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Technology Takes Bite Out Of Crime

Tech bites crime

Reasearch Links Technology With Decline In Crime

After decades of soaring statistics, crime in the U.S. has plunged. According to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law1, in the last quarter century crime on both a national and city level dropped dramatically and remain near historic lows. Is the digital revolution driving this downward trend?

Over the last two decades, technology has fundamentally changed the way people connect, altering the risks and rewards of criminal behavior and making it harder to commit crimes. Nowhere is this more evident than New York City. The city’s 80% drop in crime over the last 26 years represents the largest crime decline on record.

NYPD chief of crime control strategies Dermot Shea attributes the new lows to the department’s ability to better track crime patterns, which comes down to improvements in technology and good, old-fashioned police work.2

Technology Assists Law Enforcement

In many precincts, hunches and gut feelings are being replaced by “predictive policing” in successfully suppressing criminal behavior. Predictive policing is the use of data collection, analysis, and technology to track existing trends and conditions and develop efficient and effective strategies to suppress crime. CompStat, the system used by NYPD since 1994, uses data-crunching algorithms and analysis to monitor trends across the city, helping officers combat crime and improve the quality of life for everyone in New York City.

Personal surveillance provides guardianship over ourselves and our environment. Body-worn cameras have helped reduce escalation of conflict around police searches and arrests, by moderating the behavior of both the police and those they are dealing with.

The proliferation of cell phones in society has increased the surveillance ability of civilians, putting them within a finger-swipe of 9-1-1. The risk of being caught is increased exponentially with this technology, raising potential offender’s apprehension and perceived costs of crime.

Technology Key In Crime Prevention

When it comes to hardening the target, simple changes can make an enormous difference. One the biggest drops among all crime categories, in New York and a throughout the U.S. has been in auto theft. Technologies like car immobilizers, key fobs, central locking and tracking devices have made stealing cars more difficult, less lucrative and more likely to land a perpetrator in jail.

The same thing is true for home and business security technologies. For business owners, property managers and residents, security systems provide a feeling of safety, knowing it is designed to react and prevent break-ins. Smart technology has completely transformed the way we protect and monitor our homes and businesses. Making it possible to stop crimes before they happen and create a greater sense of safety and security.

Technology Makes City Life Safer

The connection between crime rates and technology adoption comes as good news to city officials, policymakers, criminologists and urban dwellers everywhere, that high rates of crime are not hard-wired into modern city life.

The best way to stay ahead of the curve and remain secure in the city that never sleeps is working with a qualified, locally trusted advanced security provider. Paragon Security has been turning innovations in technology into secure realities for residents, offices, apartment managers, retail businesses, developers, hospitals, schools and city facilities throughout the five boroughs and beyond for more than 25 years. Call today for more details 212.203.0821.

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Closing The Window Of Opportunity For NYC Burglars

window gates

As the weather warms up, residents and business owners open new windows of opportunity for burglars. Detective Jack Meeks, the spokesman for the New York City Crime Prevention Bureau, warns that the most common entry points for thieves in the city are windows or fire escapes. This risk increases in the spring and summer months.

The good news is that they are also preventable. Detective Meeks explains that intruders have two major enemies, time and noise. So the security of your home or business can be easily strengthened by increasing the time it would take and the noise it would make to gain entry. Thereby increasing the likelihood of being seen.

Take proper precautions in securing all accessible windows, including basement, first floor, top floor, and fire escape windows. The following safeguards will help close the window of opportunity for burglars and prevent the possibly of a break-in:

Exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency. But they also provide intruders with easy access to upper-level windows and balconies. FDNY approved window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices are essential to securing your fire escape, street level, lower level or top level windows. Even if the glass of the window is broken, the window gate prevents thieves from gaining access to the premises. Be sure your window gates are professionally installed and equipped with quick release mechanisms that open from the inside in case of fire or emergency exit.

Treat all street level windows as potential entry points. Install heavy duty window locks, that are clearly visible from the outside. Window pin locks are a simple, affordable yet highly effective burglar deterrent. Check your window locks regularly to make sure they are working properly.

