Why Mobile Surveillance Is the Best Option for Remote Site Security

Posted by Melissa Parsons on April 22, 2020

Construction companies and businesses in rural and remote sites may not think they need to worry about crime. After all, rural and remote areas tend to have smaller populations. They are further away from cities.

An article in The Wall Street Journal reveals a different reality. The violent crime rate in rural areas has surpassed the national average. It is the first time this has happened in a decade. The police departments in these rural and remote areas are overwhelmed. They have fewer people patrolling their jurisdictions. Their budgets and number of employees have not kept up with demand.

The reality is that rural police departments face high turnover. Some may have part-time apprentice cops who are not full-fledged officers. They can enforce the law, but they have not attended the police academy for rigorous training.

Rural and Tribal Police Department Challenges

The Economist tells the story of a police department in Thomaston, Maine. The town has a population of 2,800 people. Its police department includes a police chief, four full-time officers, and three part-time reserve officers. This small department responds to almost 5,000 calls every year. In addition to turnover, small-town police departments don't always provide health coverage for their families.

The cost of maintaining a fully staffed department is too high for these rural towns. The article says training a police officer can cost more than $40,000. The National Police Foundation mentions that costs can exceed $100,000. Yet, training is only a small part of the police department's budget.

They still need equipment, some of which require replacing every few years. The Economist has learned that some police officers must buy their own equipment, which is not cheap. Many police officers leave these small-town police departments to go to the private sector where the pay is better.

Some towns have actually disbanded their police department and switched to contracting. The problem is that contracted officers tend to have slower response times. They also don't know the residents like the full-time officers do.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)'s "Practices in Modern Policing: Policing in small, rural, and tribal communities" asserts that almost half of U.S. law enforcement agencies have fewer than 10 officers, and 75 percent have fewer than 25 police officers. That means the bulk of police departments have limited resources and can't afford the technology typically found in larger departments.

"Access to new technologies can be challenging for small agencies because they may lack the necessary resources to purchase new equipment, the technical background and training to assess product options, and the means to thoroughly explain technology needs to city officials,” the IACP's Smaller Agency Training and Technical Assistance Project writes in its report.

It goes on to explain training and education are also a problem for smaller departments. They also struggle with backfilling a police officer's position. If an officer is sick or attending training, someone else must cover the shift. A small police force is often short-staffed with officers working lots of overtime.

In cities with a well-staffed police department, an officer can call for backup for a crime in progress. This is not the case in a small town with limited staff. Officers either must tackle crime alone or wait longer for backup. With most officers joining larger police departments of the private sector, it proves challenging to hire and retain officers in these small departments.

Crime Rates in Rural Areas

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Center for Victims of Crime's Urban and Rural Crime statistics show rural areas deal with almost as much crime as urban and suburban areas do. Victimization by location of residence in Table 1 displays data based on the violent crime (assault and robbery) rate per 1,000 people and property crime (theft) rate per 1,000 households.

Crime

Urban

Suburban

Rural

Violent crime

22.2

19.3

18.3

  • Robbery

3.8

2.1

1.0

  • Simple assault

12.8

12.4

11.8

  • Aggravated assault

3.8

4.1

4.9

  • Rape/sexual assault

1.8

0.7

0.7

Property crime

148.8

101.7

103.2

  • Theft

111.7

81.2

76.0

  • Motor-vehicle theft

6.0

3.6

1.8

Table 1. The crime rate for each crime for urban and rural

As you can see in Table 1, rural has as much or more crime in some categories especially aggravated assault, rape, and property crime.

What do the understaffed police departments and the crime rates mean for construction companies and businesses in these rustic locations? They need to step up security. Doing this means creating a security plan and implementing the right security technology.

That is a tall order. Construction sites and businesses in rural and remote areas face one of the most difficult environments to secure. They deal with unreliable power, poor lighting conditions, and constant change.

How Mobile Surveillance Enhances Security for Temporary and Remote Sites

What is the ideal security technology for these far-flung areas? It is bad enough that these remote locations often encounter problems with power and hardwired internet connections. Based on years of experience securing construction sites, Stealth Monitoring has designed a video surveillance solution that delivers the required features to secure the most challenging sites.

This mobile surveillance security solution can be mounted on almost any pole or flat surface. It even works on the roof of a site management trailer. This makes it possible to deploy the system quickly. Mobile video surveillance can help overcome the aforementioned challenges.

Construction sites need a cost-effective security solution. The cost of security guards is out of reach for many businesses. They also demand something more robust than solar-powered camera solutions. Stealth has solved that problem with solar trailers. The company has expanded solar trailers to include pole-mounted versions. These cameras have the ability to record and monitor sites.

The solar mobile surveillance technology does not require diesel generators that are typical of rural areas. These traditional energy and power supply systems have low energy conversion efficiency and consume a great deal of power. Besides, diesel generators come with a host of other problems. They have unstable communication services, high-operating costs, and frequent fault occurrences. All while leaving a large carbon footprint.

Here are some of the benefits of Stealth's solar and mobile video surveillance technology:

  • Operates without hardwired internet or power.
  • Functions as a mobile trailer or pole-mounted solution.
  • Offers customizable layouts that can include cameras and other components.
  • Works in many locations and can be completely self-sustaining.
  • Uses solar panels with advanced battery technology and backup generators.
  • Allows you to view cameras on PCs, mobile devices, and laptops.
  • Supports scalability to add more cameras.

A solar and mobile video surveillance solution consist of three parts:

  • Battery enclosure: Stores the batteries and solar charge controller. Because it is heavy, the enclosure is mounted at the ground-level for stability and easy installation.
  • Solar panels: Two solar panels deliver up to 200W charging power. They are installed in a spot that receives maximum sun exposure.
  • Housing: The enclosure contains the modem, Raspberry Pi, power monitor with the IP cameras providing the best field views. This housing can include a strobe and speaker warning.

The housing enclosure consists of remote-controlled relays. This makes troubleshooting possible as well as verifying the health of the system. The system can also be powered down remotely to save power outside of monitoring hours.

The strobe light acts as a visual deterrent. Trespassers entering the property will suddenly find a spotlight shining on them. Some will scamper away. Considering this is a rural or remote area, it may not be enough to scare them off.

Hearing a live voice via the audio speaker may deter the intruders. A trained security operator can alert the suspects and issue a warning. If they are determined to proceed in their mission, the operator can call the police.

Solar and Mobile Surveillance Vs. Security Guards

The biggest barrier to using security guards is cost. The cost multiplies with every security guard you hire. Then there is the factor of unpredictability. No one knows how they will respond to a dangerous situation.

Security guards do not go through the same kind of training that police officers do. Most states recommend about 24 hours of training for security guards. Is that enough to prepare them for every scenario? Is that enough to prevent them from running away when they are naturally scared for their lives? Is that enough to give you peace of mind?

Moreover, security guards are a liability. It turns out that many security guards have a criminal history as exposed in a report from CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Apparently, the contracting security guard company may not even do a background check on its guards. It is bad enough the security guard business deals with high turnover. Because of this, 31 states do not require background checks. Like those understaffed rural police departments, the states do not have the time and resources to contend with background checks.

Even with security guards present on-site, crime and incidents still occur. Construction sites are typically large and impossible to see the entire property from one vantage point. The site can have hazardous areas where security guards cannot patrol. It does not take much for prowlers to monitor security guards on a large property in a remote area. They will break in as soon as the guards are out of sight.

Mobile surveillance cameras record everything. Security guards do not. These recordings provide evidence to help law enforcement with investigation and court cases. With mobile surveillance, you will not have to worry about a security guard injuring themselves or others. The trained monitoring operators watching the cameras are in a remote location away from the site. Their lives are never at risk.

Security guards wearing their uniforms can lead to a false sense of security. They can also increase liability while remote video surveillance can decrease liability. The flexibility of mobile surveillance delivers the fastest ROI for security because it maximizes property coverage and could potentially lower your liability insurance premiums.

If you'd like to learn more, explore this website and check out the videos catching intruders in action. For more information about mobile surveillance and business security solutions, please contact us.

Posted in: Video Security Systems, Security Guards & Savings, Video Monitoring