Rochester Police Department cuts crime by 80% with help from Pivot3

Rochester Police Department cuts crime by 80% with help from Pivot3

Location: Rochester, NY
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The Challenge

Rochester, New York, is the third most populated city in New York State and is an economic powerhouse that offers strong employment rates, excellent educational facilities and a population with a focused work ethic. Rochester is an innovative city that finds immense value in technology but struggles with high-crime rates. The Rochester Police has long been an early adopter of technology to better protect its citizens against the criminal activities that threaten the Rochester’s success.

Reducing criminal activity is a top priority for the city’s Mayor and the Rochester Police Department. These leaders have taken a stand against crime and prioritized a significant amount of time, money, manpower and technology to reduce crime, protect residents and increase business opportunities within the city limits.

Video surveillance is a proven tool in monitoring, analyzing and even shifting crime and terrorist activities. Because of this, the amount of cameras deployed in public surveillance applications continues to grow. Current forecasts anticipate more than a billion cameras will be installed in the United States alone over the next five years. The city of Rochester is no exception. The city envisions video surveillance as a powerful tool that augments the abilities of its officers, increases situational awareness and enhances safety.

“Prior to deploying the surveillance system, the city was hampered with violent and drug-related crime that couldn’t be addressed with traditional law enforcement methods. We needed a new approach to leverage our existing law enforcement resources to address these challenges,” said Todd McCormack, an officer with the Rochester Police Department. “We had seen the success other metropolitan areas have experienced with video surveillance and determined that an investment in a robust solution to monitor high-crime areas would provide a quick payback.”

After researching local crime statistics, the city deployed more than one hundred cameras and sensors in areas known to be hotbeds for criminal activity. A growing number of cameras and sensors are being deployed over a citywide wireless network designed and deployed by Avrio RMS Group. Evidence-grade video is transmitted to Police headquarters where video analytics help system operators manage all the data. The system operators, who include retired police officers and college students interested in a career in law enforcement, monitor the video 24/7. Police also use mobile data terminals to enhance situational awareness in the field.

The camera system was originally designed for a single server running Genetec Omnicast video management software. But the single physical server configuration could only handle 75 cameras and didn’t offer an easy expansion path. According to McCormack, “We needed to find a solution that could easily and dynamically grow over time so that more cameras could be added as we needed them and video retention times could increase to meet city needs.”

High availability was also a key requirement to Avrio RMS as the city required a solution that would provide a high level of reliability so that component failures or server failures wouldn’t interrupt the capture of video or the access of recorded video.

“We had heard about Pivot3 storage with embedded virtual servers from other municipalities and we were intrigued to see if applying virtualization to this environment would provide the city with the high availability and simple expansion that it needed but also staying within budget,” said Paul Zucker, CTO, Avrio RMS. “Pivot3 Cloudbanks were the only solution that met all of these needs.”

The Solution

Pivot3 developed video surveillance storage where virtual servers are included with high-availability shared storage. This approach eliminates the need for separate physical servers, which reduces acquisition costs and operating costs by up to 40 percent.

A simple appliance approach also lets customers dynamically expand over time without affecting existing infrastructure, maintaining investment protection. Since storage alone can account for 50 percent of the cost of a surveillance system, Pivot3 addresses a major cost driver, which is essential for municipalities like the City of Rochester that want to maximize their budget dollars.

“The mayor plans to increase the number of cameras in the city,” McCormack said. “We knew the success of the first phase would lead to deployment of more cameras so we chose a storage solution that would be easily and economically expanded over time. Pivot3 was the only option for us as the technology met our current and future needs.”

Police policy requires evidentiary video to be available for 30 days. To meet these requirements, the city now has six Pivot3 CloudBank appliances, which offer 12 TB of storage and an embedded virtual server for a total capacity of 72 TB. The robust virtual server even runs SensorScene™, the software suite used by the Rochester Police to integrate their video with disparate security sensors and systems.

“Pivot3 storage with virtual servers delivered everything that was promised,” McCormack said. “It’s exciting to see how virtualization technology made our solution affordable.”

The Result

Since the city embarked on this aggressive campaign to reduce illegal activities, it has experienced more than an 80 percent reduction in crime in areas where cameras have been installed. McCormack said local businesses have seen an uptick in revenues as customers are returning to areas that were previously inaccessible due to criminal activity. McCormack said residents have also thanked the police for making the area more secure and more accessible.

“This is a huge success story,” McCormack said. “Because of our aggressive initiatives with our public surveillance program, residents feel safer and businesses are rebounding. The city of Rochester is benefiting significantly from this project and we plan to leverage technology from innovative providers such as Pivot3, Genetec and Avrio RMS to make sure the reduction in crime continues.”