Integrated video technology helps Brazilian courts regain control

Brasilia, Brazil and Copenhagen, Denmark

The Federal District Court in Brazil’s capital city of Brasília uses its new high-end security system to prevent defendants from escaping during trial, and to identify potential criminals wandering its facilities. Intelligent video analytics can quickly alert authorities to possible riots, triggering police to respond and prevent an uprising. Thirty buildings are efficiently managed from one location.

Occurrences of defendants escaping and rioting had been a very real risk. The Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories (TJDFT) considered this when it undertook preventive security actions. Their previous surveillance consisted of analogue cameras connected to stand-alone DVRs – outdated, with obsolete equipment, providing no integration between the different sites.

The court district needed a better way to monitor 30 buildings spread across Brazil’s federal capital, to protect employees and visitors and ensure the safety of thousands of Brazilian citizens who use the agency services. Ultimately, the court needed a system to help capture fugitives and identify criminals.

TJDFT sought a modern video management system that could integrate all the buildings of the judicial district across the capital, some of them in remote areas. The court also needed to monitor the offices from one central location. It was essential to ensure the safety of people and property, and the security of the system itself.

In the main building alone, up to 5,000 citizens visit the location monthly. Other buildings are located in the court complex, too, such as the public warehouse (the central holding area for guarding weapons and objects from crimes), a museum, medical areas, and a retail complex.

"We bought our cameras at different times based on cost, functionality, and warranty. We had 30 buildings that were using different cameras, so we needed to feel confident that they would all integrate into the federated software system without any hassle," explained Igor Martins da Silva, manager for the project at TJDFT.

Scalable system with smart video analytics

The Federal District Court expanded and upgraded its existing security infrastructure with a district-wide solution using cameras equipped with intelligent video analytics (perimeter, loitering, and forensic search) from Axis Communications and Bosch, all integrated with the Milestone Xprotect Expert open platform video management software (VMS) for easy monitoring, prevention and incident investigation. Milestone’s open platform VMS was approved because it offered more freedom of choice among the associated technologies.

Cameras and video analytics from Axis models M1125, P1435, M3046, P5534-E and Bosch models NBE-3502-AL, NDV-3503-F02 were chosen due to the best visuals and performance.

The implementation of smart video analytics vastly optimised policing in courtrooms and other internal areas. The perimeter, loitering, and forensic search analytics from Axis and Bosch are used the most.

The system implementation took place in stages, beginning in 2015. Since the TJDFT is a public agency, each stage required a bidding process. The judicial police were responsible for preparing the project description to carry out the bidding, with the services and products contracted.

"We chose the most critical buildings to receive the new technology: the largest ones with the greatest flow of people. At the time, we updated nine buildings with the new surveillance solution", said Igor Martins da Silva.

In 2017, the project expanded to the rest of the buildings in the second stage. By then, the contract required the use of the Milestone VMS platform. For the third stage in 2020, the TJDFT updated all the licenses and extended the Milestone Care Plus service, which provides maintenance, upgrades and complete product support.

Around 1,170 cameras are installed in common areas outside and inside, especially where criminals are held. As the largest in size with the greatest number of courtrooms, the main building received the most cameras, totaling 450. The other 29 buildings have 40 to 110 cameras each, depending on their size and needs. Axis models make up 80 percent of the devices.

The system is scalable and open architecture, ready to handle new devices and add more integrations. The management of all forums in the Federal District is handled in a virtual machine on a SQL server. However, the video recordings are kept locally in each building to avoid overloading the central storage.

In the main building, the monitoring room has more robust servers and a video wall featuring ten 47-inch monitors displaying images. Police officers monitor the system 24 hours a day with support from the IT team, if necessary.

The personnel who operate the system received training on the functions most used daily: retrieving images, searching, configuring view mosaics, and checking system alarms. As of summer 2022, all TJDFT buildings have the Milestone VMS installed, and new sites that are built in the future will also receive the solution.

Efficient monitoring, improved security, proactive crime deterrent

The Milestone open platform delivered integration with existing cameras from different manufacturers, technical support, and high performance. The new video system has helped security personnel deter defendants from escaping and crowds from forming. During emergencies, local law enforcement have direct access to all camera views.

The Court has a mission to provide the community with access to justice and peaceful conflict resolution. It serves all cities in the Federal District, which has an estimated population of nearly 3 million people as of 2022. This brings together forums from 33 administrative regions that make up the Federal District of Brasília.

Now, all 30 buildings are monitored from their unique location as well as from one central command center that integrates into the Milestone XProtect Smart Wall. If the system detects something unusual in the courtrooms, it triggers a riot alert so police can take necessary measures - fast.

Several crimes are tried in the forums, and there is a risk of escape attempts by the defendants involved in these trials. Intelligent video can quickly identify these riots and trigger police to intervene to prevent an uprising. The magistrate can also activate a panic button and the alarm sounds in the monitoring centre.

With the motion sensor enabled on the cameras and the use of motion filtering, finding suspicious activity became much faster. Objects left behind in courtrooms can be identified more efficiently, reducing dangerous situations such as a bomb hidden in a bag.

"We were dealing with a variety of incidents such as unauthorised access, defendants, people with pending arrest warrants, and robberies. The ability to see the video and react instantly, or even before an incident occurs, is a huge advantage for us," concluded Igor Martins da Silva.


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