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Big Brother Lamp Post

A lamp post with a built in surveillance camera system
  (+8, -9)
(+8, -9)
  [vote for,

Put a couple of cheap CCD cameras with wide angle lenses that work in the near IR band at the top of every lamp post. Add a lump of FLASH memory. Every second, the cameras grab an image and store it to the memory. If a crime is reported in the vicinity, the Scenes of crimes people drive up to the posts in the area and download all the images via Bluetooth or 802.11 The image store rolls over every 10 - 14 days. Since the cameras are in an interlocking grid, if you try to take one out, its neighbour will spot you. You can't kill all the posts in a whole area .... and an injured post could yell for help via the cellular network.
8th of 7, Jun 12 2002

(?) 360 degree camera. http://www.3foisplu...logie/page_01.shtml
Here is the camera. Check out the pan and move facility. Sorry if you do not understand French. Tant pis ! [English Pete, Jun 13 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

neighbourhood watch couch potatoes http://www.halfbakery.com
bringing on 'Yo Mamma' [M Carter, Jan 25 2008]


       The essential idea already exists, but without the FLASH memory, instead it just records to vt. There's quite a few attached to corners of public buildings. So baked without evidence.
[ sctld ], Jun 12 2002

       I was driving through Granton in Edinburgh the other day. It is interspersed with posts topped by huge halogen floodlights and cctv cameras. Now I know your idea uses different technology - but I think I'll have to yell "baked!" at you unless you can point out the important difference I may be missing?
mcscotland, Jun 12 2002

       Granton <shudder> I used to work there.
stupop, Jun 12 2002

       What were you [stuppop]? A mugger, burglar or a drug dealer?
mcscotland, Jun 12 2002

       I agree with what's been said above. I don't see how this differs from existing CCTV cameras, except for things like using Flash and Bluetooth, which just add needless complexity and cost.   

       <parochial>Ah, Granton, fair Granton, well I bet if stupop was a burglar there he didn't make much of a living. Altho with Leith being so smashingly cool, I'm sure Granton will soon be gentrified also.</parochial>
pottedstu, Jun 12 2002

       Baked and decorated; Not only does this exist as mentioned above, but some of them are using software to match faces, so someone walking through the square can suddenly have a million police appear and all try to jump on their foreheads.   

       Boned for unnecessary invasion of privacy. If I had more fishbones to give, you'd get them too. We have little enough as it is, why do you want to make it WORSE?
StarChaser, Jun 13 2002

       Scltd: Vt has a lot of limitations. The tapes need regualr replacement; the recorder is fairly bulky and expensive. Physical access is needed to get at the tape. This design is a bolt on extra to the post - all it needs mains power.   

       Mscotland: Not surprised about the cameras in Edinburgh. After all its only 250 years since you invaded us and stole our catlle. Everyone knows Hadrian only built his wall to stop the Picts ram-raiding the off licences.   

       Pottedstu: It actually reduces complexity and cost.   

       SteveJ: The cameras work in the near IR, not the far IR wher body heat is a factor. The CCD reponse would be otimised for the sodium D lines from the streetlight plus any adventitious IR available.   

       StarChaser: I am reliably informed that "Honest citizens have nothing to fear from the police" (Unless you have a funny foreign name, are a devotee of the prophet Mohammed, or in the case of our own fair land are guilty of the heinous offence of Being Irish In a Public Place During The Hours Of Darkness).   

       The Civil Liberties aspect is handled because the system is based on retrospective image upload; if someone reports a crime then you can go looking for evidence of the perpertator. You can't use this system to sit in front of a bank of monitors and fish for victims. But if you do something, and someone else complains, then you have a good chance of being caught.
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       This might begin labeled as altruistic, it might even BE, for a moment. Soon, someone will decide that there's all that data going to waste, let's DO something with it.   

       Why should I, who has done nothing wrong, be treated as a criminal? 'Innocent until proven guilty'. Until I do something, there's no need to watch me. You yourself recognize they would be unpopular, needing to protect themselves.   

       As to 'honest citizens have nothing to fear from the police', let me counter with another quote; "He that would give up even one freedom for security, deserves neither freedom nor security."
StarChaser, Jun 13 2002

       There would be so much data that it would be fairly difficult to analyse all of it ....   

       And they would indeed be deeply unpopular .... with criminals. I think it would give many people a feeling of security, knowing that if anything happened they would have independant verification of events.   

       Quote for quote: "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance".
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       //There would be so much data that it would be fairly difficult to analyse all of it ....

Security through obscurity? Not a policy that you can really depend on to keep your data private.
mcscotland, Jun 13 2002

       Why not use one 360 degree Camera. A french company invented one. The camera points upwards and collects the image off an inverted mirror cone. Computer software sorts the image out. Proving popular with estate agents as it allows them to photograph the room in one go. Then when you brouse on the web you can pan round the whole room. Great for tourists to as you can take photo of beach sea and houses on sea front at same time. I will see if I can find the link.   

       Its my birthday today wish me happy birthday !
English Pete, Jun 13 2002

       Yes, the 360 degree camera would be a good idea.   

       Also, i thought that if you added a solar panel to the top of the unit it could be put on any high place, like telegraph poles in rural areas.   

       Happy Birthday, English Pete.
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       //What were you [stuppop]? A mugger, burglar or a drug dealer?//   

       Worse actually - I worked for Transco. I have to say that on a gloomy Monday morning, walking through wastelands strewn with smashed up bus shelters and burnt-out 'Gregg the baker's doesn't exactly fill you with joie de vivre. That place is right off the "two shopping carts ghetto" scale.
stupop, Jun 13 2002

       I think that you make a mistake equating technology with security. Filming someone and catching and convicting them are not the same thing. If you want surveillance then get rid of the bloody cameras and put a few more coppers on the beat where they can do some good.

I completely agree with StarChaser on the invasion of privacy issue as well, incidentally.

Oh, and happy birthday Pete.

And just to add to the list of quotes: "You know what happens to nosey fellahs? Huh, no? OK. They lose their noses!"
DrBob, Jun 13 2002

       On the issue of civil liberties, can someone explain to me the difference between an actual policeman standing on a corner and watching you, and a policeman observing you via camera from a remote location?
senatorjam, Jun 13 2002

       Hey, English Pete, you know that game you play where you get together a bunch of people and take bets about whether there are two in the crowd with the same birthday? We just played it.   

       Today's my birthday, too!   

       Today I am the answer to life, the universe, and everything.   

       Happy birthday, English Pete!
beauxeault, Jun 13 2002


       "The problem with a democracy is that people get what they want" - george Washington I believe ?   

       We are obviously happy with the number of police that we have and the "acceptable level of crime". Otherwise surely a political party would say "A penny on income tax and it all goes for more police" and be elected by a landslide ?   

       JFK was asked "why send a man to the moon when for half the cost you can end world hunger ?" His reply was "I can get the money from Congress to send a man to the moon".   

       If we can't get money for real policemen (which I agree would be much muich better) but we can get people to pay for technology, then the technology will have to do.   

       Consider the costs: how many lamppost cameras could you get - which work 24hrs a day, 365 days a year - for the price of providing the same area coverage using human beans ? Your vote - your taxes - your VCR being stolen - you choose ..
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       I don't agree with the George Washington quote. To my mind, the problem with democracy (at least as currently practised in the UK - I wouldn't presume to speak for other countries) is that relatively few people actually get what they want or even what they voted for.

Although people might not be keen on financing a large increase in policing they are most definitely keen on reducing the amount of police time spent in the station (currently running at 60% - 70%, I believe) doing paperwork rather doing some actual policing. I think the cost issue is misleading.

And talking of getting your VCR nicked, it's time for an anecdote...

About 18 months ago I was chatting to the stationmaster at the local railway station. They put up some security cameras to try and catch the kids who were continually spraying graffitti round the place. Two days later the cameras were gone. Checking the security tape on the VCR in the office, they had a lovely film of a dark clothed person, wearing a balaclava who walked onto the station, waved at the camera and then snow scene! Two days after that, someone took the VCR as well.
DrBob, Jun 13 2002

       Many thanks for all the Happy Birthdays and Happy Birthday beauxeault aswell.   

       Is 8th of 7 some reference to the film "The Postman" ? (Mailman, US)   

       If the camera was digital the image could be beamed by satelite to a central security station on the moon where all the images of bad behavior are kept. When a criminal is caught the images are all searched using an advanced "ZX Spectrum" to identify further bad deeds.
English Pete, Jun 13 2002

       DrBob: Sad to say, I have personal experience of a very similar occurrence.   

       English Pete: No, "8th of 7" is a Borg designation (Star Trek next generation) bestowed on me by my collegues .... and only half in jest.   

       I'm not sure that you would be able to get a ZX Spectrum. Apparently NASA are bidding top dollar for any remaining working units to keep the Space Shuttle running - or was that 8080A's ? Sorry, i drink to forget ...
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       When I lived in the UK I thought there was a lot of Graffiti. But now I live in France and it would appear every surface is covered in Graffiti. When you look at it often you see repeats of the same "tags". I believe that if you were able to analyse who did the graffiti and quantity you would quickly find that it obeys a Pareto curve i.e 80% graffiti is the responsablity of 20% of the Graffitiest. Catching one of these regulars would quickly reduce the amount.   

       8th of 7 which is the half in jest.
English Pete, Jun 13 2002

       English Pete: The human half is a bit of a joke, actually ... but my cybernetics are pretty neat.   

       Catching the Graffitist is only half the job. Then you need to stop them doing it again. Besides, if you remove one from the poulation, the others will surely multiply to fill the vacant territory ?   

       What is needed is the analogy of the "sterile male" mosquito analogy. I think the plan was to release billions of sterile male (non-biting) mosquitoes. These would compete with the fertile males. The eggs the females lay don't hatch ... if you keep releasing sterile males, the mosquito population soon plummets.   

       You need to release the graffitist back into the wild -so it still competes with its peers - but stop it spraying.   

       A spraycan of clear varnish ?
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002

       Senatorjam: A policeman on the corner isn't staring constantly at everyone waiting for them to do something. The policeman doesn't follow every single person around constantly. There is a difference.   

       If these were to be deployed, I would have to become a criminal in destroying them whenever possible.
StarChaser, Jun 14 2002

       Another difference is that a copper who witnesses a crime may actually try and stop it while a camera just watches. Crazy bastards and mask owners aren't deterred by cameras but are still vulnerable to a truncheon up the side of the head .
stilgar, Oct 02 2006

       (Just ran across -Neighborhood watch coach potatoes- from 2004)   

       In fact your mother and other seniors could be hired to monitor, from their own homes, maybe in different localities to remain objective. They'd have to train themselves and monitor themselves too. It could become a scary autonomous beaucracy, senior nazis, but if I had to live in a dangerous area I would welcome it, especially if I had kids.   

       Probably, for most low income areas, the majority would welcome this surveillance, they can't control their own kids, half are hard working single parents.   

       Most crimes are done by kids who do them at a whim with the joy and excitement of a game, with a little risk making it more intriguing, but not enough risk for serious jailtime.   

       Criminal, antisocial behavior is passed on from one kid to the next. If this culture of petty crimes were cleaned up the more serious ones would be easier to address, less likely to develop, the wayward isolated and treated for their antisocial sickness. "Everyman wants his face in the sun." Even bullys and criminals want to loved, to have a congenial daily rappore with others, but they have been funneled into a toughguy, macho role by their peers.   

       How to re-educated and reform their habits once caught?
M Carter, Jan 23 2008

       The libertarians and the watchers will never agree, there has to be a compromise.   

       I hate the thought of being watched and recorded but acknowledge that crime is (apparetly) on the rise. Having cameras where the data is only accessible in the event of a reported crime and frequently, regularly deleted seems acceptable.
sprogga, Jan 23 2008


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