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The LAPD says their Wi-Fi-linked video surveillance in Watts has caused crime to plummet: Video surveillance has a particular emphasis around the Jordan Downs housing project as gang members are forbidden by injunction “to loiter, congregate, drink in public, and carry weapons,” Information Week writes. Traffic is down in that one area by 32 percent, and smaller declines in adjacent neighborhoods.
The Beaverton, Ore., police department has wired up 40 cruisers to use a new public safety wireless network: The network allows typical uses like handling email, retrieving mug shots, and looking up priors. The network started with downtown coverage and is working its way out to the rest of the town. Officers will eventually be able to write and print tickets from wireless handheld devices.
PacketHop releases their Communication System 3.0, with new secured mobile video surveillance options; and hardware: The PacketHop system is aimed at first responders and others involved in public safety and general security. The latest system supports robust streaming video from surveillance systems for users as they move towards a scene of interest—what PacketHop dubs “drive-up surveillance.”
The company has also added two hardware devices. While originally a hardware firm with a software overlay, the company reorganized itself around applications that could run over many systems, using techniques to improve the quality of service and throughput. They’ve now introduced hardware again: the Mobile Router for vehicle access, which can handle up to three radios (802.11a/b/g, 4.9 GHz public safety, and cellular), and be used to broadcast video as well. The Mesh Exchange is a mesh node designed to connect to a video camera to push traffic to the rest of a network using 802.11a/b/g and/or 4.9 GHz.
The new York Times reports that a multi-year project for the transit system has significant flaws: The new radio system was designed to integrate above-ground and in-subway communications. The problem is that interference abounds making the system unusable, the Police Department says. The department won’t use the system, which was developed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA’s police force merged in 1995 with the New York City Police Department.
The story is so typical, it makes one want to spit. Despite significant problems known as long as ago as 2001, the MTA kept authorizing the contractor to continue to build out. The police told the MTA in mid-2004 they wouldn’t use the interference-ridden system, and the MTA has been working on fixes. But they continued to press for the new system’s use, regardless of the lack of efficacy. The contractor doesn’t appear to be at fault because they built to spec, relying on the MTA for approval and for providing some infrastructure that proved inadequate.
At this point, the $140m cost will probably balloon to $210m, which is above the original $115m budget. Part of the cost is an additional $36m to replace underground wires used as antennas—something like leaky coax, I’m sure—that turned out to have 72 miles that was unusable, or about a fifth of the system they expected to rely on.
Another change will result from switching from analog to digital, which wasn’t an option when the network was planned several years ago.
The city presented its network for police, fire: The network only encompasses 24 police cars and three fire command vehicles so far, but 100 to 200 vehicles will eventually be connected for retrieving information in real time, including mug shots and building blueprints. The network will expand beyond public safety ultimately into municipal purposes over the next year. The network uses proprietary Motorola mesh technology meant for robust use in the 2.4 GHz band. (Motorola offers mesh radios that can handle its own protocol or Wi-Fi either in 2.4 GHz or the 4.9 GHz public safety band.)
An interesting note near the bottom of this article is that the city expected to mount the 450 nodes mostly on city-owned buildings and public school.s However, it was more complicated than expensive, and they eventually rented space on utility poles.
The city is one of many that has had to find its next-generation wireless technology with the demise of CDPD, which was terminated in Providence in February. The city has used Verizon EVDO in the meantime.
Strix Systems’s wireless mesh technology will be part of the preparation for the Olympics: The 800,000-person Xicheng District will have a public safety network built using Strix gear as part of a first phase of deployment. The Public Security Bureau for which the network will operate handles crime, emergency, and anti-terror. The network will handle voice, video, and data. The local partner, Silicon Star, has worked to test Strix gear with the bureau since 2005.
The transit police can’t ditch their old system because new $60m network doesn’t work reliably in tunnels: The Washington Post reports that the Metro Transit Police force cannot rely on the new radio system underground, despite the Motorola system being required to cover 95 percent of the area with 95 percent reliability of voices being understand. The old system has a single channel shared across the network; the new one has 255 channels. Officers must carry two radios for safety.
The Post quotes Motorola as stating they don’t have an ETA for the six-year-old system achieving the required level of availability. The current Metro chief sounds aggravated. It’s only part of the subway network that’s a real problem: four tunnel segments and seven underground stations. An officer was attacked in March and had just a radio from the new system. She was forced to track and arrest the attacker while trying futilely to get a signal—she eventually got one word to pass through the network, enough to get her location.
Radios have been installed 1,500 buses and 55 police cruisers where they apparently work just fine, as well as working as expected for two aboveground transit police units.
Motorola is testing a cable replacement which, if successful, might lead to them replacing 100 miles of antenna cable. Metro and Motorola haven’t agreed on which party would pay for any of this.