Effect of CCTV cameras on reducing the crime rate.

by Vantage Security vantage security

The UK is considered as one of the most surveilled countries in the world. A projected 5.9 million CCTV cameras keep watch over our every move, but the volume of footage creates a problem: when the police or security services need to actually analyse it, things move very slowly. Despite the proliferation of CCTV, technology for handling the petabytes of data collected is still little more than human eyeballs and lots of patience.

That might be about to change. New technology could allow police and security services to quickly analyse CCTV footage to look for movement, faces and track suspects across the world. By linking 'dumb' CCTV cameras to a 'smart' online system, authorities will soon be able to find and track anyone. Trials of the technology with two UK police forces could begin in October.

In the outcome of the London riots in August 2011 police scoured through more than 200,000 hours of CCTV to identify suspects. Around 5,000 offenders were found by trawling through the footage, after a process that took more than five months. Finding missing people is similarly arduous work -- when teenager Alice Gross went missing in September last year 30 officers were tasked with combing through CCTV from 30 cameras, covering a six-mile radius.

CCTV analysis mostly relies on teams of specially trained officers watching thousands of hours of footage, waiting for that one crucial second of evidence. It is a muddle of more than a thousand video formats, poor quality footage and manual processing. The system is at breaking point, but rather than investing in new technology, police forces have simply trained more officers to eyeball footage.

Much public debate has centered on the sheer number of CCTV cameras keeping watch on the UK. By one estimate people in urban areas of the UK are likely to be captured by about 30 surveillance camera systems every day. That's systems, not individual cameras by CCTV camera manufacturers. Naturally, police are struggling to handle the sheer volume of footage available to them when they start to investigate a murder or try and locate a missing person.

Current video analysis techniques are poor, relying on expensive, specially-installed cameras to make things like facial recognition and person tracking possible. The likes of OmniPerception and Ipsotek have sold CCTV analysis systems for years by CCTV camera manufacturers, but many claims their technology is different as it works with any footage from any camera, rather than relying on specialist hardware.

The challenge is the source of the footage. If a crime happens in London, or wherever, there's absolutely no guarantee for the quality of the footage and the types of cameras that are being used to generate that footage. Whether those cameras are calibrated is also highly unlikely. And it isn't just about where the crime happens -- you want to track the person, find out what happened, who else was involved.

The system then looks through all the footage it has been given to find instances of other people in blue jeans, white t-shirts and black jackets riding bikes. As with facial recognition it then displays likely matches in groups, this time from most likely to least likely. A human operator can then look through all the relevant of footage to see if there are any genuine matches.

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Created on Jul 5th 2018 02:20. Viewed 189 times.


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