Public Wireless Security Solution Stars in Northern California

Fed up after decades of rising crime and vandalism on its streets and at its seaport, Richmond, Calif., officials are fighting back with one of the most sophisticated public security camera systems in the United States.

ADT Security Services is nearing completion on a $4 million project that includes separate wireless mesh network installations for the city and the Port of Richmond, located near San Francisco. The 15-mile perimeter of the port is protected by 64 fixed and 18 pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras, while 20 fixed and 14 p/t/z cameras will soon be operational at crime hot spots around the city.

All cameras are IP-based models by Axis Communications. Both the city and the port solutions are designed with wireless mesh systems by BelAir Networks and are equipped with server-based video analytics by ObjectVideo.

“The two systems are not linked but do have that capability,” Jeff Gutierrez, ADT National Accounts manager, told SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION during a recent media tour of the port and municipal installations. “The foundation we put in is made for future integration. When they are ready, we’ll be able to expand it because it is an open architecture solution.”

The systems were designed by Gutierrez, who was also instrumental in helping the port secure a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The port solution can wirelessly transmit images to port security personnel, who can receive alarm event notifications via E-mail, cell phone and other communication devices. Along with helping fulfill the port’s homeland security initiatives, video analytics exceptions rules are programmed to foil intruders in areas that have been badly plagued by electrical copper wire theft.

Data moves from the cameras to wireless radios through a backhaul feed, then to servers in the port security office. The system is capable of streaming 2MB of sustained transmission per second. Recorded video is kept for 120 days on 73TB of data storage.

“This is one of the highest capacity mesh networks in the world,” says Ron Robinson, senior vice president of worldwide sales for BelAir Networks. The Port of Richmond’s solution will be looked to as a model for future port security systems around the world, he says.

Richmond, with a population of about 102,000, is home to the historic Richmond Kaiser Shipyards where about 750 vessels were built during World War II. Eventually the city would lose its thriving economic base and a long period of urban decay descended.

“We think the problems of crime and blight are what’s keeping the city from reaching its full potential,” says Richmond Administrative Chief Janet Schneider. Civic demand for something to be done about persistent crime was a big motivation for implementing the video surveillance program, she said.

Expected to go live in June, the city’s video surveillance solution is designed to wirelessly transmit images to the Richmond police headquarters and to the police dispatch center where the cameras will be monitored.

The city is spending about $2 million for the video solution, which is being paid for, in part, out of its general fund. A second phase of the project, currently in the planning and engineering process, is said to include video transmission directly to police cars that will give officers the chance to view crime scenes remotely before arriving at the location.

During the media tour’s stop at Richmond City Hall, city officials said they are utilizing sophisticated technology not just to help reduce crime and vandalism, but quash rampant illegal dumping of garbage and other refuse.

“There is no expectation that this is going to solve all of our crime problems,” says City Manager Bill Lindsay. “It is just another arrow in our quiver.”

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters