Responding to a call about kids playing in the stadium construction site, the dispatcher brought up a Web page. Looking at the photo on the page, he determined that there was indeed a problem and sent a patrol car to resolve the situation.
Events like this one, which occurred last Sunday, may become more common as Public Safety utilizes a device it is now testing at the stadium. The device, called the "Axis 200 Web Camera" takes pictures, digitizes them and makes them immediately available via the Web.
The device, which the University is calling its "StadiumCam," focuses on the stadium construction site. Originally, the "camera was done for the alumni last weekend," said Public Safety Crime Prevention Specialist Barry Weiser. The idea was that alumni could watch the progress of construction via the Web.
Last Sunday's event highlighted one possible use of the camera. The public safety dispatchers had been instructed to "bring up the camera once in a while and look at it," according to Weiser.
After receiving a call, a dispatcher was able to verify that there were trespassers in the construction site without a proctor having to personally investigate.
"It's an excellent means of crime prevention," Weiser said, adding that "it's cheaper than manpower to prevent a theft."
The University is now considering putting similar cameras to use in other parts of the campus.
"This is a test," Weiser said. If the stadium camera test is successful, other cameras could be used for surveillance of cars in campus parking lots.
"If we have a particular problem in a parking lot, we can use it," he said. Weiser also suggested that the camera could be used to watch bicycles in areas especially prone to theft.
The recording device is currently on loan from Axis Communications for evaluation by the University. For the future, Weiser said he would "love to have one or two that we could use when we need them."
Debbie Stark, a senior advanced technology specialist at CIT, said she is overseeing the evaluation. The Advanced Technologies division of CIT examines and tests emerging technology for use at the University. Stark said her department does a lot of hardware and software testing.
"We're looking at the future," she said, noting that the Web Camera is "very early in the test stages." She indicated that the camera is priced at about $800. According to Weiser this is "relatively inexpensive compared to a regular camera." Stark also said the camera is easy to incorporate into existing systems because it is Web-based.
The camera can be accessed at http://www.princeton.edu/stadiumcam.