From a simple window sensor alarm to full-service dynamic home protection, there are a variety of window alarms on the market today. Window sensor alarms install onto the window and detect when the window is opened or broken. When triggered, it sounds a warning alarm that alerts those inside and intimates the burglar into fleeing.

An important consideration is whether to use window gates or window bars. Window gates should be installed on any window that could be accessed from the outside. Windows on the second story or higher generally do not need a gate because they are too difficult to enter. However, you should think about any architectural features of that may make it easy for a thief to climb to that window and open it. New York Protection Gates, Manhattan Protection Gates and folding gates also offer superior protection and functionality. Consult a professional window security solution provider to determine the right solution for your specific needs.

Buildings without window bars are targets. Windows that are not covered by bars can be broken easily and used as entry points by burglars. Generally speaking, bars can work on windows that you will not need to climb out of. However, you may, in an emergency, be in a downstairs room and unable to exit through a door. For example, a fire may trap you on one side of the house, unable to get to any exits. If bars are on all of your windows, you could be in trouble. Having one or two windows in each street-level room that are gated instead of barred can provide a better level of safety.

Children have an eager desire to explore their surroundings. This curiosity can lead to dangerous situations like leaning against a weak window screen or too far out a window to look outside. Child safety bars keep children safe from unexpected window falls and give parents peace of mind that a tragic window fall will not occur in their home.

Choosing the right window security feature is just the first step. It’s important to seek a qualified, locally trusted security provider to ensure proper installation to meet the unique security challenges of your building or community.

Security You Need. Service You Deserve.
Paragon Security offers a selection of eye-catching designs of window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices that are custom fitted and installed as part of your residence or business overall security plan. Paragon Security has been proudly serving customers all across New York City including in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island since 1988. Call today for more details 212.203.0821.

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Loss Prevention & Beyond: How Video Innovation Enriches Retailers

Technology Report:
By Larry Anderson

sourcesecurity.comThe retail market is facing unprecedented challenges as brick-and-mortar locations struggle to redefine their role in the age of online commerce. Retailers also deal with continuing, age old requirements to minimize costs in a competitive landscape and to provide services and a customer experience that encourages repeat business.

Video surveillance technology today offers new tools to help retailers. Video in the retail sector has long been associated with loss prevention – providing that “eye in the sky” for store security personnel. But just as retailers are re-inventing themselves, so is video technology.

The biggest change in video is a transition from analog to systems based on Internet Protocol (IP). Networks of cameras connect like computers and can become part of a retailer’s information technology (IT) infrastructure. From the retailers’ perspective, the other exciting development in video is more capabilities at lower costs. Cloud-based systems are also having an impact. Video systems that provide more value to retailers are creating new opportunities, doing more for less money, and expanding the role of video in the retail environment. In effect, video is offering new tools for retailers right when they need them the most.

Return On Investment (ROI) in Retail

Return on investment (ROI) is a key metric in any business, but is especially so in the retail sector, where profit margins may be narrow and could be threatened by the installation of any equipment that doesn’t “pay for itself.” Expanding uses of video boost cost-justification scenarios for any retail business.

More cameras are being installed in retail environments, and the value of camera systems extends far beyond loss prevention. Everyone may immediately think a camera is for loss prevention, but some cameras today can also be used to ensure compliance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) regulations, standards for retailers who handle credit cards. Regulatory factors are requiring camera systems with additional storage – up to 90 days. Cameras can watch a server to ensure PCI compliance. Using video to ensure compliance may have been cost-prohibitive several years ago, but not anymore.

Camera systems also contribute to general liability and safety for retailers. Cameras are being deployed to watch escalators and parking lots (where personal injury liability claims might originate), prompted by the risk management department rather than loss prevention.

Cameras can detect if a person is present when an employee provides a refund, or voids a sale, or performs some other high-risk transaction.

Snippets of video can also be used in training to show good and bad examples of employees in action.

But that’s just the beginning of the value video provides to retail operations beyond loss prevention. Big value comes in the areas of operations and merchandising.

