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Cameras Look to Catch Graffiti Artists in the Act

Published by Dan on March 26, 2007 10:32 AM

London's train stations have long provided a canvas for graffiti artists. Unfortunately, it's an unwelcome art form that has caused quite a few problems for UK councils. Most importantly, the cost of cleaning up graffiti isn't cheap, with many councils actually having budgets specifically for the cleanup process.

In an effort to cut down on graffiti, the video surveillance company COE intends to test out an advanced surveillance system at the Clapham Junction train station in south London. The system will utilize security cameras working with intelligent algorithms that can detect graffiti activity as it happens. A video codec converts the analog camera signals to digital for transmission over a network. Analysis software looks for specific movement within the images that would indicate potential graffiti activity in progress.

The key to the surveillance system is to catch an incident of graffiti before it spirals out of control. The sooner it's caught, the less cleanup is required. It's not uncommon for entire walls in UK train stations to be covered with graffiti. If this new motion-sensing system works as planned, graffiti artists are more likely to get caught in the act than complete a full-size masterwork. With early detection, security and cleanup crews can quickly be deployed to the scene before it gets out of hand.

While motion-sensing technology has been around for a while now, false alarms were often an issue with simpler systems. There was a risk that innocent acts would be confused with suspicious happenings. Using more advanced algorithms, the video surveillance system being tested at the Clapham Junction station should be able to detect the specific motion involved in graffiti activity with a greater degree of accuracy.

Read more at the Engineer Online...

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