COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 11 November 2003
Brondby municipality has 35,000 citizens and 3,500 employees who work in about 100 public institutions. In 2002 this district made a big decision that will affect it in a number of positive ways: all public buildings and sites are to be secured by video surveillance within the next four years. It was quickly determined that the surveillance should be a digital solution. With this new technology, they can have the flexibility to easily add more cameras when they are needed, and integrate with other security systems later on. Brondby has chosen Milestone Xprotect software, sold and installed by AC Sikring A/S.
Strategic decision for social welfare
The strategic objective behind this comprehensive project was defined by Brondby's mayor and politicians a year ago: they plan to ensure the safety of all the district schools, childcare facilities, libraries and other public areas against vandalism and criminal incidents.
"We will not have our population feel unsafe, nor will we allow their public buildings to be vulnerable to vandalism and other crimes. We are taking preventive action against criminals to ensure security in Brondby. That is the motivation behind the intiatives in this project," states Jorgen Nielsen, who is responsible for the surveillance project.
A budget of 6 million Danish crowns has been set for this big project, to cover a four-year period for all of the installations. The first portion of the money has already been utilized: in the summer of 2003, AC Sikring began implementation in 9 sites, including two big schools, some childcare centers, after-school youth facilities, and the district's huge storage location where they keep machines and materials for the maintenance of all roads, parks, etc.
Security market revolution
All over the world, the market for security systems has begun to wake up to the digital revolution. Previously, video surveillance was accomplished by gathering pictures on miles of VHS video tapes that had to be physically stored for later use if important information was needed. With a digital solution, endless hours of searching through such recordings is avoided – just a click of the mouse handles the job.
The new surveillance
"We got bids from seven different solutions, but chose Milestone as the most advanced and 100% digital. We believe this is the future - we do not believe in videotapes anymore. Now everything can be stored on a hard disk," states Nielsen.
The Brondby buildings are monitored at night, on weekends and during holidays, when there are no personnel present. So far, they have installed 70 cameras with infrared (IR) light, that record images at night and cannot be seen by anyone entering the areas.
Focus on problems with vandalism
"Several years ago, all the windows of a school were smashed to pieces one Friday night," recalls Nielsen, then tells about a number of other incidents following that.
He explains that such wanton destruction creates the biggest costs for the municipality: last year they spent a million crowns alone just on renovations of broken glass. This clearly illustrates that so-called ’small crimes’ are not really small at all when seen from the larger perspective. Vandalism is a big problem, but one that can be handled – and that's exactly what they are doing in Brondby.
Brondby will implement the digital surveillance in 80-90 institutions by the time the project's budget is finally used up. By that time, about 300 cameras will be operating in Brondby with Milestone Xprotect software.