Monday, December 27, 2010

ICOP Digital Suspends Operations

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New HD Cameras at Calgary Transit Station ID Sexual Assault Criminals

A 19-year-old woman sleeping on an LRT platform was allegedly raped by a 15-year-old as his friend provided a lookout -- a crime police say they solved quickly with the help of high-definition cameras recently installed at the station.

The sexual assault happened at 3:40 a.m. Sunday at the Heritage station during a two-hour break in train service.

"This particular incident is extremely rare for transit. We do, in any given year, get a number of reported incidents which are typically more of a fondling, someone's touching somebody," said Brian Whitelaw, Calgary Transit's co-ordinator of public safety and enforcement.

"The case of a serious sexual assault like this is extremely rare in the system. (If) it happens even once a year, is generally the most that we would see."

That may be the case, but C-Train riders at the Heritage station said Monday they have some reservations about safety on the system.

"I just don't like taking transit at night. From things I've seen in the newspaper, I just try to avoid those situations completely," said Beth Hilker.

Another rider, Justine Big Crow, said she would like to see more security officers.

"I'd like to see more policemen, peace officers. I never see them," she said.

Police say the victim had been at the station for 11/2 hours and was sleeping after a night out with friends. She was waiting for train service to resume when a pair of 15-year-olds came upon her and allegedly forced her to have intercourse.

"The victim didn't have a way to get home at that time, so she just decided to sleep it off at the LRT platform," said sex crimes unit Staff Sgt. Dave Louie.

"It appeared to be more of a crime of opportunity, where the two offenders were at the LRT platform also and came across the victim, who was sleeping or passed out, and one of them decided to sexually assault her," said the officer.

The woman went to the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre a couple hours after the attack and the assault was reported to police, who characterized her physical injuries as minor.

Police were able to issue clear photographs to media of the suspects, and later Sunday, received a tip about their identities. One teen is charged with sexual assault and the other is charged with being a party to a sexual assault.

The photographs cannot be published because the suspects are now known to be minors.

By examining the video, police say they believe the pair also robbed another man who was sleeping at the station, but the victim has not come forward to file a complaint.

Whitelaw said C-Train stations across the city are being outfitted with new high-definition cameras that he described as leading-edge in North America. He said the new cameras, which replace an analogue system, provide higher resolution digital images and are better in low light situations.

The Heritage train station only recently got its new cameras, he said.

At any given time, there are four people monitoring the hundreds of cameras in the city, but no one noticed the robbery or sexual assault as they happened, said Whitelaw.

While the robbery footage is clear, the video of the sexual assault is less so, he said.

"Once we have an opportunity to talk to the police in this case, and determine exactly what the details are, we're also going to take a look to see if there's any innovations or changes in policy or procedure that we could implement that would maybe make it another step safer," said Whitelaw.

Police said they would like the robbery victim, who appeared to have his wallet taken, to come forward.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pregnant Teen Attack Captured on Transit Camera


A pregnant teen says she feared for her baby after she and her boyfriend were attacked by a group of four girls and a woman on a Metro bus last month, and it was all captured on the bus' security camera.

Jessica -- we're not revealing her last name -- was riding on the packed No. 358 bus in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood during the evening rush hour on Nov. 19. Around 7 p.m., a 19-year-old woman, three 16-year-old girls and a 14-year-old girl boarded the bus via the rear doors, investigators said.

"Me and my boyfriend got on the bus and we were listening to our Zune -- he had a headphone; I had a headphone -- and then the girls came on," said Jessica, who is due in June and was returning home after doctor checkup. "I didn't know them so I wasn't expecting anything and one of them started saying something to my boyfriend."

Surveillance video shows just 34 seconds after the girls boarded, one of the girls grabbed the Zune. When Jessica and her boyfriend resisted, the pair was attacked by the five girls, police said.

"Basically I was turned around, one of the girls hit me from the back," Jessica said. "I turned around to ask 'hey, what are you doing?' and then three of the other ones started hitting me."

She says she turned around again and was struck in the eye and began bleeding profusely.

Jessica mentioned twice that she was pregnant and said she didn't want to fight them, but she says one of them made the comment, "well, nobody hit her in the stomach."

"My main concern was for the baby," Jessica said. "None of them hit me in the stomach, but one of them was kicking me in the back and I just didn't want anything to happen."

Investigators said as the attack was occurring, three of the girls stole items from the boyfriend's pockets.

"They just started going through our pockets, and I was just like, 'Hey, what are you doing, get out of my pockets.' " Jessica said. She says they took the Zune and cigarettes from the boyfriend's pocket.

The attack continued until the bus pulled over and the victims were able to escape, police said.

Jessica was taken to Harborview Medical Center to receive six stitches for eye. Her boyfriend was just bruised. She says she had never met any of the five attackers before, but her boyfriend had met one of the five at a party last summer and that woman had claimed he stole her cell phone, a charge he denies.

Meanwhile, Metro Police tracked down three of the alleged attackers at 85th and Aurora about a half hour after the incident. The other two were arrested days later by Seattle Police officers.

"I think this assault kinda takes your breath away because you've got five girls... and they're assaulting these two who aren't even fighting back," said Sgt. John Urquhart with the King County Sheriff's Department. "To me, that's pretty egregious."

Investigators credited the surveillance camera on board with providing crucial evidence to crack the case.

