Two years ago, businesses in the downtown area of Sudbury, Ontario, a medium-sized city, have closed up or moved out, because large malls and department store chains have opened up in the suburbs. Once this change occurred, purse snatching, random assault, motor vehicle thefts and drugs took an upward turn. While Sudbury has never been a crime-ridden town, many of its citizens have expressed feelings of apprehension about walking around the downtown area at night.
Today, the situation in Sudbury is different. Northern Voice & Video Inc., formerly known as Northern Communications Inc. in Sudbury, installed a CCTV system comprising of 57 fixed, pan and tilt cameras in the downtown area that keep an eye on the streets.
Everything is recorded using multiplexers and videotape. The operators have a bank of monitors and can quickly pan, tilt and zoom a camera to a specific area, watch an event in real-time and produce a video print.
Thanks to this new surveillance system, law-abiding citizens are returning to the downtown street, and the perception that the streets aren’t safe is being turned around.
Glasgow CCTV System Inspires Sudbury Chief
The idea for the Sudbury project came from the police chief’s visit to Glasgow, Scotland, where a similar system was already in place. Discussions with Mike Lawson, one of the owners of Northern Voice & Video, also helped convince McCauley of the usefulness of CCTV in Sudbury.
Six years ago, Northern Voice & Video installed four Panasonic WV-CL354 fixed cameras in an underpass, which since that time has been monitored at the police station.
However, in December 1996, the downtown surveillance project began as the first Sensormatic Speed Dome Ultra camera with outdoor housing was installed in the heart of the downtown area on top of one of the banks. The installing company also supplied and installed the fiber-optic link back to the police station. The pilot project lasted about nine months for a number of reasons.
The pilot project was implemented to test the camera’s durability during the winter; to see how it would work at night; and to gather public feedback. And it did work. The outdoor housings have withstood temperatures of 55º C without any problems.
Businesses, Groups Donate Funds for CCTV
By the summer of 1997, when the installation of the second and third cameras began, the total cost of the three downtown cameras and related equipment had come to approximately $66,500 (Canadian).
In December 1997, the Sudbury police station was bombed. Northern Voice & Video donated the American Dynamics matrix switcher (AD-1650), the American Dynamics Excalibur Software (AD-5400) and the majority of the installation cost. “It was more a matter of our community involvement more than anything else.
Downtown Project Consists of 57 Cameras
The complete installation in Sudbury consists of three separate systems. The downtown surveillance project was just one part of a 57-camera installation that had to be tied together. Nine are downtown cameras (including the ones in the underpass) — the others are in the police department itself, and the municipal complex that is now housing the new police department.
The downtown surveillance project consists of three cameras with outdoor housings and four cameras with indoor housings in other areas of the city. In addition, there are 27 Panasonic WV-CP224 indoor cameras throughout the old and new police buildings, four Panasonic WV-CL354 fixed cameras in the underpass, five Panasonic WV-CL354 for the interrogation rooms and 12 Panasonic WV-CL120 cameras with audio that are used in the cells.
All the cameras are fed into a back communications room where they are all digitally encoded and recorded simultaneously in 24-hour real-time using Panasonic WJFS216 Simplex multiplexers and videotape using Panasonic AGRT600 real-time recording VCRs.
System Ties Into a GUI for Easy Monitoring
Operators can call up the cameras using the Excalibur software to pan, tilt and zoom in on a location.
The cost of the main camera system for the new police headquarters came to $102,000. Integrating the existing equipment has cost about $15,000, and as they add to the installation, the project continues to grow.