Value for Operations and Merchandising

Even systems originally installed for loss prevention may extend their value if video access is provided to other departments, such as operations and sales. The same camera views used for loss prevention can enable owners or managers to inspect their stores: How much stock is in the back room? Is there a backlog of merchandise? How long is the queue at checkout? Did the store open on time? Are the right people in place? Has the store completed the planogram?

Using information gleaned from video is another useful tool for retailers, especially when combined with other information to yield analytics of – and insights into – store operations. The most common example is conversion rate: How many people who come into the store actually buy something (and how much)? A camera with people-counting capabilities, mounted at the entrance, provides a total number of customers, which can be compared with sales numbers to measure conversion, for the day or during various periods throughout the day. If one store is not performing on par with the others, the conversion rate number can provide a red flag. There may be customer service or staffing issues. The queue wait may be too long. Staffing may be inadequate at peak times. More and more retailers are using conversion rate to help them manage their businesses more effectively…

Click here to read the full report

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Burglar Prompts Window Security Check


Published originally on: NYPD Crime StoppersSecurity monitoring of a Brooklyn apartment recently caught this burglary suspect on surveillance video, leaving the building through the front door. The suspect gained entry to the apartment by climbing the fire escape outside the Brooklyn building on Lincoln Road. Choosing a window that was not gated, alarmed or locked, he was able to simply pushed open the fourth floor window.

Brooklyn Burglar
Upon entry to the apartment through the window, the suspect removed a Dell laptop and an Apple laptop and then fled out the front door of the apartment building. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.


Stories like this are all too common in New York. But the good news is that they are also preventable. It is up to us as residents and business owners, to safeguard our family and employees. It is essential to take every precaution in making  sure all accessible windows, including basement, first floor, top floor, and fire escape windows are secure.


There are a variety of window alarms on the market today. From a simple window sensor alarm to full-service dynamic home/business protection. A window sensor alarm installs onto the window and detects when a window is opened or broken. By sounding a warning alarm, it alerts those inside and intimates the burglar into fleeing. For maximum security, you may consider an Integrated Wireless Security System with 24/7 alarm system monitoring and Motion Detectors. These systems are easy to operate for the user and can also double as burglar alarms and fire alarms. As the security system picks up signs of an intruder, an alarm is set off and police are dispatched the police to your home or office if needed.

Window Locks

Don’t underestimate the power of a good lock. Deadbolts and other types of window locks are excellent, but the best burglar deterrent is a hefty window lock that is visible from the outside. A window pin lock can a simple, affordable yet highly effective burglar deterrent.

Window Gates

Windows that are not protected can be broken easily used as a point of entry by burglars. The best and safest way to secure your fire escape, lower level or top level windows is with a FDNY approved window gates. Window gates can be highly effective at bolstering home security for multiple reasons. Burglars usually look for the quickest and easiest access. The installation of window gates act as a deterrent because the gates make the home appear to be more difficult to break into. Even if the glass is broken, the window gate still keeps them from gaining access.

With proper installation, window gates and/or security bars are firmly attached to the building structure with bolts and screws. And fitted with quick release mechanisms that open security gates from inside your house for emergency exits in case of fire. Architectural features of on the exterior of your building can often be used by thieves for climbing to higher levels without window gates. Fire escapes, in particular, represent a major risk. Not securing a window that is accessible via fire escape leaves everyone and everything inside vulnerable. And an easy target. As the fire escape represents an extremely accessible entry point for most burglars.

Choosing the right window security feature that meets all applicable standards, is just the first step. It is also worth considering the slight distinction between New York Protection Gates, Manhattan Protection Gates and folding gates. In many cases, your solution provider can help you make the right choice. Next you must you must be certain the features are installed correctly by a professional locksmith / security companyInstallation makes all the difference when it comes to finding the right solution for your needs. As part of extensive window security services, Paragon Locksmith NYC offers a selection of eye-catching designs of window gates, security bars, and child guard security devices that are custom fitted and installed as part of your residence or business overall security plan.

