SAN FRANCISCO—As a multitude of cities and towns in the country consider installing municipal surveillance systems, more struggle with how the video and these cameras should be used. Who is in control? Who has the capability to view video? What are the privacy limits? 

Sir Chris Fox has tackled these questions head-on during his 34-year tenure in British law enforcement. During a media presentation in May, he said in addition to the obvious questions above, one of the most critical issues to consider with public surveillance systems is that city officials define their reasons for the program before jumping in feet first.

“What does success look like?” he said. “What is it I want and how do I know when I’ve reached that? Is camera technology what I need? Sometimes it isn’t.”

Fox was involved in the coordination of the national police operations after the London Underground bombings in 2005 and he also organized the security operations for the 2005 G-8 Summit in Scotland. In the case of the London bombings, video from a vast network of public surveillance cameras, which Fox refers to as community safety cameras, helped police identify the suicide bombers within days.

“These systems work when designed properly,” he said. “I’m not a technologist — I wanted technology that would allow me to do my job.” The U.K. has dealt with terrorism for the past 30 years but in the early 1990s when two-year-old Jamie Bulger was murdered and terrorism bombings increased, the public started feeling uncomfortable.“There was a public outcry for officials to find criminals,” he said. “Public wanted them and still do. You can’t beat a good old-fashioned picture of what happened.” He said there is an estimated one camera per 14 people in the U.K., but many of those are privately owned cameras in shops and gas stations, for example. How has the country justified the cost of the installations? Fox said the ROI is difficult to equate because “how can you measure the cost of a community that feels safer?”

What technologies will be critical in future municipal projects? Fox said analytics are the “key to the future” and camera installations of need to be mobile so that cameras can be moved as criminal activity deviates to new locations. He also said systems that could help police identify certain behaviors would be useful in this market.

Related Insights

  • Unauthorized Entry Protection

    Unauthorized Entry Protection

    Safeguard your business from unauthorized entry with a monitored intrusion detection system. For a limited time, you can choose an intrusion detection system from Tyco Integrated Security for as low as $99 down and $59 a month. Learn More >

  • High Performance Intrusion Monitoring

    High Performance Intrusion Monitoring

    A business owners, you are faced everyday with the potential risks of your business getting burglarized, robbed or vandalized. Be proactive and help protect your business from unauthorized entry with a monitored intrusion detection system. Learn More >

  • Managed Video Services Brochure

    Managed Video Services Brochure

    Turn your existing intrusion alarm and camera systems into a proactive tool to help you solve everyday business security and operational challenges. Learn more about Tyco Integrated Security's Managed Video Services. Learn More >

  • Gaining That Business Edge

    Gaining That Business Edge

    Are your company's equipment and technology as adaptable as its employees?  Learn six ways you can achieve higher profits by taking full advantage of your security system and the information it gathers >

  • Considering Access Control for Your Business?

    Considering Access Control for Your Business?

    Looking to manage the flow of traffic in and out of your business? You may want to consider access control to help improve security at your facility. Here's how. See how business owners are leveraging security systems beyond traditional security applications. Many are using them to help improve customer service levels or to increase sales by presenting information more visually to their customers. >

  • Maintain Your Security Cameras

    Maintain Your Security Cameras

    Security camera systems are valuable to a business’s security protection. Over time they can malfunction, creating a false sense of security. Help ensure their reliability by keeping your systems tuned up with regular service and maintenance. >

  • Don’t Allow Your Business to Get Burned

    Don’t Allow Your Business to Get Burned

    Having your fire protection system inspected on a regular basis is essential in helping to keep your business safe. One missed inspection can have serious consequences. See what steps you can take to avoid a costly mishap. >

  • Time to Tame False Alarms

    Time to Tame False Alarms

    Law enforcement and convicted burglars alike agree alarm systems are effective in deterring criminal activities. On the other hand, the number of false alarms are also quite disturbing. Read some simple way to help reduce false alarms. >

Request A Call Now For Your Free No Obligation Quote

Tell us about yourself

*Required

By submitting this form, you authorize Tyco Integrated Security, LLC/Tyco Integrated Canada, Inc. ("Tyco") to contact you using automated technology to provide information about products and services which may be of interest to you. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy.