Using Video Security for Public Safety

Public security cameras provide safer buildings, facilities, and public spaces. Learn more about Spot AI's AI Camera System.


Matt Klingbeil



Since COVID-19, crime has risen in many municipalities, making improving public safety among the top priorities for municipalities. According to the data, various crimes have increased since the pandemic, including murder, assault, domestic violence, robberies, and more. Although crime is starting to decline after hitting a peak immediately after COVID-19, hot spots continue to flare up around the country.

At the same time, municipalities are struggling to implement many traditional public safety solutions. Police departments are facing challenges in recruiting new candidates: Resignations are increasing, and recruitment is down. This new recruitment reality is influenced by various factors, inluding struggles after COVID and general labor shortages across the country.


Video Security for Public Safety

So, what does this mean for municipalities that want to improve public safety? Simply put, local governments must pivot to more technology-based solutions. This new reality explains why public security cameras are becoming increasingly popular. When implemented correctly, video security can make a significant difference in improving public safety. 

However, not just any video system will suffice. Cities must adopt the latest technology and deploy specific components of video security to maximize the benefits of their system.

These features include:

  • A system that is easy to use, installs easily and saves time. With municipalities across the country struggling to recruit officers, every system has to maximize efficiency and allow cities to deploy limited staff toward more useful pursuits.
  • Provide world-class insights. Systems must be easy to manage and capable of producing data that police departments and government leaders can use. Data should be both broad-based and granular.
  • Contains a cloud camera system for public safety. In other words, the system should be accessible from anywhere and by authorized individuals. The security of such a system has major implications for public safety, which means that local governments have to be capable of merging public safety and accessibility with robust security features that appropriately address privacy concerns.
  • The ability to save money. Local governments are constantly cash-strapped and reluctant to ask for tax increases. As such, systems need to not only not cost governments extra: They need to be capable of saving money by allowing police departments to use valuable resources in the most cash-efficient ways.

Using Public Surveillance Cameras

All of this brings us back to public surveillance cameras. The use and benefits of surveillance cameras in public places began in the 1960s. However, their specific advantages were truly realized in the 1990s and 2000s when digital advances made these cameras much more effective.

First, let's address an important question: What are surveillance cameras, and how are they used by governments? 

In this context, public surveillance cameras record and monitor public spaces. These cameras are usually highly visible in city surveillance. Today, the information from these cameras is sent to a central location for recording and monitoring. Governments can monitor the surveillance feed in real-time. When combined with the right technology, police and security can be deployed to trouble spots and identify crimes before they escalate. Alternatively, the footage can be used for review, providing critical insight and evidence about a crime.

The benefits of surveillance cameras in public places are multifaceted. Ultimately, each municipality decides how to best utilize such cameras and what specific advantages they seek to gain.

When used properly, these cameras can serve as a deterrent. Public surveillance cameras are often conspicuously placed, providing notice or digital signage. This warning informs people that their activities in a public space are being monitored. Such notification can have a positive impact on crime prevention, particularly if a municipality can share success stories about their cameras. 

Additionally, public surveillance cameras can have tangible benefits: Government officials can monitor the surveillance feed in real-time. With hundreds or thousands of cameras in a city, multiple individuals or an AI-based system may be needed for monitoring. By doing so, police officers can identify crimes in progress and respond promptly. Furthermore, since these cameras are often cloud-based, governments can stream the feed live to a police car, providing officers with a better understanding of the scene they are responding to, thus enhancing their ability to assess the situation accurately. 

Municipalities have to look at public surveillance cameras from a data-driven perspective. When deployed correctly and used with the right systems, these cameras can gather incredible data and answer important public safety questions:

  • Where are the most crimes occurring?
  • What times are the most dangerous?
  • What patterns typically exist when it comes to criminal activity?
  • What factors are altering the commission of certain crimes?

If you use the right system, you can find data that is normally outside of human capabilities. From there, you can use AI-generated insights to better manage your police deployment or alter road traffic patterns. These changes may enable the creation of a safer community.

Municipal governments need to be able to make these improvements with scale in mind. It doesn't matter if you have four or 4,000 cameras: You need a system that will work for you. Fortunately, Spot AI's highly flexible workflow allows you to make these adjustments and slowly ramp up your public surveillance effort.

Learn more about using video security for public safety in an upcoming webinar.

Benefits of Public Safety Camera Systems

The benefits of a public safety camera system are evident: Using cameras for public safety can yield data, enable more efficient deployment of police officers, provide flexibility for municipal governments, and uncover patterns for enhancing public safety. All of these factors contribute to improved street safety, increased business recruitment, and a more positive perception of public safety.

However, the benefits of a covert camera system are often overlooked. Let's look at Cambridge, Maryland. One of the significant challenges faced by the city was illegal dumping: A few individuals persistently dumped their trash in public areas, costing the government thousands of taxpayer dollars to clean up. To tackle this issue and improve street safety by reducing dumping, Cambridge opted to use covert cameras. This decision resulted in catching the criminals in the act and utilizing the evidence to promote the new system, thus deterring further illegal dumping.

While the reduction of crime was a significant benefit that Cambridge experienced from this system, it was not the only one. Cambridge saved thousands of dollars in reduced hardware costs, saved hours of manpower by making it easier to find footage, and consolidated all of its cameras into one user-friendly system. These benefits made Cambridge a safer place.

Cambridge's experience is highly indicative of the potential major benefits of a public safety camera system for any government entity.

Let's further explore each of these benefits:

View all locations on one dashboard

One of the biggest challenges with legacy systems is their complexity. Staff may have to navigate through a multitude of menus to switch between cameras. With Spot AI, this is no longer the case: Our user-friendly dashboard allows you to monitor dozens or hundreds of cameras by taking advantage of AI's generative chat features. 

Quickly locate footage

When dealing with public safety, immediate access to answers is crucial. Instead of sifting through hours of footage to find an incident, our AI-based system provides the ability to locate when a crime occurred in three-quarters of the time it may take with other systems. This speed allows for faster crime prevention and provides law enforcement officers with the information they need. 

Monitor any location at any time from anywhere

Thanks to our easy-to-use dashboard, you can quickly monitor activities in your community. This can be done from a centralized location or through our app. This technological capability enables appropriately authorized staff and law enforcement officers to access footage and find what they need swiftly. In other words, access to security footage can now happen anywhere, which promotes public safety on a community-wide scale. 

All of these benefits work together to create a more functional, robust security system that saves both money and lives. 

Ready to take the next steps? Contact Spot AI today to book a demo.

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