The need to fully secure government buildings and public spaces has never been greater because threats to government institutions have been on the rise. The recent Capitol Insurrection provided one tragic example, but even though that incident is over, the threat is ongoing and, by some assessments, increasing every year.
Video surveillance is a good first step towards greater security, but is not sufficient. In this article, we’ll examine several reasons why audio is essential for creating truly complete security solutions to protect government assets, assist law enforcement, and mitigate dangerous situations.
Expands Live Monitoring Capabilities
Deploying an audio monitoring solution with powerful microphones provides a constant awareness of the sonic pulse of an environment, such as government buildings and spaces, giving security personnel real-time information so they can react quickly to any negative developments.
In short, audio monitoring can help:
- detect dangerous situations that may be developing (higher situational awareness)
- prevent dangerous situations from progressing or getting out of control
- diffuse dangerous scenarios if and when they arise.
Provides Critical Information During High-Risk Scenarios
- Assisting Law Enforcement – Chicago PD:
- NEED: With 12,244 officers to protect 2.7 million residents, Chicago PD realized that an influx of suspects might overwhelm the number of officers on hand at any one time. Hence, there was a high risk of losing vital witness information if key areas were not fully and clearly monitored for audio.
- SOLUTION: They upgraded their security system – including recording equipment for the interrogation rooms. They installed Louroe’s AOP-SP-PB (Updated model AOP530), a microphone and speaker hybrid, and IF-PX, a single-zone Power over Ethernet (PoE) extractor, in the corners of the interview and lineup rooms. This solution can record clear audio and mute a conversation without discontinuing the recording timeline, ensuring privacy when necessary.
- RESULTS: Chicago PD now has a high-quality recording system that preserves spoken evidence while protecting people’s rights. The equipment clearly captures interrogations and interactions with witnesses, suspects, and criminals that are pivotal in legal proceedings, while the muting feature enables attorneys to meet with clients without having to be relocated, which increases efficiency.
- Proving verbal harassment – New York bus monitor:
- PROBLEM: Four schoolboys verbally abused a bus monitor with violent and graphic threats. The bus’ video surveillance footage only showed the boys pointing at her.
- SOLUTION: The audio footage provided strong evidence of bad behavior: the boys’ voices lashing out at the monitor (audio evidence of verbal assault).
- RESULT: The boys were punished with fines and suspension.
- Audio as a force multiplier for police:
- PROBLEM: More cities are dealing with increased crime while also contending with limited law enforcement personnel.
- SOLUTION: Police departments are turning to tech to help a limited number of officers protect their citizens. Many now rely on audio analytics in security systems from Louroe Electronics to act as a force multiplier, aiding and amplifying the police’s crime prevention efforts.
- RESULTS: Security staff can often prevent or diffuse dangerous situations before police are needed, or alert police faster, thanks to using sound detection technologies.
Increases Threat Detection and Evidence Analysis
Audio monitoring solutions provide access to more complete evidence information, suspect identification, and enhanced context for video footage.
Streamlines Real-Time Response
When audio monitoring solutions are deployed, security personnel are able to disseminate a message effectively and remotely (which also means safely). By implementing a two-way audio system in tandem with video, security staff can remotely interact with suspicious actors in real time, rather than having to physically send a guard to a potentially dangerous area. Guards can also monitor multiple zones, restricted areas, or commercial locations at the same time, better identify threats in progress, and quickly respond with verbal warnings or directions.
For example, if two-way (talk/listen) audio monitoring had been in use during the recent incident at the U.S. Capitol, a remote operator could have been monitoring activity on the front steps in real-time. Once the rising threat was detected, a warning message could have immediately (and repeatedly) been delivered over speakers placed around the property, both instructing protesters to disperse and alerting guards at the Capitol about the developing danger. A simultaneous alert could have been sent to local D.C. police, to get squad cars there faster.
Video is important for security solutions, but simply not enough on its own. Audio monitoring solutions bring a wealth of benefits, and should play an essential role in security systems designed to protect government buildings and public spaces.
Fortunately, easy-to-deploy, long-lasting, and cost-effective audio tech solutions — such as Louroe’s many base station / speaker / microphone packages — now exist to fill this piece of the security puzzle, in configurations to fit any budget and environment.