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Window Gates: The Aesthetic Advantage


If you’ve been looking around New York City lately you might be seeing fewer window gates around. Some homeowners seem to have begun to think that declining crime rates over the past decade or so means they can get by without gates. While this often is not the case, there can be temptation to avoid putting in window gates. This is especially true since so many solutions are a major eyesore. Let’s face it, if you’ve just purchased a new home in a relatively safe neighborhood you aren’t going to be too excited to install a bunch of bars over your windows and ruin the look of your home. But what if your window gates could actually accent your property? What if they weren’t an eyesore, but a complementary part of your home that also keeps you safe? Custom window gates can give you the protection you need without having to sacrifice the pleasure you get when you look at your home.

Considering custom window gates
Custom iron work from a locksmith or security company can help you protect your home without sacrificing beauty or convenience in neighborhoods where residents may be tempted to not worry about window bars. After all, who wants to be the house on the block that makes all the other homes look a little worse by having something ugly on the exterior of their house? At the same time, you don’t want to invite risk. If you leave your windows exposed your home could easily become a target for professional criminals looking for an easy hit or a desperate person who knows he or she can travel to a nice neighborhood and find a house without a window gate, allowing easy entry. You don’t have to weigh the pros and cons of window gates anymore. Instead, you can get all the security you want without sacrificing appearance.

A good security provider offering custom ironwork can help you plan a good layout, deliver metalwork that meets FDNY regulatory specifications and end up with an attractive solution that adds a layer of protection and attractiveness to your home. This kind of solution can be perfect if you are concerned about security, but also pride yourself in keeping your home pleasant to the eye.

What to look for in custom gates
While custom gates can provide you with a combination of safety and beauty that you want, you have to look out for providers that may cut corners and give you a substandard product. There are a few things you can do to avoid this:

Check for certifications: An official FDNY approval is absolutely essential if you want to install window gates. It is also worth considering the slight distinction between New York Protection Gates, Manhattan Protection Gates and folding gates. In many cases, your solution provider can help you make the right choice.

Know what to expect from a provider: Generally speaking, a good vendor will actually come to your residence and measure your windows before progressing to actually making the gate. You should also be able to get help from the provider when it comes to choosing the right windows to put a gate over and making sure the property is protected. While you may be able to get what you need from an iron worker, partnering with a security solution vendor that can also provide iron work solutions is often the best option.

Transparency: Make sure you avoid any hidden costs. Working with a vendor that can offer a free estimate and clearing pricing range can go a long way to helping you get what you need.

The right custom window gate can give you protection and attractiveness in one bundle, making it an ideal option for homeowners that are unsure if they want to deal with the eye sore of bars over windows.

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Eliminating retail theft with advanced security tools

When most people hear the term “retail security,” they automatically think of theft, people physically stealing items from the store. While that is not wholly inaccurate, return fraud is also among the most common and devastating types of robbery in the retail industry.

Return fraud usually occurs when an individual tries to exchange a stolen item for cash, uses a counterfeit receipt or attempts to get money back when a product is not damaged or malfunctioning in any way. According to a new study by the National Retail Federation, the industry will lose around $8.9 billion in revenue this year due to return fraud, with $2.9 billion in losses taking place solely during the holiday season. This means that more than 4 percent of all returns during the holiday season are scams.

“Even more troubling is the fact that innocent consumers often suffer because companies have to look for ways to prevent and detect all types of crime and fraud in their stores, oftentimes resorting to shorter return windows and limitations on the types of products that can be returned,” said Rich Mellor, vice president of loss prevention at the NRF.

The survey polled 60 executives at varying retail organizations and found that more than 96 percent of respondents lost revenue last year because of fraudulent returns on stolen items. Another 64 percent said their company fell victim to wardrobing – the return of non-defective merchandise – last year, while 45 percent said criminals provided fake receipts to get money back.

“Return fraud in any form is a serious threat, and we know that retailers have made significant strides in their fight against retail crime, and are continuing their efforts working with law enforcement to address this multi-billion dollar problem,” Mellor said.

Fighting fire with fire
Although being more vigilant in the returns department will likely reduce the chance of fraud taking place, retailers need to be proactive in preventing theft from even taking place. To do so, organizations should consider using an advanced integrated security system complete with next-generation alarms and gadgets.

Physical security solutions are no joke; they really work. This was highlighted in a study by University of Florida, which revealed the use of surveillance cameras and other tools reduced theft as a percentage of revenue by 1.41 percent – the equivalent of roughly $2.6 billion in savings.