"I don't see how people could watch this and not be outraged," Urquhart said. "Clearly (the girls) think this is OK, and they have no compunction doing this in front of a bus load of people in a bus that's clearly marked as a video coach... I'm lost. I just don't get the mindset going on there."

Urquhart says nearly 400 Metro buses have cameras with plans for another 250 buses to be equipped in the next few years.

Investigators say the 19-year-old was charged with assault and has since bailed out of jail. The other four girls were charged with second degree robbery. Three remain in custody while the fourth is on electronic home monitoring, police said.

All five girls have prior arrests. "They're all very familiar with the criminal justice system," Urquhart said.

Jessica says she's glad they're off the streets.

"If they're going to be acting like that, you can't be out in public," she said. "It's just not the way to act, especially toward a pregnant female."

Urquhart says the bus driver did everything right -- he parked and waited for police to arrive. Meanwhile, investigators are glad that bus was one of 400 with a camera on board and say the incident could have happened anywhere and had nothing to do with safety issues on Metro buses.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thefts on CTA Trains Spur Facebook Call for More Cameras

(Source: CTA Tattler)
As 2010 winds to a close, thefts on the CTA remain a big problem.

Thefts on the CTA in Chicago overall have increased 13.5% this year through November compared to the same period last year. CTA Tattler first reported this alarming trend earlier this year. Thefts on trains and buses went up 16.5% this year, with 160 more reported incidents over last year.

Last year through November there were 1,481 total thefts on the CTA, according to Chicago Police statistics reported by And this year there were 1,681, or 200 more. Theft locations tracked were CTA trains, buses, platforms, bus stops and garages or other properties.

.As many of you -- as well as crime stats -- have reported, thieves mainly target smartphones and iPods. These crimes are really crimes of opportunities. Thieves lurk in train and bus doorways, on the lookout for riders oblivious to their surroundings, totally caught up in the music, game or e-mail on their electronic devices.

Then it's easy for thieves to just snatch, grab and run out the door as it closed behind them.

The proliferation of this crime is very scary and frustrating to many riders and victims. This frustration prompted one rider to start a Facebook group called "We Need Cameras on the CTA Trains NOW." The fiance of the group owner had his iPhone stolen prompting her to start the group.


I asked the CTA about cameras on the trains and the whole subject of safety. This is what a spokesperson told me:

Cameras have long been a primary part of the CTA's efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for its employees and customers.

Since late 2003, CTA's entire bus fleet has been equipped with security cameras.

Presently, there are more than 1800 cameras at rail stations -at least one at every station. Thanks to grants from the Department of Homeland Security, we are in the process of installing additional cameras at stations.

Due to a fiber optic cable link established between the CTA and the Office of Emergency Management and Communication in 2005, live images from CTA rail stations can be viewed by the OEMC/ Chicago Police Department.

CTA's current rail cars do not have security cameras; however, the agency is in the midst of a pilot to determine the feasibility of retrofitting the current fleet cars with cameras. The pilot is evaluating the level of complexity involved in installing equipment in older cars and the ability to integrate the video system into CTA's existing video management system. Data gathered from the pilot will determine the final scope of installation across the fleet and outline the parameters for the performance of the equipment on each rail car series. The FTA is funding the pilot and Department of Homeland Security funding is available to retrofit of a portion of the existing fleet once we work out all the technical issues.

In addition, as has previously been announced, the CTA is ordering new rail cars for the first time in nearly 20 years. The new rail cars will come equipped with cameras. The prototypes of these cars are undergoing testing to determine how they perform when operating in the conditions that CTA's rail fleet is subject to throughout the year. Testing is scheduling to run through the spring. The cars must successfully complete testing before the CTA will finalize the order of the remaining 396 rail cars so until testing is complete we won't have a firm timeline on production/delivery of the bulk of our order.

In sum, the CTA has been integrating cameras into its system over the past decade and steps are already underway to add cameras to the rail fleet.

We CTA riders also have responsibility for our own safety. We should:

•Be aware of our surroundings.
•Watch out for our belongings.
•Report crime - with detailed descriptions of offenders - to the police.

Read more:


March Networks Select New Pixim Chip for Low Light Cameras

The CamPX MicroDome is the latest addition to our portfolio of innovative and cost-competitive IP cameras," explains Fabrizio Colciago, chief technology officer for March Networks. "With Pixim's Seawolf chip as the base, we are pleased to deliver the industry's first WDR camera able to produce accurate color in "near-dark" conditions, and expect it to compete aggressively in the market."
"March Networks has selected a chip that is ideal for no-compromise IP cameras," says John Monti, Pixim's vice president of marketing and business development. "Users of this MicroDome in enterprise security applications will benefit from Seawolf's global electronic shutter, progressive scan image capture, and support for full D1 resolution at 30 frames per second."

About Pixim Pixim Inc. has developed unique imaging technology that revolutionizes the way video cameras capture and process images. Unlike traditional image capture technologies, where each pixel cannot adjust to highlights and lowlights in the same scene, Pixim's patented Digital Pixel System® technology empowers hundreds of thousands of pixels to act like individual cameras constantly self-adjusting. This all-digital system enables Pixim-powered cameras to efficiently capture the whole picture, regardless of lighting condition or application - thus securing the highest resolution, natural color and clarity, while automatically eliminating image-compromising visual noise (e.g., glare, reflections). The result is more than superb image quality; it is accurate, actionable information that gives users the strength of certainty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New York MTA to Install Surveillance Cameras on Downtown Buses