The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the largest cathedral and fifth largest church building in the world, recently completed installation of a Vicon Valerus video management system to secure the cathedral and surrounding 11.3 acre complex in Manhattan. As the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the cathedral is the site of daily religious services, community programing and social outreach. It also plays host to a busy schedule of art exhibitions, concerts, receptions, public and private events and visiting dignitaries, who have included Nelson Mandela, The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu and President Bill Clinton.
The new Valerus system, installed by the Long Island office of ITsavvy, an IT products and technology solutions provider, combines over 70 Vicon high-resolution IP cameras, a Valerus application server and multiple recording servers. The system’s wide range of cameras include models with powerful zoom that provide detailed coverage of surrounding city streets, and others chosen for their ability to perform well in the low and challenging light inside the cathedral. Cameras also provide coverage of the cathedral’s’ exterior, administrative and residential buildings that support the bishop, clergy and diocese, a world-class textile conservation laboratory, visitor center, information booths and surrounding grounds and gardens.
Cameras are particularly helpful in protecting the cathedral from liability in slip-and-fall incidents. They also document for the police any incidents that arise from the cathedral’s service to the mentally ill and indigent. Live and recorded video from the Valerus system is frequently shared with NYPD and local security forces from Columbia University and other neighboring institutions.
“The searching feature is so much easier on Valerus, and we can see up to 99 cameras on one screen,” said Keith Hinkson, director of security at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. “This is huge for an institution like ours. I can go from one camera to the next with no trouble whatsoever.”