“The decrease in retail theft can be a direct result of the widespread investment in technologies and integrated solutions by retailers,” security expert Michael Creedon said. “Clearly security solutions are proving to be a solid investment and have saved retailers billions of dollars in losses every year. There are a number of technologies and services available today that can help retailers continue to prevent theft, decrease shrinkage and track merchandise effectively.”

In addition to video surveillance cameras, retailers should consider using access control systems to prevent internal theft and product tracking and monitoring tools to ensure nothing is stolen out of sight.

The holiday season is quickly approaching, meaning retail decision-makers need to put on their game faces. By eliminating theft and being more adamant about a strict return policy, businesses may be able to spread some holiday joy without experiencing unnecessary losses in revenue.

An integrated security system can combine several of the most innovative tools together, giving retailers a leg up over criminals.


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Security systems don’t just protect against crime

When it comes to thinking about a home security system, especially for homes in what are believed to be safe neighborhoods, it may seem foolish to spend so much money to prevent a robbery. If your doors and windows lock and are secure, your neighbors are able to keep an eye on the place when you need them to and your most important valuables are well hidden, why worry about crooks?

Modern security systems do more than just deter criminals from attacking your household. New technological updates offer more features than ever to help you feel more secure, and not just from crime. Alerts can give you a notice when something's not right in the house, from something minor to something major.

Alerts for more than crime
Many systems these days come with emergency awareness buttons as well as crime ones. In the case of an important event, some systems can automatically call for help before anyone in the home even knows there's a problem, which can save time, valuables and resources, not to mention your family. They can detect various problems; some systems have additional abilities to sniff out dangerous gases like carbon monoxide and will alert you in the process. With sensors prepared to inform you and authorities about something extremely wrong happening, you can rest easier.

In the same vein, if a family member falls ill the emergency contact feature can get help or an ambulance to your home faster than calling 911. For elderly members of the family, new systems can even come with monitors that can be worn, which means in the case of an injury or illness, they'll have a direct line to family or medical help that could potentially save them from further injury or even death.

Keeping an eye on the place
If a system is installed with cameras, it's easy to keep an eye on your home from anywhere if they're IP-enabled. Cameras can do everything from letting you know who's at the front door to keeping an eye on rowdy teenagers. Plus, using a mobile device or computer even outside of your home, you can connect using the Internet to give yourself an added breath of fresh air whenever you're concerned about your home.

Plus, motion sensors aren't just to keep criminals out, either. If your pets keep creeping into an area you don't want them reaching, or you want to protect family valuables, placing a motion sensor nearby can give you an alert any time they pick up movement. Whether it's to keep Fido out of the dog food or your kids away from the antiques, motion sensors are just one of many additional uses you can get from a home security system.

Mobile controls more advanced than ever
Additionally, mobile connections that can be made between alarm systems and smartphones can give you more control than ever over your home. Activating and disarming your system can be as easy as the tap of a button, while additional controls such as lighting can potentially be done using mobile devices as well.

Most modern security systems also contain panic buttons, which aren't just limited to crimes either. Any high-profile incident that needs help from authorities can be solved by pressing one button.

One of the best advantages of upgrading your security isn't even related to the system's abilities itself. Adding extra layers of protection to guard your home from crime can lead to your insurance bills getting chopped by as much as 10 percent, which can add up over the long run.

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Security cameras help police tackle crime

Without the aid of security cameras, it is likely an alleged murderer in Spokane, Washington would still be walking free. According to a news report on, on June 11th, 2014, Sean Oie was stabbed to death at the STA Plaza. The security guards there discovered the image of the suspect, Donald Phillips, was caught on one of the surveillance cameras of a bus he had walked past. The image was clear enough to make out the tattoo on his left forearm. Police tweeted out Phillips’s description and six hours later he was arrested.

This incident demonstrates the importance of having a CCTV system for your home or business. That’s where Paragon Security NYC comes in. Paragon security experts can install a variety of surveillance cameras to give your home added protection. Potential criminals will see these cameras and likely avoid your home or business for fear of having their image recorded. Should there be a break-in or other crime on your property, you can have evidence to help the police identify and catch the offender.

