University of Delaware Campus & Public Safety Leverages Technology to Enhance Public Safety

Project Manager, Mark Seifert

Surveillance Camera Mapping

Beginning in May, 2010, the University of Delaware Campus & Public Safety Department embarked on Phase I of an initiative to utilize an I.P. based video surveillance system to enhance public safety. The results have spoken for themselves. Almost immediately, a street robbery that occurred on Halloween night near Laird Campus was solved with the combined use of the camera network and excellent police work by an observant UD police officer. Phase II of the project was completed in September, 2011 with the addition of 20 new cameras and the unveiling of a new Video Monitoring Center located at the Public Safety building. The Center is currently staffed at limited times by trained operators who can immediately use the system to observe the location of a reported crime, often before the arrival of an officer to the scene. It is anticipated the function of the Center will grow rapidly and with supervisory officers coordinating responses to crimes, managing public events and providing campus situational awareness.

The surveillance camera project has proven an excellent return on the university’s initial investment. On a daily basis, department personnel rely upon the network to be "the eye in the sky". UD police officers are using footage from the video archives to develop suspect information, identify suspicious vehicles and to supplement the officers’ proactive crime prevention efforts. Skip Homiak, Director of UD Campus & Public Safety, commented: "Our personnel are learning the power of this system virtually every day. We take our commitment to our students and the entire campus community very seriously. The camera network allows our officers to work smarter and we will continue to champion technology-based policing practices on campus."

In Phase II, the university is working with Integration Logistics, a Delaware firm and proven partner in meeting the university’s desire to apply state-of-the-art technology to public safety applications. Phase II advancements have included the deployment of six new cameras that Integration Logistics installed at the Delaware Stadium. This system is linked to the campus-wide camera network and will provide a 360 degree field of view of all spectator seating as well as the surrounding facilities and parking lots. The cameras will be monitored by the Department of Public Safety from a remote command post. A video surveillance workstation with one 42" Panasonic monitor and two 24" Dell high resolution monitors will allow operators to proactively monitor each camera. Operators can select multiple views or use preset tours to ensure full coverage of pre-game and game events both inside the stadium and in the surrounding parking areas where safety and security of the visitors is paramount. Public Safety can instantly use the system to monitor incidents such as disorderly conduct in the stands or a call for a medical emergency. This camera platform will allow for real-time monitoring until officers can arrive on scene.

In public safety, decisions are being made every day which can impact the lives and safety of thousands of people. The University of Delaware Campus & Public Safety Department has quickly seen the power of the campus-wide surveillance system and the critical role it plays in making sound decisions based on what is being observed in the field. Using the power of the university’s broadband network, the university is exploring new and exciting features such as video analytics, motion-based recording and "virtual patrols". The Department strives to be on the cutting-edge of technology and to accomplish more with less. Innovation, partnerships and leadership will continue to foster an enhanced quality of life at the University of Delaware.

For more information concerning the UD Intelligent Campus Safety System project, contact Project Manager Mark Seifert at 831-7394 or seifert@udel.edu.

Additional Reading

Between 2007 and 2010, researchers from the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center studied public surveillance systems in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., to measure the extent of their use, their effects on crime, their other benefits, and their costs. While results varied by area, surveillance systems in Baltimore and Chicago produced more than enough benefits to justify their costs. September, 2011

Video surveillance used more by small towns Judy Keen, USA Today 02/01/2011

Recent News

1:34 p.m., May 14, 2012--University of Delaware Police have charged three men in connection with recent unrelated incidents on the Newark campus.

Local Headlines

Police arrest three after linking Claymont, Newark robberies Newark Post, Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reduction of bike thefts in part from campus security camerasThe Review, Monday, October 31, 2011

"Newark to have more eyes on crime" An article appearing in the News Journal 12/19/2010 (.pdf)

An article appearing in the Newark Post (.pdf) November 2010

An article appearing in the UD Review concerning placement of cameras on campus (.pdf) September, 2010