Security Provider as Crime-Fighter

SecureWatch24 was founded by a former NYPD detective who envisioned providing video surveillance services with a police officer’s perspective. Today his company is a leading provider of electronic security services that relies on old-fashioned investigative skills to revitalize and protect residential complexes and other facilities.


Joining Smyth not long after the company’s inception, together the law enforcement brethren built a system by which video feeds from all cameras could be accessed with the click of a mouse. “We have centralized our whole system around the NOC,” Dellaglio says.

Video is recorded to the customer’s “HVR,” while the NOC controls all user permissions and privileges. “If you want to view the video, you have to first contact the NOC and let it know who you are and what you want to do. The NOC will tell you what you can actually access. All the IP addresses are managed through the NOC,” Dellaglio explains.

An audit trail built into the software not only tracks all user access but also details how camera operators are using the cameras. The original premise was to be able to judge whether or not the operator was performing their assigned duties.

“But what the audit trail really does is create a privacy level that ensures you have steps in place to determine what video was downloaded, and on what date and time,” Dellaglio says. “That information gets sent back to the NOC so we can say when you logged into certain systems and even what camera you used to zoom in on.”

With many thousands of its cameras positioned in housing complex hallways and other public areas of the buildings, the company takes great strides to prevent it from being perceived as Big Brother, Smyth says.

“There are no DVR burners or USB accesses in the machines,” he says. “The video is being continuously monitored by a network that is looking for unauthorized access. And when video is downloaded I know right down to the frame what was taken out and who took it out.”

Partner in Crime-Fighting

Because of its intimate knowledge of police investigations and how reports are compiled, the company has been successful in greatly reducing crime in many hundreds of troubled residential complexes and other facilities.

“You can put up cameras all day long. You can put cameras up right in front of the drug dealer’s face, but if there is no response, they will deal drugs right on camera,” says Harry Hirsh, who owns more than 300 residential complexes throughout New York City.

Hirsh has contracted with SecureWatch24 for about five years. He installs the networked video solutions in his buildings along with utilizing the company’s investigative services. A typical crime investigation may include reviewing video to ascertain w
ho committed an act of vandalism. A written report is completed by the SecureWatch24 investigator, who will combine it with video footage of the incident and provide it directly to police.

“It is now to the extent if somebody breaks a front door in my building, a lot of times a parent will be in a big hurry to reimburse the expense to fix it,” Hirsh says. “‘Don’t come looking for my son. Here’s the money!’ Stuff like that happens all the time.”

The goal with aggressively pursing even small or nuisance criminal acts, and especially graffiti, is to deter bigger crimes. “This is where the technology and application come into play. We try and identify the individual and get them arrested or get restitution, which is another big component of the company now,” Smyth says. “You simply cannot allow it to continue to happen or it will grow and spread like you wouldn’t believe.”

SecureWatch24 claims to have conducted more than 2,700 investigations, and not all of them chasing petty criminals. The company staffs four- to six-member narcotics investigation teams that conduct overt and covert operations. When he first launched the service a few years ago, Smyth charged a $1,000 retainer fee. That was quickly bumped to $2,500 after being overwhelmed with requests. 

“Everybody told me I was nuts to try and do private narcotics investigative teams,” Smyth says. “But we can do the grunt work. We can provide the police a gift-wrapped package with video, photos, identified perps, landlord tenant lists, all of it; and it will go to the top of the case pile because it is ready to go.”

Community Thriving Once Again

Among its many success stories, SecureWatch24 is credited by the NYPD for helping turn the notorious Noble Drew Ali Plaza in Brooklyn into a safe, livable community after it had largely been forsaken as a lost cause. The courtyard served as an open drug market; two of its five buildings were shuttered, inhabited by squatters and much criminal activity.
“It was a place that the cops would not go into unless there were at least three or four cars going together,” says Neil Nappi, an NYPD sergeant who will retire from the force at the end of October. “You couldn’t even get cable because the cable installer didn’t want to go in there because he knew he would be robbed.”

A real estate development company co-founded by former Boston Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn purchased the property in 2007 and sank $21 million dollars into its renovation — including the installation of 325 of SecureWatch24’s privately labeled cameras, plus its guarding services. Major crimes have been cut by 50 percent and the community is beginning to thrive once again, says Nappi. (Nappi’s new line of work includes serving as director of security for the property, along with 18 other similar Section 8 housing complexes, all of which use SecureWatch24’s services.)

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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.

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