Situated north of Boston, the city of Lawrence is a densely populated area of over 79,000 residents. It’s known for being a manufacturing hub. When looking to address crime, the community found themselves lacking surveillance capabilities.

As a result, government officials saw a critical need to deploy a wide-spread, situational awareness system. Familiar with the Urban Area Security Initiative Homeland Security District in Boston and FLIR Systems’ instrumental role, the city of Lawrence was interested in what FLIR could offer.

Comprehensive video system

To install and integrate a new video system, Lawrence administrators turned to LAN-TEL Communications, Inc. Founded in 1992, LAN-TEL is one of the premier cabling, security, and IT infrastructure installation and integration companies in New England. Having worked with FLIR for over 15 years, LAN-TEL worked to design a customized FLIR system for the city of Lawrence.

To provide a holistic view of the city, LAN-TEL designed a comprehensive video system that utilized FLIR Quasar 1080p IR PTZ cameras, FLIR Ariel Full HD Mini Dome cameras and FLIR Quasar 4 x 2K Panoramic cameras all tied together through FLIR United VMS.

Mini-Dome cameras

FLIR’s pan-tilt-zoom cameras provide ‘eyes’ to local law enforcement

In order to take on such a massive project, the deployment was broken down into phases. In April of 2018, the Lawrence City Council approved the first 75 cameras, which were then installed in July of 2018. A year later, in April of 2019, the remaining 65 cameras were approved and installed during the summer of 2019.

LAN-TEL’s talented technician team installed FLIR Quasar and Ariel cameras outfitted with built-in analytics at major thoroughfares and high-crime areas throughout Lawrence. FLIR’s panoramic 180-degree multi-imager cameras provide wide area surveillance of city intersections, major roads, parking lots, and bus depots, while fixed high-definition mini-dome cameras enable live streaming of these areas. FLIR’s pan-tilt-zoom cameras provide ‘eyes’ to local law enforcement, allowing for efficient monitoring of expansive open areas.

Enabling mission critical systems

To manage such an extensive system, the city of Lawrence needed a central operations hub to house monitoring equipment and an enterprise level video management system to support the new video surveillance network. LAN-TEL transformed the Lawrence Police Department into a functional FLIR command center, installing a video wall display for recording and live streaming, while FLIR’s Latitude video management software allows for in-depth forensic video review and analysis.

The system provides local police with vital information, notifying authorities when someone is in an area they should not be, whether that be a public park after hours or a critical infrastructure site. Additionally, FLIR USS server storage units and USS client work-stations were also deployed. The system operates over a multi-server head end architecture. Because of FLIR’s fail over services, the system can tolerate server failures and still enable mission critical systems to remain operational.

Dedicated wireless technologies

The city of Lawrence had a limited budget when deploying their new city surveillance system

Like many municipalities, the city of Lawrence had a limited budget when deploying their new city surveillance system. To cut down on cabling installation costs, LAN-TEL utilized dedicated wireless technologies to seamlessly transport data from the endpoints to the back-end, allowing the city to better use their budgets on camera coverage as opposed to infrastructure.

Another key part of the FLIR video system is its integration with the city police dispatch center’s Computer-Aided Dispatch system (CAD), used to facilitate improved incident response and communications in the field. The city surveillance solution was nearly an instant success, and has been used on homicide cases, missing persons’ cases, larceny, motor vehicle accidents and the recovery of firearms. By providing real-time intelligence, the cameras have greatly enhanced the dispatchers’ ability to appropriately allocate resources to calls as they come in.

Amplifying public safety

The solution has also given local law enforcement the ability to better forensically piece together a case, making it simple to identify suspects and submit a case for prosecution with ample video evidence. “The reality is, fighting crime today is a multi-faceted approach,” said city of Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera in an interview with CBS Boston in April 2019. “This is just another step to modernize crime fighting in the city of Lawrence.”

These cameras are enabling crucial intelligence in realtime,” said John Grennon, director of business development at LAN-TEL. “This technology is amplifying public safety by notifying the dispatch center of a disturbance immediately. They also assist in piecing together incidents that may have happened days, or even weeks ago, without needing to rely on faulty witness memories.”

City surveillance system

One unexpected benefit the system has provided is the pressure it removes from the community. The constant recorded footage provides Lawrence Police with clear, actionable evidence without citizens placing themselves in potential conflict to act as a witness, and officers having to rely on human memory alone.

The FLIR city surveillance system has directly contributed to dozens of arrests in the city of Lawrence

Since its deployment, the FLIR city surveillance system has directly contributed to dozens of arrests in the city of Lawrence. With cameras covering the city’s busiest areas and FLIR’s United VMS aiding in efficient monitoring, crime in Lawrence has seen a decline. “Just a couple of weeks ago, we had a bank robbery in which the individual eventually discarded his clothing,” said Police Chief Roy Vasque during an interview with WCVB Channel 5, an ABC affiliate in Boston, in April 2019.

Superior customer support

We were able to backtrack the suspects movements using the city cameras and some private cameras to find out his identity.” “It’s no surprise that FLIR is protecting most of the eastern coast of Massachusetts,” Grennon said.

FLIR’s technology is tried, tested and true. The thermal imaging is state-of-the-art, and their recording capabilities are second to none, combine this with their superior customer support, and it explains why no one can surpass what they have to offer. We are a proud FLIR partner.”

Inside the FLIR Command Center, the video wall shows live streaming and video recordings for total awareness. The FLIR Latitude video management software enables forensic video review and analysis.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security
Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security

At an Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment facility on Feb. 5, an operator watched a computer screen as someone remotely accessed the system monitoring the water supply and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. The chemical, also known as lye, is used in small concentrations to control acidity in the water. In larger concentrations, the compound is poisonous – the same corrosive chemical used to eat away at clogged drains. The impact of cybersecurity attacks The incident is the latest example of how cybersecurity attacks can translate into real-world, physical security consequences – even deadly ones.Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. The computer system was set up to allow remote access only to authorized users. The source of the unauthorized access is unknown. However, the attacker was only in the system for 3 to 5 minutes, and an operator corrected the concentration back to 100 parts per million soon after. It would have taken a day or more for contaminated water to enter the system. In the end, the city’s water supply was not affected. There were other safeguards in place that would have prevented contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply, which serves around 15,000 residents. The remote access used for the attack was disabled pending an investigation by the FBI, Secret Service and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. On Feb. 2, a compilation of breached usernames and passwords, known as COMB for “Compilation of Many Breaches,” was leaked online. COMB contains 3.2 billion unique email/password pairs. It was later discovered that the breach included the credentials for the Oldsmar water plant. Water plant attacks feared for years Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasizes the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defenses have been compromised or circumvented. We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorized to connect to an organization's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorized devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organizations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organizations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.

What Are The Positive And Negative Effects Of COVID-19 To Security?
What Are The Positive And Negative Effects Of COVID-19 To Security?

The COVID-19 global pandemic had a life-changing impact on all of us in 2020, including a multi-faceted jolt on the physical security industry. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see more clearly the exact nature and extent of that impact. And it’s not over yet: The pandemic will continue to be top-of-mind in 2021. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What have been the positive and negative effects of Covid-19 on the physical security industry in 2020? What impact will it have on 2021?

Maximising Supermarket Safety With Real-time Surveillance Solutions
Maximising Supermarket Safety With Real-time Surveillance Solutions