Contact Paragon Security NYC today and find out which surveillance cameras are best for you.

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Bike theft is a real problem in New York City

Anyone who has ever ridden a bike in a city knows that there are many thieves who prey on the weak and helpless. While New York City has had its fair share of crime in the past, new locking technology and an improved police presence have lowered the crime rate to record levels. However, stubborn burglars who insist on disrupting the peace have turned to a new low on their quest for anarchy – bike theft.

This became evident when the new CitiBike sharing program, which was recently launched across all five boroughs, had its bikes stolen the day before the initiative was to start.  This demonstrates that criminals are getting more and more resourceful in their attempts to gain money and riches by illegal means.

"A cop car was passing by and the workers said, 'Stop, stop, we've just been robbed,'" said Bolivar Arellano, a New York Post freelance photographer, according to the Post.

However, this hardly comes as a surprise, as many people consider New York City to be among the riskiest cities to bike in.

"New York is widely regarded as the nation's bicycle-theft capital – Kryptonite's signature bike lock is called the 'New York Lock – and in New York, as elsewhere, bike stealing spikes during times of economic distress," wrote Jody Rosen in an article for Slate.

Cyclists in New York City are always on the lookout for crooks hiding in dark alleyways, but there is not much these vigilant riders can do when their bicycles are locked down for the night. A proper bike locking system can help prevent the theft of the frame, but desperate kleptomaniacs might resort to stealing wheels, chains and handlebars.

Therefore, a video surveillance system is a must when securing bikes both indoors and out. Remote cameras can be disguised as a part of the natural environment, and imagine the look of surprise on a crook's face when he or she realizes that they have been photographed in the act. An added benefit of the technology is that it will deter future thefts – if criminals know a block or house is secured, they will avoid it due to fear of being caught.

Knowing is half the battle, but with a proper surveillance system, cyclists in New York City will be able to reduce the chance that their modes of transportation will be stolen.

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Philly gets creative to reduce crime

Large cities are always fighting an uphill battle against crime, especially in today's economic crisis when individuals resort to theft and other malicious activity to turn a profit. Philadelphia is one of these cities, as it has one of the highest crime rates among the top 10 cities in the United States, according to a report by SecurityInfoWatch.

Public safety, among other categories, was one of the major topics of discussion at the recent Fall 2012 Secured Cities conference in Philadelphia.

"You cannot have a great city if people don't feel safe," Philly Mayor Michael Nutter said, according to SecurityInfoWatch.

Philadelphia is currently experiencing some challenges with public safety as the city is witnessing an ongoing population growth for the first time in about 60 years, the news source said. While this is making it more difficult to manage criminal activity, the migration is largely due to initiatives that have lowered the overall prevalence of violent crimes.

Mitigating risk through next-generation programs
While Nutter has made a significant dent in crime for the city, he says there is still a ways to go, as the public sector needs to continue fighting the declining homicide rates.

Teaming up with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Nutter implemented several initiatives to reduce crime, including installing video surveillance cameras throughout the city and sharing data with external police departments, SecurityInfoWatch noted. To stress this program even more, the city is offering incentives for businesses that partner in its "SafeCam" program, which enables local law enforcement agencies to connect with private surveillance systems.

Furthermore, Philadelphia is strengthening its surveillance initiatives by teaming up with regional agencies through the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center and the Real Time Crime Center, the news source said. The collaboration concept will become increasingly important in the coming years as the economic crisis continues.

"State and local budgets are pushed to the max and federal dollars are drying up and I don't see that changing," Philadelphia Police Department Deputy Commissioner Nola Joyce said, according to SecurityInfoWatch.

A separate study by the Urban Institute said many municipal surveillance programs are effective at lowering crime rates, especially if they enable effective monitoring.

"Overall, the most effective surveillance systems are those that are monitored by trained staff and have enough cameras to detect crimes in progress and investigate them after the fact," said Nancy La Vigne, the study's lead author.

As crime rates continue to rise, major cities need to be proactive and deploy innovative strategies to keep the public safe.

