Protecting passengers and staff at railways, ports and stations

passengers and staff

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Neil Killick, EMEA Sales Director of Developed Markets, Milestone Systems looks at the process of enhancing transport security and safety to protect passengers and staff.

A pleasant journey is a safe one and protecting passengers now extends beyond reducing violent and aggressive behavior to also include gang-related crimes, deterring anti-social behavior and reducing vandalism and graffiti.

In fact, studies have shown that areas with high graffiti levels have increased amounts of trespassing, stealing and littering.

Graffiti can also be used by street gangs in turf wars — something no passenger wants to find themselves caught in the middle of.

In response, transport operators are seeing new ways to detect and deter graffiti tagging and vandalism, with 70% of public transport leaders looking at video analytics as a solution.

Increasing complexity

Simultaneously, the complexity of crimes being committed on transport is increasing, with 59% of railway operators reporting attacks occurring during operating services with criminals boarding trains, threatening and assaulting passengers and staff and vandalising trains, cabins and surveillance cameras.

Gang-related crimes are often linked to repeat offences and other crimes such as theft.

But, the sector is fighting back with greater investment in video surveillance, video analytics and integrations with IoT to efficiently deal with new and repeat offenders.

Indeed, 40% of transport leaders are looking at connecting their video technologies with additional technologies like IoT by 2023 – and 23% intend to invest in an advanced tech platform to connect video to other systems.

How video technology can deter and detect crime

Intelligent video technology can be a significant help in boosting collaboration and proactively preventing crimes from occurring on transport.

Edge AI for greater awareness – criminals may focus on a wide area to find targets for theft, violence and vandalism, so an extensive surveillance system is needed to avoid any blind spots.

However, that’s easier said than done, especially on vehicles or trains that travel long distances and cannot always relay video footage back to control rooms.

Next generation video surveillance cameras are able to process some footage at the edge, to reduce bandwidth requirements for sending video data back to a control room.

Some automation can also be done through in-built analytics in the camera device itself or by using edge/IoT devices to run the analytics.

Using edge/IoT solutions for running video analytics offers greater flexibility in the type of analytics that can be run, whereas in-camera analytics can be more cost effective as there are fewer overheads required for the analytics compute power.

Object detection, thermal imaging, loitering detection and audio analysis can all inform operators of suspicious behavior, left luggage, known vandals or sudden movement in a restricted area.

Aggressive behavior can be automatically flagged by a video system so security teams and police can quickly attend and de-escalate.

Held weapons can be detected (using object detection) and aggressive arm signals or movements can be picked up by video feeds. ANPR can flag suspicious vehicles or unauthorised parking.

Crowd detection can alert operators to possible anti-social behavior, so they can tell a crowd to disperse before a crime occurs.

Collectively, with these insights relayed back to operators, situational awareness and response times will improve.

Additionally, all of these processes are done through automation, freeing operators from constantly monitoring video feeds (which can cause video fatigue).

Instead, their role becomes much more proactive and strategic.

1-ISJ- Protecting passengers and staff at railways, ports and stations
Utilising VMS to protect passengers and staff

Detect crime and capture information for investigations – advances in AI mean operators can be alerted to more potential crimes like trespassing and vandalism.

In fact, AI is advanced enough now that it can recognise graffiti as soon as the paint or pen marks a surface.

An alert, specific to when graffiti is being written, notifies operators and camera footage can be brought up for visual confirmation and to direct ground staff to the offender.

These alerts ensure that on-the-ground security staff get to a potential incident rapidly — to stop vandals and catch them red-handed or to immediately investigate an event before physical evidence is lost.

Alongside video surveillance, other sensors can alert operators to potential crimes. Intrusion panels, infrared barriers, LiDAR and motion detection can help to detect movement and activity, even in difficult weather or dark conditions.

Using such technology in highly restricted and dangerous areas, like underground tunnels, can help to reduce risk to passengers and staff and also prevent criminals from trespassing in areas that put their own lives in danger.

Integration with audio intelligence can deliver sound insights back to a control room to give a fuller picture of what’s happening on the ground in stations, depots and so forth.

Immediate alerts can be shared for threatening sounds that are detected like shouting or loud banging. Cameras could then pan to the location for visual confirmation of the event.

Camera and device tampering analytics can also tell operators when a surveillance system is being sabotaged.

Camera stitching enables operators to track the movement of a person or vehicle around a city, from camera to camera, to collect data for police investigations.

This gives police greater oversight of how a situation developed, where a perpetrator came from and where they escaped — supporting convictions but also preventing future incidents.

Keep criminals out – access control technology will keep unwanted people out of depots, stations and, in some cases, railway lines.

Perimeter control and detection will detect if someone gains access to a site. Integration with video surveillance can then automatically pan cameras (or even dispatch video drones) to a potential entry point to track intruders (and direct security personnel to their location), gather evidence or rule out false positives.

Coupled with access control, which primarily works during operational hours, intrusion detection prevents and detects break-ins.

Intrusion detection sensors like glass break sensors, seismic sensors, PIR sensors and magnetic contacts provide the first line of defence for a facility during closing hours.

When combined with video, operators get immediate visual confirmation and situational awareness plus the option to automate access control commands at the same time.

Consolidate everything with a VMS – transport operators have a vast amount of data from video, IoT sensors, access control, perimeter control, intrusion detection, body-worn camera footage and audio that’s coming into a control room at any one time.

Not to mention, there are likely many different kinds of transport assets to be monitored, from stations and depots to offices, storage buildings and railway tunnels — all using different security solutions.

Consolidating all of this into a single view will help control room staff keep on top of any developing incidents.

That’s where an intuitive video management system (VMS) proves invaluable because it combines and makes sense of all incoming data.

Automation can carry out much of the monitoring of such feeds, giving operators more time to focus on the events that need attention and action.

A VMS can support operators and law enforcement to understand patterns of incidents that will aid in long term crime prevention.

Moreover, it can deliver valuable evidence for investigations, prosecution and future deterrent measures.

Deterring criminals, long term

With the latest advances in video technology, transport operators are gaining the upper hand.

Real time alerts and greater insights are making it harder for criminals to regularly and repeatedly operate on railways, buses, ports and more.

That can only be a good thing for transport organisations and the billions of passengers that rely on them.

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