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U Texas at San Antonio Cuts Campus Crime in Parking Lots with Camera Systems

The University of Texas at San Antonio has enhanced security in three of its largest parking lots with the addition of video surveillance systems from ADT Security Services. The installation includes cameras, transmitted via a wireless mesh system, which monitor a 600-space remote parking lot about a quarter-mile from the university's main campus.

The system has already helped solve several breakins and auto theft cases, according to campus police. The success of the wireless mesh system, which has been operational since early 2007, led the university to recently install more wired cameras in two other parking lots.

Owing to the remote location of the 600-space lot 13, ADT chose a wireless mesh system as a reliable, less expensive means of transmitting the video to the campus police office.

"The wireless system was the most effective way to get data from such a far-away area without the cost and environmental impact of trenching associated with a wired system," said Daniel Pena, UTSA assistant police chief.

Pena said his officers and ADT have worked with the system, making adjustments to camera positions and the overall security strategy. The changes have made the system more effective.

The wireless cameras allow the security team to capture video as cars come and go from the university's largest parking lot. The team looks for suspicious activity such as cars circling past open spaces and people lingering near parked vehicles. If a suspicious activity is identified, cameras allow officers to zoom in and capture license plate numbers of cars entering and exiting the lot. The cameras have also helped campus police identify suspects.

Pena said, "We are generally able to identify offenders as they exit the lot. We capture the license plate and we've got them. The system has been an invaluable tool for identifying suspects and shutting down theft rings."

Following the success of the wireless installation in lot 13, Pena and his department had ADT add more wired cameras to two additional 300-space parking lots closer to the main campus.
ADT is also completing installation of video, access control, and emergency intercom systems in the university's college of business.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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