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Next-generation integrated security systems boost city crime deterrence capabilities

Surveillance cameras have become an integral part of security systems during the past few decades, allowing business decision-makers, homeowners and municipalities to monitor areas where no other authorities are present. Deploying surveillance cameras has been an increasingly popular trend in large cities, as local law enforcement can use the devices to track and identify potential criminals.

In New York, this trend was taken to the next level, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly recently unveiled a new surveillance system that integrates 3,000 of the city's surveillance cameras with the NYPD's existing criminal database, according to the New York Post.

"We're not your mom-and-pop's police department anymore," Mayor Bloomberg said, according to the news provider. "We are in the next century. We are leading the pack."

The new security management solution is called the Domain Awareness System and was created in a joint effort by the NYPD and Microsoft, the New York Post said. Demonstrating its capabilities, NYPD counterterrorism unit director of policy and planning Jessica Tisch explained how local law enforcement used footage from different cameras to identify the suspect who recently left a suspicious package near Union Square.

The next-generation security system has the ability to identify vehicle registrations based on the car's license plate, which came in handy when authorities were investigating a suspected murderer, the news source noted. The database can even recognize if a person has ever been issued a parking ticket or been charged in other minor crimes.

"We can track where a car associated with a murder suspect is currently located and where it's been over the past several days, weeks or months," Kelly said, according to the New York Post.

Surveillance systems are not a cure-all solution

Other cities around the United States are making similar initiatives to help local law enforcement agencies investigate and reduce criminal occurrences throughout the region. While surveillance cameras are becoming an essential aspect of these strategies, they should not be viewed as the only tool necessary, SecurityInfoWatch reported.

"The cameras are not a panacea," Baltimore Police Commissioner Fredrick Bealefeld said, according to SecurityInfoWatch. "They are a component of your overall program."

Baltimore, which has more than 530 surveillance cameras at its disposal, has one of the most intricate integrated security systems in the United States, as the devices monitor activity 24 hours a day, every day of the year. However, Bealefeld said that surveillance cameras cannot replace police officers, instead the tools can be used as an extra set of eyes in areas where physical monitoring may not be possible, the news source said. They should be viewed as an enhancement, not a replacement.

By implementing integrated security systems, municipalities around the country may be able to enhance their crime deterrence capabilities and improve local law enforcement's ability to investigate dangerous or law-breaking situations.

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Security cameras counter bizarre crimes

From the strange to the serious, crimes are constantly occurring. While it is deadly threats that make the most compelling case for camera security, sometimes it is the more bizarre and amusing incidents that draw attention to the utility of surveillance cameras. Some recent reports from local news sources cast light on dubious crimes and confusing behavior and the role surveillance technology can play in keeping an eye on public spaces.

Self-defeating thief

While one of the key features of a surveillance setup is its ability to drive away criminals with its mere presence, some criminals don't learn the lesson to stay away. Luckily, cameras are no empty threat and can help bring brazen lawbreakers to justice.

According to KNVN, a local news provider in Chico, California, one thief recently attempted a ploy that virtually ensured he would be identified by security cameras – he set out to steal the surveillance system itself. According to the source, a 55 year old man named Dennis Gunn recently received a three year federal prison sentence for a caper designed to steal security cameras from a local school's campus. One device caught footage of Gunn clear enough to identify him while he was on his way to steal the others. Police investigating Gunn found that the had three illicitly-acquired cameras at the time of his arrest.

Armed with sauce

Not every case is as open-and-shut as Gunn's, however. Sometimes, it takes a strange crime just out of cameras' range to inspire plans. A strange plot in Indianapolis encouraged police there to consider expanding their security camera network. According to the Indianapolis Star, an act of vandalism has led to action. A new camera is set to watch over the city's USS Indianapolis monument after a vandal scrawled an upraised middle finger on the memorial. According to the source, however, the actual act is not the strangest part of the case – instead of using paint or marker, the bandit did his work in barbecue sauce.

The proliferation of odd and amusing criminal activity can serve an important and very serious purpose – it can draw attention to the things authorities can do with clear security footage of unattended areas. The same video systems that can stop a perpetrator armed with a jar of sauce could help prevent a deadly attack.

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