This is Part II of a three-part series authored by Rebecca Law, Business Development Manager for Convergint Technologies, and an expert in citywide safety solutions. View the full interview here.

Cities of all sizes have unique security challenges.  There are several organizational and technological tools that can help law enforcement maximize their efforts in securing their cities. Citywide surveillance is one such technology. By providing better situational awareness, video surveillance helps law enforcement officers enhance monitoring, verify situations, promptly identify threats, and improve response time. But what are some security pitfalls cities should avoid?

Here are the five most common citywide surveillance mistakes.

1Bidding a Project Out & Selecting the Lowest Bidder

Putting a city surveillance project out to bid and selecting the lowest bidder, which may not be the most experienced and qualified company, often results in components and installations that are inferior in quality, reliability, and performance. Installing cameras and connecting them is not that difficult, but what it is difficult is knowing what will work and will not regarding infrastructure. Too many cities have implemented city surveillance systems that just don’t have the proper bandwidth and connectivity to provide quality and reliable video when police departments need it the most. There are several other methods that Convergint can employ for higher quality and reliability. The last thing any city wants is for an incident to have occurred, and there was no video feed working or there was poor quality video resolution.

2. Not Choosing a Platform Wisely

There are numerous video surveillance platforms out there, and most of them will all claim to do city surveillance well. Cities must do their homework on the software systems that they chose to verify that they have the capabilities needed for city surveillance. One important function to many cities is called “federation.” This allows a surveillance unit to record locally and at the real time crime center simultaneously, as well as allowing for advanced and permissions-based video sharing functions.

3. Not Budgeting for Maintenance

Many cities will obtain grant funding to purchase a system, but they don’t set aside or build a budget to maintain the system. Key maintenance items include cleaning of the exterior camera glass regularly – especially in dirty or dusty environments and in areas with significant foliage – regular software updates for fixes and new features, inspection of fans and PTZ components, and changing of filters.

4. Having Disparate Systems

Some cities select systems in silos. The jail may have one system, the courthouse another, city hall another, the school system another. With Convergint’s solutions, they could all collaborate and standardize on one platform, and the police department could pull up cameras from all of these systems without needing an expensive physical security information system (PSIM).

5. Not Investing in Video Synopsis Software

When working to solve cases, time matters. Time matters because the longer it takes, the lower the probability of solving a case. Video synopsis software takes hours of video search work down to just minutes.

Convergint Technologies has an entire citywide safety solutions team called Total Recall – dedicated to building, supporting, and maintaining custom solutions that integrate best-of-breed products, including its unique CrimeEye® field units.