Protecting Public Spaces: Video Surveillance Everywhere

By Bill Hogan

Security for outdoor spaces is nothing new – the feasibility of wireless and solar applications now means that our outdoor parking lots, parks and other public spaces can be fully monitored regardless of their specific location or access to a fiber network.

Now, more and more municipalities want to enhance and provide improved security at parks and other open gathering spaces. Overall, the public has come to accept the practice of heightened security whether they are inside a school, retail store, visiting the local park or gathering for a community rally.

For one community, the city’s dog park served as the latest outdoor location to benefit from a security system. The impetus behind this idea in the City of Ferndale, Michigan, was to improve security and provide a controlled environment for those who frequent its dog park. Residents who pay a $40 annual membership fee and $10 fee for a key fob can gain access to a safe, secure and well-lighted dog park where residents can mingle with their canine friends. This combination of access control and video has enabled the city to monitor how frequently people are visiting the dog park. It also provides greater security within the entire facility, making visitors feel safe whether they visit the dog park first thing in the morning or at dusk.

The Eastern Market District in Detroit, an outdoor market averaging over 20,000 visitors each weekend is an active produce market with ongoing market activity daily. Increasingly it is a destination location but also features great restaurants, retail and now urban residential housing including lofts. The Eastern Market District needed a way to effectively monitor this area and the business activity nearby.

In this instance, public and private sectors teamed up to ensure grow the surveillance footprint with video streaming to the EMD command center. Local businesses are sharing the video from their surveillance devices with the Eastern Market, which then shares the information with the police. The result is improved security for all businesses and the public within the Eastern Market District.

Security everywhere – maybe not everywhere but it’s probably coming to a park near you soon.