‘A whole new concept for fighting crime and anti-social behaviour, a major deterrent to criminals and a system that can improve the quality of life for communities across the country’: this is how Northwood Technology describes SafeTown, its new crime-fighting system which was launched today.
SafeTown brings the very latest high-definition megapixel surveillance cameras to communities in our cities, towns and villages and makes this world-leading patented technology truly affordable. It will be of special interest in areas affected by attacks on the elderly or by the closure of local garda stations, and to people worried by anti-social behaviour or the increased level of burglaries.
Northwood Technology, an Irish company and a recognised leader in its field, developed the SafeTown system after years of research. Executive Chairman Padraic Cafferty explained that the fundamental breakthrough came from the arrival of the new megapixel cameras, but he adds ‘That’s only half the story of SafeTown’.
‘We now have state-of-the-art cameras generating levels of image definition that were previously unimaginable. Older CCTV systems required an operator looking at an event in real time in order to pan, tilt and zoom in on it, but SafeTown’s megapixel cameras use wide angle coverage, recording up to 29 million pixels per image with no compression. This gives a level of detail that allows retrospective zooming, i.e., having close-ups and detailed examination of images after an event has occurred and been recorded.’
‘Just one megapixel camera can cover a very wide angle and area, even the length of an entire street, and it will record all images in that field of view. When an incident is reported, a data controller can examine the recording and retrospectively zoom in, onto a particular car, face or incident. Then if necessary a copy of the images is sent to the Garda Siochana for use by them to investigate a crime or incident.’
‘One megapixel camera properly deployed can cover an area which required 20 or more CCTV cameras. This means that an area can have effective monitoring without the huge expenses of a live operator watching a bank of screens all day, every day. Areas where effective CCTV was too expensive can now be covered by an affordable crime prevention system that works all day, every day, all year long.’
SafeTown is designed to be integrated into a community in a manner similar to Neighbourhood Watch. There will be highly visible public signage reminding people including visitors that this area is a ‘Safe Town’, and advising everyone of the presence of the megapixel cameras. The signage encourages anyone with criminal or anti-social intent to ‘move on’.
Paul Hennessy, Managing Director of Northwood Technology, points out that despite’s its immense camera-power, SafeTown is not ‘Big Brother’.
‘If a crime or anti-social behaviour is reported, a data controller authorised by the local community and Gardaí can view recordings made at the time of the event’, he said. ‘Where there is video evidence that can help the Gardaí, it is passed to them and can be used later in court. On days or nights when no events are reported, no-one will ever see those recordings’, he said
‘Already, in a year-long pilot study in Charlestown, Co. Mayo, the SafeTown system- cameras and signage- proved totally effective in eliminating anti-social behaviour at known trouble-spots. The technology was also a significant help to the Gardaí searching for a ‘travelling gang’ that was terrorising parts of the County.’
A further SafeTown innovation is the participation of a major insurance brokerage and a major financial institution. JLT Insurance Brokerage can provide competitive rates to businesses in areas covered SafeTown; Grenke Finance will help groups to finance the leasing or purchase of the SafeTown equipment over 3 or 5-year periods at extremely competitive rates.
SafeTown- cameras and all the support materials including signage- can be installed and erected by local companies, generating employment in the area.
All the information and instructions for any group interested in getting information about the system and how to apply for it is on the SafeTown website, www.safetown.ie
For any further information please contact Padraic Cafferty, Chairman Safetown by telephone at 086 2594185 – or e-mail Padraic@safetown.ie