Mobile Sight cameras keep watch on the park
“You can just pick — pan, tilt, zoom, 360 — so you can kind of see anywhere at any time,” said George King. “It’s day or night.”
King was sitting on a bench in Ballard Park, cell phone in hand, showing off the abilities of one of the cameras his company, Mobile Sight, had placed in park.
“We put an infrared illuminator on it,” he said. “People can’t be hanging around here in the park and you won’t see them.”
There are two cameras. The town got one from Mobile Sight as a demonstration model. And King — who’s lived in Ridgefield since 1977 — donated one after the publicity about anti-Semitic and racist graffiti in the park.
“I’ve got grand-kids in town,” he said. “I don’t like this stuff that’s going on, with people writing all this crazy stuff.”
The cameras, valued at about $10,000 each, have optical zoom. From a placement near the stone wall at the park’s north end, one of the cameras can see in pretty good detail all the way across the park.
“We can read the license plate on that car in the CVS parking lot,” King said.
Another advantage of the system King demonstrated is that it can remain a passive observer when nothing is happening, and then notify relevant parties — the police, perhaps — if there is motion or activity, like someone entering the park at night.
This can be more useful, he said, than a video monitor that requires constant watching.
“You can stare at video for about 15 minutes, and after 15 minutes an elephant can walk in and you won’t notice it,” he said.
“If you don’t want someone in the park, you can say, ‘All right, system, let me know if someone comes in the gate.’ And it’ll watch the gate and when somebody walks in it’ll send you an email with an attached picture that says, ‘Somebody came through the gate.’
“It auto-tracks,” he added. “It will follow you. It sees you and it will track you as you walk.”
That means it can break out of its routine and keep track of someone. In the park, or looking the front of a building, it might have different places it’s programed to check on. Then, if there’s movement, it can follow that.
“I want it to look here and look there and look there. And if it sees somebody walking, it’ll start to auto-track,” King said.
“It has ‘object removal’ — if that object over there moves, let me know about it.”
“It has internal GPS,” he added. “So if you move it, it sends me an email.”
Mobile Sight offers law enforcement high-capability versions of its cameras that might have facial recognition or license plate recognition systems on them. They can range up to $15,000 in price.
But the two cameras watching Ridgefield’s Ballard Park don’t do all that.
They do make video and store it, however. There’s video that goes back a month, showing what’s been going on in the park.
If the town awoke one morning to find the park defaced with anti-Semitic or racist graffiti, or old-fashioned obscenities — there would be a record. The same would be the case if someone reported a crime that had happened three weeks before.
The cameras can be pretty easily relocated and reprogrammed to take on a variety of tasks, other than park-watching.
“The movability — we call them deployable units — is so useful,” King said. “You have different events at different times in different locations? You move them …
“It’s perimeter security. It’s perimeter situational awareness,” King said. “In the case of Ridgefield, it’s prevention — deterrence.”