just outside the dispensary. Cameras in sight would reduce criminal intent and, if someone did call 911, law enforcement could respond quickly, knowing what is happening.
Why don’t we do this everywhere today, even beyond the dispensaries?
Camera system manufacturers typically don’t support open standards to work between different systems. For example, if a police department has Video Management Software (VMS), they would need to be sure that all dispensaries and other businesses with live feeds would be able to transmit footage to that system. However, that system could only connect with camera systems of the same brand. This means that all the marijuana dispensaries within a jurisdiction would need to purchase the VMS camera system or install additional hardware/software to communicate with that police department’s VMS.
Increased surveillance system cost and implementation timeline for the dispensaries and law enforcement
The process to select a system that requires this level of commitment from the city and community could take 3-5 years. The cost to implement a data center and support the hardware and software for a system could cost upwards of at least $2-3M. Each standalone system for a dispensary could cost $6-10K and take at least a month to install at each location.
This may not include hidden costs of maintenance, repairs, and other hardware and software to maintain the system.The likelihood that this expenditure would be approved by a finance committee is low and plan revisions would be needed.
Conflict of interest
When a municipality requires citizens to buy from a single company, there can be a conflict of interest. The community may be suspicious about intentions and who exactly benefits from such a deal. This adds another factor to implementation - overcoming community perceptions.
With proprietary infrastructure, everyone has to purchase that system’s hardware and software. If a municipality wanted to expand the program to include other businesses and residences, they would need to have everyone in the community purchase the same industrial system. This is great for the vendor, but is this best for the community or the municipality?
Business purchases a system to get on the network - not to support their business
Different businesses have different needs. To force all businesses to purchase the same equipment would be deciding that they all needed the same solution. Most small businesses purchase a surveillance system with only their own single site in mind. To ask them to participate in the municipality plan would require them to spend more time and money.
Service expectations and SLAs
With the product requirement from law enforcement, many dispensaries will expect a type of SLA agreement for safety and possible system maintenance and repair. What if the system fails? Who will fix it?
One of the largest movie theater companies in the US was looking for a surveillance camera system directly connected to law enforcement to follow regulations because they sold alcohol. They decided to use an open network because it was scalable, economical, and increased network safety. Further, they created a new network, which had no connection with purchase data or other sensitive information, specifically to support their security feeds. This reduced IT risk and improved overall security.
A better approach and a solid vision
Based on feedback we received from dispensaries and law enforcement agencies, we have developed a solid vision of what the ideal system should do:
Support open standard and not require proprietary software or hardware.
Different camera systems should seamlessly connect to any law enforcement system. There should be no need for special hardware, software, or additional purchases
The voters and legislators would like to see this implemented quickly after voting for the dispensaries to be legalized. Waiting years for a live feed surveillance system to be implemented puts the dispensary owners and neighborhoods at a high crime risk that is preventable.
No need to build new IT infrastructure.
Leverage what already exists for communication infrastructure, in this case, the Internet. There should be no need to create a data center or provide video storage. The dispensaries can address that themselves.
No need for on-site software.
Subscription SaaS solutions are popular because there is no need to maintain or remember to upgrade software and equipment. This could be a great way to achieve scalability across multiple law enforcement precincts - fast for little cost.
Dispensaries may be limited by costs to install state-of-the art systems offered by the preferred vendor for a city. They may have purchased their own systems and be reluctant to change. Law enforcement agencies may also be limited by budgets and the cost of implementing state of the art IT data centers. Why implement such complexities if they really aren’t necessary?
Improve network security.
Rather than leverage existing systems that contain highly sensitive data or build a data center that will require built in security, create a separate system for the security network alone.
90 days to having a surveillance system in your city
The voters and legislators expect a fast solution for what they voted to make legal. Years of evaluation and implementation is too long. $2-3M costs too much.
Our solution, Public Safety Online (PSO), can be implemented in 90 days, no IT data center required, at a fraction of the cost of traditional live feed systems.
PSO is a web based technology leveraging the IoT (Internet of Things) that connects all surveillance camera systems. We connect video systems to the cloud, allowing a dispensary surveillance system to broadcast a video stream to law enforcement through a browser.
How we implement it:
Law enforcement agencies only need an Internet connection and a Web browser. Dispensaries and businesses can use their existing surveillance systems. We help by providing the connectivity services.
Some benefits of this system:
There is no need to store the video onsite at law enforcement.
The video footage can be saved and recorded at the dispensary according to regulations. This removes the need of FOIA requests to law enforcement offices.
No need to upgrade or change a dispensary camera system that meets regulations.
It could be analog or digital. It doesn’t matter, as long as the system can connect to the Internet to broadcast to law enforcement.
Easy setup and maintenance. Law enforcement can be setup with KTI’s solution in a few days.
There is no need for IT staff to maintain software or hardware. The system uses a browser for viewing.
No plug-ins needed.
All it needs is a standard, current browser. For added security, we create a tunnel from our firewall to yours, for your own private viewing to add extra security.
Most law enforcement agencies are on FirstNet. We support that.
Complete audit trail for tracking.
You have full user management, knowing the dates and times officers are accessing the system
The voters and legislators will be happy that the project is completed quickly, shortly after legalization. The financial office will be happy that costs are low. The community will be happy with the safety improvements and improved response times. The dispensaries will be happy that they don’t need to buy new equipment for a live feed.
Most importantly, law enforcement can prove that they are ahead of the curve regarding community safety and new security approaches. They can reduce crime, improve response time, and decrease officer risk in various situations with better live information. All this comes with minimal investment, minimal implementation effort, and close to no infrastructure changes.
All it takes is getting KTI’s PSO solution and 90 days.
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