This established local City Council offers a mix of residential, commercial and light industrial properties as well as providing extensive park lands and community facilities to its 35,000 inhabitants. Over the last decade it has experienced steady population growth over the last decade and is looking to attract new residents and at the same time develop new commercial opportunities such as a vibrant shopping precinct and thriving business precinct that contains SMBs to large multi-national companies. The municipality’s vision for this community is to foster a sustainable environment in which all stakeholders can develop socially culturally and economically.
Given the large number of established residents and strong population growth, with a large demographic percentage between the ages of 12-25, the area had experience an increase in anti-social behaviour, graffiti / criminal damage, selling or supplying alcohol and drugs, and assaults especially in an area around a local low-scale shopping precinct The city made commitment and integrated a strategic plan to improve safety and security through a crime prevention action plan in order to achieve an environment in which the community feels safe, secure and protected. Part of this action plan was to include a CCTV surveillance system at these areas of interest and coordinate efforts with the local law enforcement agencies. However, given that the cameras are not monitored 24×7 the City’s Crime Prevention Team wanted to review only the most interesting events that occurred from the past 24 hours. Given the increase in criminal events the Crime prevention team were reacting to numerous requests from police for surveillance footage when seeking to locate a suspect witness or develop case evidence. The Team quickly became bogged down reviewing vast amounts historical footage and this consumed a large portion of the team’s valuable time each day to find the required events of value to the police and other law enforcement agencies.
This presented a problem of unproductive historical review, which the iCetana VA software would be able to solve by providing team with a summary each day of the most interesting “abnormal” events that occurred over the last 24 hours. After a short training period, the system learnt what was “normal” in a camera’s field of view (FoV) and then automatically recognised abnormal motion or movement from a camera’s FoV and sent notifications to the crime prevention team who were able to review the footage in real-time for immediate response if required but also enabled them to review a summary each day of the most interesting “abnormal” events that occurred over the last 24 hours which could be reviewed and actioned in matter of minutes.
The result of using the software to review only 1% of interesting events is that the overstretched crime prevention team could operate more effectively than they did in the past and by better focus their real-time surveillance of locations of interest or interact proactively with the community. The software was able to identify behaviour such as loitering, arson attempts, unusual sized groups, incorrect vehicle traffic direction, and anti social and illegal behaviours.
The CEO of the City Council stated that, “the city was impressed with the way that software detected the difference between a person waiting for a bus and a person loitering with intent near a bus stop, due to slight changes in the behaviour and movement”. He also mentioned that, “feedback from the community survey has been positive with both business owners and residents stating that they feel safer and their fear of crimes has been reduced.”
From their positive results with the VA software the City Council is already making plans to expand the number of cameras that are licensed to operate with the iCetana video analytics software.