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Council to Discuss Security Cameras at Edgewood and Rhode Island Intersection

License plate reader

In tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Mayor and Council will discuss a proposal from security company Avrio to install closed circuit cameras at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue and also at the intersection of St. Andrews Pl. and Metzerott Road.

Past discussion of installing City funded security cameras at these locations included expanding the CCTV/LPR MESH system the City had installed in Old Town, which is monitored by UM DOPS/UMPD. At this time, such expansion is not technically feasible at a reasonable cost. The distance and intervening physical signal barriers will not allow reception of data signals at the UM operations center.

A source of funds is not available at this time to expand that system to install a signal receivers network between the existing MESH system and these locations. A source of funds sufficient to support live monitoring of these locations is also not available.

Also discussed was the use of “portable” security cameras. The two sites were surveyed by our MESH system vendor, Avrio, and City staff. Truly portable equipment, similar to our speed camera units, would be subject to vandalism and constant maintenance. Equipment would, for practicality, need to be installed on existing utility poles, making it essentially permanent.

A third option has been identified by the vendor which installed the MESH system. With the completion of the signalized intersection at Rhode Island and Edgewood, there are now signal poles and arms which could be used to mount camera and signal equipment. In addition, there is a growing, state managed, license plate reader (LPR) data base system. With proximity to the Maryland State police barracks antenna, it is possible to feed data into the state system. This system can provide data to all police agencies, including Prince George’s County Police, and University of Maryland Police.

Our vendor is continuing to determine possible connectivity to this system for this location. The St. Andrews / Metzerott location, however, remains out of range for this system too. This third option would be to install permanent equipment. This equipment would allow download of data on site to an authorized police laptop computer at each location. The LPR “cameras” would provide a record of license plate data and a still photo image of the vehicle. Connectivity to the state system, if approved, would provide real time data to police from that location.

In October 2011, Mayor and City Council designated $350,000 of FY2011 revenue from speed enforcement camera for additional public safety expenditures. These included the purchase of cameras/license plate readers, capital equipment grants awarded to the three fire companies providing first response to portions of the City, replacement wood guardrail on Narragansett Parkway, four new streetlight installations and a crosswalk with flashing lights near Duvall Field. Of this total, $103,000 was earmarked for three CCTV/LPR (record on site) cameras/license plate readers, one at St. Andrews Place and Metzerott Road and two at Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue.

Staff is recommending Installation of a more permanent system at these locations would allow data download by police at each location, and connectivity to the state LPR data system,

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4 Comments to “Council to Discuss Security Cameras at Edgewood and Rhode Island Intersection”

  1. By Bill Smith, November 27, 2012 @ 7:05 am

    The article isn’t very clear on the purpose of the closed circuit cameras and the associated equipment. It appears the equipment is just to record the license plate of every car that passes those points? Why?

  2. By Fazlul Kabir, November 27, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Bill, That’s correct. The cameras will serve as license plate readers – to help trace criminals, suspended drivers and stolen vehicles.

  3. By Bill Smith, November 27, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

    If you are not a criminal, suspended driver or a stolen vehicle how long will the data be stored? Years? Forever?

  4. By Fazlul Kabir, November 28, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    Bill, the vendor told us last night that the license plate readers (LPR) will store data on standalone computer systems. The data will stay inside the system unless police makes a request to download the data for investigation purpose. The request will come to the City , who will then forward the request to vendor. The data will be recycled every month, however that period can be fully configured to set any retention period good enough for police investigation. The system will not be connected to State’s LPR network as of now, however the vendor said they will look into the possibility. The LPR will not save the image of the car or the plate, but only the license plate number in text format. The City is looking at spring time frame to have four of these readers installed at Edgewood / Rhode Island intersection.