Choosing the Best Video Security System For Cities

In today's world, a video security system for cities is a critical way to improve public safety and security. Learn how cities use Spot AI to improve security and safety.


Matt Klingbeil



Cities across America have been struggling with an unfortunate new reality over the past few years: In many cases, crime is up. Many cities face increases in serious and property crimes, forcing them to adopt new strategies to keep their residents safe and continue to allow individuals to use cities as wonderful places to live, work, and play.

In response, many leaders have adopted new enforcement measures, including taking advantage of key technological improvements such as implementing video security systems for cities. When implemented correctly, a video management system can be a major improvement to cities, helping these cities reduce crime and better deploy limited law enforcement resources.

However, many cities face issues that are specific to their security systems. For example, many cities use commercial security cameras outdoors, and in many cases, these cameras are old and out of date. Struggling with these challenges is understandable. After all, keeping up with needed advances in technology can be almost impossible.

Consider all of the potential issues that cities face when it comes to managing their video camera systems:

  • Deploying cameras that cover every area can be almost impossible. After all, it can be extremely difficult to place cameras in all facilities and areas.
  • Controlling access to the footage is a major challenge - cities need to manage multiple log-ins, restrict access, and place footage in a centralized location for access.
  • The aftermath of an incident can require dozens of man-hours to find an alleged crime or perpetrator. 
  • Expensive systems and vendors can lock cities into doing business with one vendor, making it impossible to adjust a contract.

Simply put, far too many cities use older security systems that no longer reflect today's needs. A modern video security system for cities must reflect changes in technology, improvements in flexibility and utilize the latest in artificial intelligence. These systems should have an open security infrastructure, allowing for future upgrades and ensuring that cities will be able to make technological improvements going forward. After all, security is constantly changing, and the advances of today may seem out of date tomorrow. As such, security systems should be forward-looking and capable of technological improvements in the future.

Learn more about our AI Camera System in an upcoming webinar.

How to use city surveillance cameras

City surveillance cameras help solve a growing number of issues for public safety that are critical to ensuring people are secure and that city infrastructure can continue to run smoothly.

Some critical ways that cities are improving safety and security are:

  • Installing cameras inside and outside city buildings, monitoring for security threats and as part of a criminal investigation.
  • Using public surveillance cameras for intersections or trouble spots, ensuring traffic flows smoothly, and monitoring otherwise public areas.
  • Integrating with their most important technologies that are capable of working with communication tools, access control, and other sensors to allow law enforcement and others to know when there is an immediate danger to public safety.
  • Integrating important tools that are  geared around communicating with on-the-ground officials, ensuring that broader security measures can be deployed.
  • Deploying cameras to monitor public spaces and gatherings.

Taken together, camera systems are a key way to manage and ensure public safety. For example, cameras can monitor public parks or intersections when deployed properly and ensure no problems or vandalism. In the aftermath of an incident, data recorded can track what happened for investigatory purposes.

Numerous types of surveillance cameras — including street surveillance cameras, building surveillance cameras, or otherwise integrated systems — can be potentially overwhelming. This situation returns to the need to integrate surveillance cameras with a city's overall management plan and goals.

Camera systems used by cities must be able to help solve key security issues and reduce the time spent by officials in solving incidents. Modern camera systems should provide analytics to understand when and where people or vehicles are present, the areas that pose high risks for incidents, and provide the ability for officials to see all locations from one dashboard anytime, anywhere.

When buying a camera system, cities should ask:

  • What sort of system am I investing in? Does the system provide frequent updates? Does the vendor offer support?
  • What features does this system have?
  • How flexible is the security system? Meaning, can I tie together multiple tools with the video security system?
  • How are they using the latest technological advances to protect a city, its residents, and its law enforcement officers? 

All of this information can lead to long-term decisions and resource allotment. For example, the properly configured system should be able to tell city and police administrators when an incident occurred. The right modern camera system can also highlight potential trends and show cities where to better deploy resources.

Creating smart city surveillance systems and practices

City administrators are likely extremely familiar with the idea of a "smart city." A smart city refers to using information and data to improve resource allocation, the management of operational efficiency, and the effectiveness of city services. Smart city initiatives typically use technology that is specifically geared toward city administration. This smart city technology can include waste management, traffic control, human resource technology, and smart city CCTV.

Smart cities are not just about crime detection and prevention. When used correctly, smart city cameras can be deployed at critical infrastructure locations like public works. The data from these cameras can be critical in protecting equipment, monitoring data flows from utilities, and ensuring that cities are operating in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Smart city surveillance can be a critical component of any smart city initiative, and smart city cameras play a critical role. However, cities have to deploy a camera system in an automated and insightful way to truly take advantage of smart city technology.

The goal of a smart city is to minimize human input to maximize human gain. Artificial intelligence (AI) has made this process much easier when deployed correctly.

Some key ways AI helps cities includes:

  • Make data more flexible and easier to access, ensuring cities can easily search recorded data for the necessary information.
  • Allow for generative data search queries.
  • Be flexible, deploy easily, and integrate with any camera system.

An AI camera system can save dozens of hours of human time when used properly. Such a system can also consolidate cameras and reduce total costs.

Looking for an example? Check out what happened in Cambridge City, Maryland, which relied on Spot AI to reduce costs. Cambridge — a city of 13,000 in Maryland — recently contracted with Spot AI to manage their camera network. In doing so, they reduced costs by $10,000, reduced time to find footage by 75%, and consolidated their camera system into one easy-to-use dashboard.

These benefits ensured that Cambridge was reducing crime and appropriately using limited public dollars to protect their community.

Picking the right video security solutions with Spot AI

Cities need the best video security solutions to properly protect their citizens. As such, cities have to be willing to invest in a slew of video surveillance software, including much more than just live remote video monitoring. The best video management software works with numerous video management system vendors and camera operators, regardless of what brand of cameras those systems carry. 

This reality helps describe why cities need to consider an investment in Spot AI. Spot AI's camera system is AI-based. As such, it comes with numerous benefits.

First, Spot AI's video surveillance software is brand agnostic. This means we work with any camera system to ensure your city has the necessary resources and software. If you like your current cameras, you can keep them and still get all the benefits that Spot AI offers. Want to use cameras? We offer the latest technology to ensure you have high-resolution cameras that can integrate with our broad cloud dashboard. We can get you these cameras at no additional cost, allowing for quicker setup and easy integration with existing systems.

Next, our AI-based camera system has an intuitive, cloud-based dashboard. As noted by the Cambridge example above, this system makes finding footage, resolving incidents, and finding trends easy. The data you can generate from our dashboard is critical in understanding where troublesome spots exist. You can find this information with a variety of our tools, including People Presence, AI Alerts, Vehicle Idle Time, License Plate Recognition (LPR), and more. You can then deploy any of these tools to integrate with your overall security measures, allowing your police department to gain access to critical insight when responding to an incident or attempting to preventatively make changes that will enhance public safety.

Finally, we use an Intelligent Video Recorder (IVR) system that significantly improves current technological trends. This IVR system allows for local and cloud storage. City administrators can then customize who can access the system and allow individuals to access the footage and dashboard from a local computer, via the cloud, or through our proprietary app.

Ready to take the next steps to improve safety in your city? Contact Spot AI today to book a demo and learn more about how our system can help you improve. 

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