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Video surveillance hoped to boost security at Port of Pittsburgh

Published by Jennifer on May 14, 2007 7:53 AM

Ports have long been considered some of the weakest entry points into the United States, and one of the biggest challenges facing security officials in the fight against terrorism is port security. Millions of packages enter and leave the country each day through the 100+ ports in the US, which can make establishing security a challenge. The Port of Pittsburgh, the second busiest inland port in the country, has recently received a $2.6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security to help secure the area.

Ports are an essential part of any economy - helping to facilitate international trade and move goods quickly throughout an area. But as beneficial as they may be, the massive amount of packages coming in and leaving ports leaves them susceptible to many threats - including terrorism, illegal immigration, and trafficking of prohibited goods. Because of the high volume of shipments, ports have long relied on statistical sampling and random scans to ensure that packages entering and leaving the country are secured.

In a post-9/11 world, security officials are concerned that traditional scanning and sampling methods still leave ports susceptible to danger. Further and more rigorous scans of cargo have been implemented, along with proposals for advanced technology like cargo scanners (installation of which has been stalled by prohibitive costs).

Video surveillance has been one security solution which has the viability to help solve the issue of port security. Advances such as IP cameras, networking and intelligent video have helped turn security cameras into a powerful and security solution for ports than ever before. Intelligent, networked cameras can help security patrols and Coast Guard officials sort through surveillance footage effectively, especially with features like alerts, which automatically send out questionable footage to PDAs or equipped cell phones for immediate review and action.

The Port of Pittsburgh's grant from the Department of Homeland security will include not only video surveillance technology, but a boost in Coast Guard staff and Civil Air Patrol flyovers, and a new boat for the Pennsylvania State Police. These personnel boosts will work in conjunction with the installation of surveillance cameras to help make the Port of Pittsburgh a more secure place for trade.

Read more at Pittsburgh Live...

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