Video Surveillance Practices at Yale University

We teamed up with BNP Media to sponsor their webinar, Passive vs Active Video Surveillance at Yale University. The webinar covers the design phase of the Yale Police Department’s existing radar layout at the Yale Bowl and the security challenges it has presented, the need to keep the historical nature of the Yale Bowl building in mind while designing a new surveillance system, and how the Yale public safety team is using the new system to identify a threat. You can view the on-demand webinar here.

In educational environments, safety is a top concern. Despite this, security in education often falls short of expectations. With this in mind, the Yale University public safety team recognized that the famous Yale Bowl was a weak spot for the institution. Through a thorough security assessment and improvements to video surveillance systems, they were able to improve security outcomes at their athletics facility.

Event Monitoring Challenges at Yale

Stadiums can be hotbeds for safety and security concerns due to the exciting atmosphere, intense rivalries, and frequent intoxication. The university’s public safety team wanted to ensure the Yale Bowl would continue to be an inviting and enjoyable place for anyone to visit. To make this happen, they set about improving their video surveillance. These were some of the key challenges they faced:

  • Distance: The facility is located 1.5 miles from the main Yale University campus. This distance makes the Yale Bowl more challenging to fully monitor and protect.
  • Size: The stadium sits on an 80-acre athletic facility. There is a mile-long perimeter that needs video surveillance around the stadium.
  • Weather: Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale is prone to harsh New England winters. These often damage surveillance equipment.
  • Video Scope: The number of cameras, intensity of activity during events, and overall scope of the event monitoring operations also add a challenging element.

Video Surveillance Solution

The Yale University team decided that their solution needed to integrate multiple systems to achieve a best-of-breed combination. They brought together weather-resistant cameras with ground-based radar to provide sufficient video surveillance and active incident detection.

  • Cameras: The team wanted to decrease the footprint of cameras while also increasing the coverage area. The solution was an Axis camera model including pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) functionality. They used their existing information about past trouble spots to help select the highest impact locations.
  • Radar: Using the Magos SR-250 ground-based radar solution, the Yale team was able to automate the control of PTZ cameras. Rather than needing an officer to manually control the cameras, the team relies on the radar to detect, surveil, and highlight potential threats. This helped to significantly decrease the number of cameras necessary to achieve nearly complete coverage.
  • Switches: These two systems are brought together using weather-resistant, industrial switches. The team selected these for their ability to continue working even in extreme weather situations.

Security in Education Lessons Learned

Following the security improvements, the Yale University team did a retrospective to examine the lessons learned about security in education. They identified three major considerations that would help to guide their video surveillance in the future.

There is a need for demoing cameras on location and at night before committing to a solution. A product can seem very different in a controlled setting than in real-world use.

They also learned the importance of managing expectations about coverage area. Achieving full coverage requires a lot of equipment. In many cases, this is made unfeasible by cost and practical considerations.

Finally, they identified the importance of in-depth training. Working with dispatchers to ensure complete understanding of the system is essential for event monitoring success.

Incorporate Alarm Monitoring Software Into Your Security Solutions

Handling the security needs of any organization is easier with the right monitoring platform. Bold Group provides a portfolio of industry-leading alarm monitoring software solutions that are ideal for security in education. Call us at 800-255-2653 or contact us to learn more.