Supermarket employees have been the hidden key workers of the past year, keeping shelves stocked and queues under control as panic buying gripped the nation. As a result of being expected to enforce face covering and social distancing regulations, they also been asked to act as de-facto security guards alongside their existing duties. This is problematic as many employees have never had to deal with this kind of responsibility before, let alone received any conflict de-escalation training. In order to maintain the safety and security of their staff retailers must take additional steps to uphold their duty of care, with the NPCC recently specifying that it is the responsibility of retailers ‘to manage entry to their stores and compliance with the law while customers are inside’. Supermarkets in particular need to be aware of this requirement, as the big four recently announced that their employees would now be challenging customers shopping in groups and those not wearing masks. Verbal abuse from the public Crime against retail employees has already been a major issue over the course of the pandemic, confirmed by research from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers that found 90% of retail staff in the UK experienced verbal abuse last year. The Co-op has recently been vocal about the effects of the pandemic and lockdown-related frustrations on its employees.90% of retail staff in the UK experienced verbal abuse last year The supermarket reported a 140% increase in crime within its stores over the past year, with many of the 200,000 cases related to verbal and physical abuse experienced by employees. Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food chief executive, confirmed that the number of issues has already increased drastically as a result of staff enforcing COVID-secure guidelines. So, what steps must retailers take to ensure their duty of care remains intact as employees take on new enforcement responsibilities? Introducing real-time surveillance technology to support security guards and shop floor employees alike is vital. Bolstering front line defences Security guards posted at supermarket entrances are the first line of defense against shoppers determined to break the rules. However, they are now being pulled in multiple directions with queues to monitor and occupancy to manually keep track of, along with the usual security alarms to respond to. With one person usually posted at the entrance at any one time it’s simply impossible to have eyes everywhere, which is where automated video surveillance comes in. COVID-specific technologies, such as mask detection and occupancy management systems, are now the golden bullet to retail safety and security.Mask detection and occupancy management surveillance tools can automatically alert a shopper Mask detection and occupancy management surveillance tools can automatically alert a shopper whether or not they are allowed to enter the store on their approach to the door. The system surveys the person and a screen will automatically display different instructions depending on the situation: whether they must put a mask on before they enter, wait until capacity is low enough to enable social distancing or, if the previous criteria are fulfilled, that they are free to enter. COVID-secure safety This stand-off technology minimizes the need for contact between security personnel and shoppers, allowing security guards to complete their usual duties, safe in the knowledge that the store is being managed in a COVID-secure way. With a hands-off approach enabled by surveillance technology, the potential for tense confrontation is greatly diminished as customers will usually comply to the reminder shown to them and put on a mask or wait without further prompting from staff. With security personnel able to better focus their attention on the stubborn rule-breakers,It is crucial that retailers choose a solution embedded in real-time connectivity this responsibility will no longer land with staff on the shop floor who are often ill-equipped to deal with this situation. It is crucial that retailers choose a solution embedded in real-time connectivity that will allow all store entrances to be screened simultaneously. Nobody can be in multiple places at once, but this connectivity allows alerts to be streamed instantly to any connected device that can be monitored by just one employee, meaning they can review the alerts that require their attention without needing to be physically present or re-tasked away from their day-to-day duties. Instant reassurance with body worn tech As a customer-facing role, there can be no guarantee that shop workers will never experience a potentially violent confrontation with a customer, which is where the presence of live streaming body worn cameras can help. While they may not always be trained to de-escalate a risky situation, being able to discreetly call for assistance can provide the reassurance employees need to feel safe and supported at all times. If an employee asks a customer to put a mask on while they’re in the store or step back from another shopper and the situation turns abusive – verbally or physically – a live streaming-enabled body worn camera can be triggered to stream a live audio and video feed back to a central control room manned by trained security personnel.A live streaming-enabled body worn camera can be triggered This real-time footage gives security staff exceptional situational awareness, allowing them to fully assess the situation and decide on the best course of action to support the employee in distress, whether that is going to the scene to diffuse the situation or contacting the police in more serious circumstances. Bolstering front line security This goes one step further than record-only body worn cameras, the capabilities of which these next generation devices match and exceed. Record-only cameras are well-suited to provide after-the-fact evidence if a customer interaction turns sour, but they do little to provide reassurance to out of depth employees in the moment. The duty of care grocery retailers must provide to their employees has never been more important, with staff taking on new mask and social distancing enforcement responsibilities and managing interactions with frustrated customers. Bolstering front line security and giving staff extra reassurances with the introduction of real-time video surveillance technology is a crucial step for retailers striving to keep employees and shoppers safe during these challenging times.