We’ve been reading a lot lately about security surveillance systems police departments around the nation are implementing to fight and prevent crime. While there are no specific studies available on the correlation between number of video surveillance cameras and crime numbers, many of the districts implementing these systems have reported lower crime rates.
One would expect more police departments in the U.S. to continue building security networks through purchase and installation of the latest surveillance hardware and software. However, with all the video cameras and audio systems being installed, there is one major setback most police departments have yet to acknowledge: bandwidth limits. That is, with so much media already being transferred daily via internet cables, wireless, local signal towers, and satellite – the transfer of this massive new security camera footage could be easily slowed during times of high public bandwidth usage. In addition, police stations do not have direct control over the use of those public systems, nor do they have the ability to restrict use of those systems. As a result, those systems could be compromised by an expert hacker.
So, what do we do?
As the video surveillance experts have done for a number of years, follow the city of London. London is the leader in surveillance technology, with over 400,000 cameras integrated into a large security network. That is, roughly, one camera for every 14 people. How do they stream it all without shutting down the rest of their city?
London has built an entirely separate bandwidth system for their surveillance. It’s channeled through a completely different network, free from the unpredictable ebb and flow of daily internet demands. With this independence, London security officials have been tracking thousands of live surveillance feeds at once.
The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (it has a fun acronym, PSST), a nonprofit organized under the laws of Washington D.C. to put together a national wireless network dedicated for surveillance footage, is beginning to think about how to prepare a network that allows for this sort of constant flow of footage. They are pushing for a “nationwide broadband network that would operate on 700 MHz broadband spectrum currently allocated for public safety and hopefully to include the 700 MHz D-block spectrum, which will be designated for the exclusive use of police and fire agencies and other first responders.”
There are a lot of advocates in the US for public defense video surveillance systems. It’s really only a matter of time until an integrated government surveillance system is set up.