In 1956 a short story called “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick was published, later adapted into a Hollywood sci-fi movie called “Minority Report” by Steven Spielberg in 2002.
The story-line is that in the future crime-fighting agencies will be able to predict crime before it actually happens.
Crime prediction raises some interesting ethical questions such as how can someone be convicted of a crime that has not yet been committed? The Minority Report has a central character called Anderton who is the chief of a law enforcement agency called Pre-crime.
According to Anderton “in our society we have no major crimes…but we do have a detention camp full of would-be criminals.”
In a way, science fiction has become fact. For instance, we now live in a world where terrorism is a real threat and Government law-enforcement agencies do in fact maintain constant surveillance of would-be criminals. With enough hard “soft” evidence, in some developed countries you can now be arrested on suspicion or intent based on your “digital footprint.”
In the United States a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems has built a “pre-crime” surveillance system. By flying a cluster of video cameras over an area that can be the size of small city – using an airplane or even a drone – the activities of the entire city can be transmitted – every second – to a computer on the ground. When a crime is committed, a system analyst can scrub the video forward and backward in time to find out more about the crime and the perpetrator. Ideally, this happens minutes and even seconds after the crime is committed allowing for a fast arrest of the perpetrator.
The system provides vital information to law enforcement regarding events before and after a crime.
If you think that this is an elaborate and perhaps expensive exercise then you need to think twice. The system was road-tested in Dayton, Ohio where there are an estimated 27,000 crimes reported each year, 70 to 80 per day, at an estimated cost of $US3400 per person each year.
In the Dayton, Ohio experiment, it was estimated that a “pre-crime” aerial surveillance solution would prevent crime by 20 to 30 percent, on top of its intended function of solving crime. That worked out to be a saving of $US96 million to $US144 million.
Surveillance is undoubtedly the way of the future in crime prevention.
Even in Port Moresby we are now seeing the advent of CCTV cameras at strategic points in the city. At the recent Pacific Games police used two Israeli-supplied surveillance balloons to monitor venues and coordinate responses in a bid to thwart potential criminal or terrorist activities.
In June this year, in the lead-up to the Games, the PNG Police Commissioner said “they (the surveillance balloons) are like the eyes in the air and it gives us real time surveillance on every incident that happens within the games.”
Some would see the move towards a world of “pre-crime” as a threat to civil liberties and privacy. However the biggest losers are the criminals. CCTV cameras and video monitoring are not only a great tool in solving and predicting crime, but they are a great crime deterrent. Most law abiding citizens would be comforted and not confronted by the presence of surveillance cameras – after all, if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear – while criminals may need to look for a more honest way of earning a living.
Similar “pre-crime” style video surveillance is now being used in the workplace and the home. In fact, most systems now come with smartphone applications enabling the user to check in on real time video of the workplace or home from any point in the developed world. Of course, by the developed world I mean one with adequate internet capability.
In short, video surveillance is now more accessible and more affordable than ever. And so it seems, the odds are getting stacked up even higher against the bad guys. Technology so it seems, is finally being used for good in the fight against crime.
WORKPLACE VIDEO SURVEILLANCE
Cybersecurity is a term more commonly associated with workplace computer protocols such as protecting data by using strong passwords, deploying antimalware utilities and antiviruses, and keeping workplace computers safe with the latest patches and updates.
Those terms generally do not refer to physical security, but a common belief among computer security experts is that a physical security breach is one of the worst kinds of security breaches as it generally allows full access to both data and equipment.
In this context, the focus of cybersecurity is on premises security, or protecting your business’s physical assets from burglary and vandalism. The best cybersecurity measures in the world are useless if a thief breaks into your office and makes off with your computers.
Part of workplace cybersecurity is also having ID cards for employees that comply with your security system – a topic I covered in detail in my last Technology editorial (National, Friday July 10).
But by far the most effective form of workplace cybersecurity are video surveillance systems, which are now more affordable than ever and capable of multi-tasking. These systems can be installed in the workplace to not only monitor your physical assets but also to alert you to a break-in, trigger an alarm and dispatch law enforcement.
As I said earlier, the video feeds from surveillance cameras can be accessed even by your smart phone, dependent on having a robust internet connection. In a pre-crime context, such footage is a vital crime deterrent and a useful log of pre- and post-event forensic data.
INTRODUCING RHINOCO AND IP CCTV
There are many products and video surveillance solutions available on the market. One company with a long track record in the business is Rhinoco.
RhinoCo Technology has been an integral part of the electronic security industry since 1978. The company is Australian-owned and with the increased emphasis on “pre-crime” level security it is still growing after more than 30 years in business. Rhinoco Technology has become best known over the years for their world renowned Rhino™ brand of vehicle security systems, the Watchguard™ brand of wireless security and surveillance systems, the Securview™ range of professional video surveillance equipment and EasyPBX™ business phone systems.
The company has been designing their own range of electronic security products in-house since 1978, with a team of dedicated hardware and software engineers that focus on key product areas.
As well as their own designed and produced products, RhinoCo have established long-term relationships with key electronic security and technology suppliers around the world. Due to their vast range and experience in almost all areas of electronic security, they are also often called upon to develop customised solutions.
Their capabilities extend as far as having a mobile video surveillance solution with online GPS tracking, integrated alarm/immobiliser and wireless duress button. Or supplying a completely wireless, multi-channel, solar powered, wireless digital CCTV solution with remote access.
RhinoCo’s video surveillance solutions are powered by VIP Vision™ – a premier IP surveillance solution for enterprise and commercial applications. VIP Vision aims to function seamlessly with existing business operations, offering a total solution to security.
IP CCTV is an acronym for internet protocol (IP) closed-circuit television (CCTV) – meaning that these high-tech surveillance cameras can send and receive data via a computer network and the internet, with high-definition video capability – making it even more difficult for the bad guys to avoid detection.
RhinoCo’s VIP Vision range delivers powerful, scalable IP CCTV systems, with an emphasis on functionality, ease of use and ease of installation across a range of small projects through to large commercial, public sector and government level applications.
RHINOTECH VIP VISION TECH
As an example of one of the solutions in the RhinoCo range of video surveillance products, the VIP Vision NVR16PRO4 is a 16 channel network video recorder, designed as an immediate and customisable high definition IP surveillance solution. Installation of IP CCTV has never been simpler with the NVR16PRO4. It features a built-in 16 port Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, supplying camera power, video, audio and PTZ control data across a single Ethernet cable.
The NVR supports up to 160Mbps incoming bandwidth and can record beyond full HD video at 3.0MP resolution (2048 x 1536) across all 16 channels.
Adjusting recording settings, exporting footage and live viewing camera streams are performed through an easy to use user interface.
This NVR supports up to 16TB of internal storage and features continuous recording. When the internal storage is full, the NVR will automatically record over the oldest footage. Accessing footage and changing settings remotely is possible from a local PC or over the internet via the NVR web interface.
Smartphone and tablet remote viewing is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone via free applications and can be configured in seconds using the remote view QR code tool.
The NVR16PRO4 can backup footage to external USB devices, eSATA devices, and an optional internal DVD-RW burner as well as via the local network.