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Motorola Wireless Video Surveillance Helps LAPD Reduce Crime

June 09, 2009  | 

On a daily basis, the 9,400 men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department take to the streets to fulfill their oath to protect and defend the citizens who live, work, and play within the 465 square miles of the city of Los Angeles. The success or failure of their mission often depends on equipping them with tools they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. Motorola's wireless video surveillance is providing such tools to reduce crime in a Los Angeles public housing development.

Located on 10 square miles of the city's lower east side, Jordan Downs is a 700-unit public housing development in LA's Watts neighborhood.

With one of the highest crime rates in the city, Jordan Downs represents tough challenges to LA's men and women in blue. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Police Chief William Bratton recognized those challenges and pledged their support to resolve the problem.

In 2006 Mayor Villaraigosa announced the city's Jordan Downs public safety initiative, called Safe Passage, promising to increase surveillance in the area and create an environment where residents could feel safe in their own neighborhoods.

"We made a promise to the residents of the Jordan Downs community to increase police monitoring services and decrease crime and gang activity," says Mayor Villaraigosa. "We made a commitment to the parents of Jordan Downs that their children will be able to walk to school safely. Today, we're keeping those promises."

LAPD Turns to Technology to Augment its Police Force

Fresh on the heels of a dramatic decrease in crime as a result of installing video technology in Los Angeles' 40-acre MacArthur Park, the LAPD hoped to duplicate that success in Jordan Downs and take the technology a step further. The department's goal was to create a network around Jordan Downs that would wirelessly deliver real-time video to police from critical locations throughout the area. Mesh technology provides the backbone that delivers high speed data, enabling a new level of situational awareness that allows law enforcement personnel to arrive on the scene fully informed and ready to respond.

"Technology is an important way a small police department with a big job, like LAPD, has any chance of providing public safety," says Deputy Chief Charlie Beck. "Motorola's mesh network was the technology we wanted to use and they stepped up to the plate in a big way."

Motorola proposed MOTOMESH multi-radio wireless broadband network. An easy to deploy, scalable and cost-effective solution, MOTOMESH provides WiFi access for the public and gives first responders access to mission critical communications through separate, dedicated and secure access. The network encompasses 10 wireless video surveillance cameras located throughout Jordan Downs that allow officers using laptop computers or handheld devices to pan across surveillance locations and zoom in and out on suspected criminal activity.

A complete end-to-end solution, MOTOMESH leverages Motorola's patented mesh networking technology to provide visibility in key areas, extending analysis capabilities by recording events for evidentiary and scenario planning use. MOTOMESH boxes hang on light poles or are affixed to buildings and the network integrates with Motorola Canopy wireless broadband to provide rapid and reliable connections between the distributed access points.

"We expected some type of vandalism (to the cameras and equipment)," says LAPD Chief Detective Damien LeVesque. "After five months of operating surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, we've had none. We found that by informing citizens of the neighborhood that their actions will be recorded, we've actually modified behavior."

Looking Ahead

The LAPD's long-term vision is to expand and connect the benefits of the MOTOMESH network to other agencies and emergency service providers. In addition, the LAPD is planning to implement applications through the network that will enable license plate recognition readers, biometrics, and facial and fingerprint recognition.

Technology changes quickly, but for the LAPD the possibilities are endless. Having the infrastructure to be able to support this technology will carry them far into the future.

About Motorola

Motorola is known around the world for innovation and leadership in wireless and broadband communications.

Inspired by our vision of seamless mobility, the people of Motorola are committed to helping you connect simply and seamlessly to the people, information and entertainment that you want and need. We do this by designing and delivering "must have" products, "must do" experiences, and powerful networks – along with a full complement of support services.

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