Fifteen thousand license plates per day.
After installing fiber optic, the city of São Pedro invested in 430 Axis IP cameras and license plate reading technology, starting down the road to becoming a “smart city”.
São Paulo has the biggest GDP of any major state capital in Brazil. But the interior of the state has an economic strength that is bigger than countries like Chile. In recent years, São Pedro, 200 kilometers from the capital, has experienced population growth that has gone hand in hand with rising crime rates. Because it lacked any sort of video surveillance system, the needed to act in order to keep its economy growing. The path forward was to invest in 20 km of fiber optic and then enhance the safety of residents and tourists using a digital video surveillance system.
The city installed approximately 430 Axis network cameras to monitor public buildings, schools, hospitals, streets, and avenues. Axis network cameras located at the entrance points to the city read vehicle license plates. This information, together with images, is shared with the city police and government departments. In addition to improving safety, the cameras show the water level in the reservoirs that supply the city.
Installing the system sped up police response to incidents. This strengthened the feeling of safety for both tourists and locals. Each day the system captures fifteen thousand license plate numbers. In the first months after the operation’s expansion, for example, criminal apprehensions increased by 133%. The images are also used to monitor the water supply for the city and provide municipal departments with information about the functioning of public services.
The equipment’s benefits and reliability are what led us to adopt the Axis cameras. We have some cameras here that have been operating for four years without interruption. Our maintenance rates are extremely low, and that was essential for the expansion of the project.
Support for investigations
São Pedro’s streets are monitored using AXIS Q6114-E, AXIS P5635-E, and AXIS Q6155-E Network Cameras, which the police also use for planning their activities. After this “smart” system was installed, the number of successful police sting operations in São Pedro increased, from 6 to 14 in one six-month period. The numbers of suspects arrested in the act during that same period rose by 100%.
The list of cases solved using this method of image capture includes thefts and robberies. It has even helped shed light on a homicide reported in the city during that six-month period. In one of the more interesting cases, a person lost their purse in a plaza. With the help of the images, the person responsible for the theft was identified and the victim recovered the purse.
“These tools can often help us identify the individual responsible for more than one incident and provide evidence for the arrest,” emphasized lieutenant Sol Reys, of the Third Military Police Station.
Tool for combating regional gangs
São Pedro has been dealing with a wave of crimes perpetrated by con artists. AXIS P1365 and AXIS P1365-Mk II Network Cameras were installed at the three entry and exit points of the city, connected to Digifort software that captures an average of fifteen thousand license plate numbers each day.
“Vehicles have their license plate stored when they enter and leave. This information is also sent to a military police unit in São Paulo for analysis. If the system identifies the license plate of a stolen vehicle, the information is transmitted to the São Pedro military police,” explains Francisco Guerreiro, head of the São Pedro Operations and Intelligence Center. That makes it possible to apprehend con artists from Rio Claro, another city in the region, who have started coming to São Pedro to carry out their schemes.
Using the captured number of the license plate used, the police can track and converge on the criminals. “We have a monitoring center that automatically records license plates. If the vehicle enters the city, the system alerts our officers. With cameras spread out throughout the city, if there’s an incident it’s possible to trace the routes the criminals might follow or use images to prepare police before they approach the suspects,” explains Guerreiro.
The city has 19 schools, all equipped with cameras, as are its hospitals, public buildings, and primary health care centers. The images can be viewed by the city departments in order to evaluate public services and monitor the arrival and departure of students.
The cameras are also used to check the water levels in the reservoirs for the São Pedro Independent Water and Sewer Service (SAAESP), which is responsible for the city’s water supply. This independent agency is responsible for 11 artesian wells and 30 reservoirs that supply the city. AXIS M1125-E and AXIS Q6155-E Network Cameras with zoom and PTZ capacities were installed above the reservoirs.
The video monitoring center can display images for a distance of up to 2 km. “For the SAAESP reservoirs, use of the images is not just a matter of public safety; they can be used to check the water level and prevent shortages to the city’s neighborhoods, unattended maintenance needs, and even water leakage in cases when the reservoirs are overfull,” comments Guerreiro.
How it all started
The city government’s first contact with the brand was at the ISC Brazil trade show in 2013. At its booth, Axis presented a simulation of a city with new developments in public safety. “We learned about Axis at ISC, and about the technology and the reliability of the equipment, and that led us to adopt the brand’s IP cameras,” recalls Guerreiro.