FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

DrugTest 5000 - Draeger Safety Diagnostics Inc
In the past, roadside drug screening has been difficult because it involved the...

Exclusive Webinar!

Originally aired: June 17, 2014  ‚óŹ 2PM EST

View Webinar Archive Here

Integrated Law Enforcement Complements and Completes Law Enforcement Capabilities

Discover how the combination of intelligence analysis, lead generation, agency collaboration, and communications integration can help you uncover issues faster and take action sooner. Learn how innovative IBM law enforcement solutions can extend the capabilities within your organization to deal with new and emerging threats, improve officer safety, reduce criminal activity, and protect the public. 

Join IBM industry expert Stephen Dalzell and members from the MDPD, IT and homeland security departments of the Miami Dade police department to hear more!

Click here to view archive

 

Features

Surveillance Technology: An End to Stakeouts?

Surveillance technology keeps tabs on the bad guys without you even there.

December 14, 2010  |  by Tim Dees - Also by this author


If your crook is accommodating enough to carry a cell phone you can track, you don't have to be concerned about hardware, but you do have to secure a search warrant with the cellular service provider and be dependent on its network for the information. Dedicated GPS recorders and transmitters are a surer bet here.

GPS surveillance devices fall into two major categories: active and passive. The active devices transmit their locations (as well as speed and direction of travel) in real time, so you know where the device is at any given moment.

The chief limiter of these gadgets is power. It requires quite a bit of current to transmit continuously, and few of them have batteries that will last more than a day or two. A subset of these preserves battery power by transmitting a text message at pre-programmed intervals, giving the location coordinates from the GPS receiver.

Passive devices merely record their travels in internal memory. When you retrieve the device, you dump the memory to see when and where it's been. These are considerably cheaper than the active devices, and their batteries can run for a week or more before going dry.

New research at The University of Memphis gives rise to new technology that largely defeats the battery/power problem. AutoWitness is a penny-sized device intended for concealment inside theft-prone items like computers. A motion-detecting accelerometer, gyroscope, and vibration sensors on the AutoWitness determine when the object is being moved, and whether the movement is characteristic of everyday activities or something new, indicating theft. The sensors also pick up on direction of movement, serving as a kind of dead reckoning positioning system.

The movements are logged internally until a pre-programmed interval has passed (so as to avoid detection) and the AutoWitness senses that there is a sufficiently strong cellular network or other RF signal suitable for transmitting its data. It works best when it is surrounded by a dedicated network of base stations intended to detect the devices and receive their transmissions. However, location detection is about 90 percent accurate when the only localization data is from cell towers. When it comes time to find the specific location of the item carrying the AutoWitness, a dedicated handheld receiver can interrogate and locate the device.

AutoWitness has the potential for some interesting moving surveillance applications. One of the most attractive aspects of this technology (which is truly remarkable and far too complex for me to address here) is that the finished product is expected to cost only $10-$20 per unit.

Seeing Inside

Sometimes your eyes are not enough. If you need to know what's inside a car, package, or other container, you either need to search it by hand or use some tool to make that unnecessary. The latest and greatest tech in this area is backscatter (as opposed to transmitted) X-ray.

Traditional X-ray images are transmitted. The X-rays pass through the imaged object, which absorbs some of the energy. The rest falls onto a sensor or X-ray film, which displays a shadow in areas of less density and light areas to represent greater density.

Tags: Surveillance, Video Surveillance, GPS, Fourth Amendment, Border Patrol

Request more info about this product / service / company


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Doug Clark @ 4/6/2013 10:01 AM

Apparently I overlooked this article when I first received the 12/2010 issue of the magazine, but I've been re-reading many of my back issues lately. (The "Point of Law" column is a great refresher.) Tim's mention of AutoWitness gave me a "Eureka! moment."
Thanks to POLICE and Tim Dees for bringing to my attention something that I otherwise probably not have known about. (Or not known about until it had been on the market for a year or more.)
Good stuff.

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

How to Use a Pole Camera to Clear an Attic
Known as perhaps the most dangerous "fatal funnel" in police work, police officers...
Police Product Test: Pelican Progear Vault Series iPad Case
The Pelican ProGear Vault Series cases for iPad Air and iPad Mini may be the right...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine