DENVER — People will do funny things when a camera is on them, but they probably won’t commit a crime.
Such is the thinking behind a new public CCTV system recently installed by security integrator Digatron Inc. in the Denver suburb of East Colfax to curb the area’s problems with drug activities and prostitution. Within weeks of the installation’s completion at the end of October, Denver law enforcement was already seeing a substantial decrease in incidents.
“It’s been a major deterrence,” says Tony Ibarra, founder and CEO of Digatron — the 2005 SAMMYs winner of Commercial/ Industrial Installation of the Year for their company’s work on the Denver Convention Center. “Surveillance is behavior modification. If you see a camera out in the streets, you’re going to think twice about picking your nose or trying to rob a building.”
A collection of CCTV cameras, DVRs and other video surveillance equipment provide 24-hour surveillance of a three-block area. Mirroring a public CCTV installation in Hollywood, Calif. — profiled in the September 2005 issue of SSI — the key to getting the project under way and funded was a public-private partnership between the Colfax Business Improvement District, the Denver Police Department, Digatron and the Archdiosese of Denver, which had a church in the area.
“This is a community-based and motivated situation where business owners were primary motivators of the project,” says Tony’s brother, Digatron President Greg Ibarra. “The key is the community is involved. They said we needed something done.”
As for the usual rumblings about “Big Brother” invading people’s privacy, the Ibarras mention that the areas under surveillance are public and signs clearly tell people they are under video surveillance. “A reporter asked me about ‘Big Brother.’ I said I’ve got a big brother and I always appreciated it when he was watching my back,” Greg Ibarra says.