The Port and City of Richmond, Calif., near San Francisco, were made more secure with a wireless video surveillance network installed by ADT, Boca Raton, Fla.

ADT hosted local and national media May 14 on a tour of the port and city of Richmond, Calif., where the company is installing wireless video surveillance networks.

The company installed 82 cameras, many from Axis Communications, Chelmsford, Mass., that are linked by a mesh network with 31 wireless nodes from BelAir Networks, Kanata, Ontario, Canada. Analytics are provided by ObjectVideo, Reston, Va., the VideoSmart management system from Genius Vision Digitals and camera enclosures from Dotworkz Systems, San Diego.

Storage capacity of the video, which is recorded at 15 images per second (ips), is 73 TB. It is transmitted from the mesh network by a wireless gigabit backhaul using 802.11a frequencies. Homeland Security funds were obtained for the port.

The city has had 34 cameras installed with 70 wireless nodes and a gigabit backhaul in its first phase. Bill Lindsay, Richmond city manager, hopes the cameras and network, for which the city is paying, will reduce crime, vandalism and illegal trash dumping. The initial impetus to consider cameras came from the public works department, Lindsay said.

The media event also included a presentation May 15 by Sir Chris Fox, a video surveillance expert from the United Kingdom, who maintained video surveillance is effective when executed properly.

“Community safety cameras work when they are planned, designed and implemented properly,” Fox told the gathering, using the UK’s term for video surveillance cameras.

He emphasized that cameras are for safety, not surveillance, and that the British public supports them after several terrorist bombings that started in the mid-1990s with ones by the Irish Republican Army and other incidents by unaffiliated terrorists.

Fox was involved in the coordination of Britain’s response to the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in the London Underground and on a bus.

Among the lessons learned by British authorities about video surveillance Fox cited are the importance of a national standard for video, the necessity of response to incidents detected by video, keeping deployment flexible, measuring performance of video systems and keeping the lid on hidden costs.

Something as simple as assuring that the judiciary has the correct equipment to view video in court was found to be lacking in the beginning in the UK, he said.

Fox maintained that community safety cameras can prevent the cycle of neighborhood deterioration through vandalism and crime. They can reduce a sense of danger people may have about a neighborhood and, in that sense, reduce urban blight, although he conceded it is difficult to measure that positive effect in dollars.

“Some systems in the UK are awful because they were not thought through on the police side,” Fox admitted. “The good systems are fantastically effective, and the public likes them.”

He pointed out that 194 people have been arrested as a result of the investigation of the London bombings. “Their plans have been disrupted,” he noted. “There is less chance of being a victim of crime in the UK than at any time since 1981.”