Virtually every country around the world is negatively affected by vandalism. Graffiti and the destruction of both public and private property are issues that continue to haunt government officials, commercial institutions, and citizens of every level.
The United States is no exception. According to recent government data, the cost of vandalism in America is estimated to range anywhere between $10 and $25 billion annually.
Recently, the borough of Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA chose to combat vandalism – and those who are engaged in it – through the inventive installation of Hikvision security products that provide both improved overall security and a tangible deterrent against vandalism.
A Better Option
Hamburg's Borough Pool and Recreation Park area is not only a source of civic pride for the city; it is also an important regional recreation area. Offering a large park, public pool, and facilities for public concerts, this park serves as a hub for Hamburg and the many surrounding communities to enjoy their recreational moments. Additionally, these civic facilities also act as a catalyst for Hamburg’s local business community – and as such, any perceived downturn in the status of this park has a negative cascading effect throughout the borough.
"Fairly recently, we've had a growing problems with a variety of vandalism - type crimes in our Hamburg Borough Pool and Recreation Park area," explained John Leonforte – Codes Administrator at this location.
"Initially, we attempted to address this issue through private security; but we found that not only was it expensive – roughly $20,000 annually – it also did not significantly reduce the levels of destruction in public property and graffiti," added Mr. Leonforte.
Changing gears, Hamburg chose to invest in a comprehensive security solution featuring Hikvision products. Mr. Leonforte noticed an immediate impact: "Within two days of these Hikvision cameras being installed, there was a significant drop-off in vandalism. Obviously, these cameras had a strong deterrent value, but we needed to be able to support this with technological innovation to maintain our initial gains."
Two Different Cameras, Two Different Goals
Quarterbacking many of the technical issues regarding the installation of this solution was Brad Heckelman, Hikvision’s U.S. Mid-Atlantic Regional Manger. Mr. Heckelman chose Hikvision's DS-2CD762MF-IFB 1.3 MP Vandal Proof & Weather Proof Network Dome Camera, as well as the DS-2DF1-672 1.3 MP Network Speed Dome Camera to serve as the eyes of this solution.
In many respects, the DS-2DF1-672 1.3 MP Network Speed Dome acts as the lynchpin of the solution. "Among many beneficial features, we chose this camera for its 18x optical zoom, plus up to 10x digital zoom, which provide a tremendously detailed and high-quality picture. Additionally, the 1/3” Sony CCD chip allows this camera to work very well in changing lighting conditions," explained Mr. Heckelman.
Installed on elevated positions at select locations throughout the park, and controlled remotely, this PTZ camera offers 360°endless pan range and -5° ~ -90° tilt range, thereby providing up to 2 miles of tremendously clear pictures in any direction. Interestingly, if there were no viewing obstructions (trees, building, etc.), "we could literally use only one DS-2DF1-672 model– this is how good the zoom image quality is, regardless of distance," noted Mr. Heckelman.
Additionally, an IP66 weather-proofing standard ensures problem-free functionality from any outdoor weather conditions this camera will face. And as Pennsylvania is known for extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter, this is an absolute necessity for any camera in this part of America.
The second Hikvision camera in this solution, the DS-2CD762MF-IFB 1.3 MP Vandal Proof & Weather Proof Network Dome, serves a slightly different – but no less important – function.
Placed throughout the outdoor park and pool, as well as inside facilities such as the concession stand, this camera keeps a focused watch over areas deemed as high priority. "Traditionally, one of the areas that has been particularly challenging, from a graffiti perspective, has been the back of the band shell. However, now, with this camera providing 24/7 surveillance on this specific location, we have not had one new incident of graffiti," noted Mr. Leonforte.
Virtual PTZ functionality allowed Hamburg to focus the DS-2CD762MF-IFB 1.3 MP Vandal Proof & Weather Proof Network Dome on areas of vandalism concern – such as the above-mentioned band shell – and also on areas of safety concerns … such as the diving area in the pool and the parking lots. "We were able to alleviate our vandalism problems as well as provide our patrons with an increased sense of security," summed up Mr. Leonforte.
Furthermore, both vandal-proofing and weather-proofing provide protection against the weather and those who might be otherwise tempted to physically tamper with these cameras.
Importantly, an IR cut filter with auto switch and infra-red illuminator provide excellent low-light ability at any time of day; and 1280 x 960 pixels of resolution allow operators to zoom onto these sensitive areas with great clarity, regardless of circumstances.
Mr. Leonforte added, "The motion detection feature on this camera is particularly useful to our situation. This allows our police department the ability to set specific cameras to turn on when something catches its attention … thereby helping officers to immediately recognize a potential threat and respond, instead of just hoping that an officer will notice it as the various camera pictures cycle through."
Two Hikvision NVR models were selected to round out this solution: the DS-9516NI-S Embedded NVR and the DS-9616NI-SH Embedded NVR.
For Mr. Heckelman, the key to both of these units was the massive storage ability: "Most NVRs only have a 4 SATA interface. These two Hikvision models both have 8 SATA, which allows up to 16TB of memory – far exceeding the industry norm."
Additionally, both allow great resolution, with the DS-9516NI-S providing up to 5 megapixels (2560 x 1920) recording resolution; and the DS-9616NI-SH an HDMI output of 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Importantly, these Hikvision NVRs allowed the borough of Hamburg to save money by putting this solution on a network. As such, the police department has the ability to monitor video surveillance of the park and adjacent areas; while Hamburg squad cars are able to utilize wireless Internet-connected laptops to access the same information.
An additional group, Hamburg Park management, also has PC access to these surveillance cameras. Mr. Leonforte notes, "We keep access to these PCs in an access-controlled environment … in this way, we are able to ensure only the proper personnel can view and manipulate our public cameras."
Early Positive Results
On top of virtually eliminating incidents of vandalism, and adding additional layers of overall park-related security, Hikvision technology has also brought an unexpected benefit: increased commercial opportunities – as Mr. Leonforte explains: "some of our facilities, such as concession stands, had been dormant since the 50s and 60s. But now, after these cameras have been installed, we have been fielding requests to reopen many of these … and even build an outdoor café."