Basler church surveillance project impacts on vandalism

Ahrensburg, Germany

After several incidents including broken windows and deliberate toppling of gravestones, parish authorities in Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland decided to install an IP camera solution to stop the vandalism to their churches.
The church authorities contacted Tuomo Aaltonen, Manager at Finnish security and communications provider Avalarm Oy, to get advice on a suitable security solution. Aaltonen suggested a video surveillance solution with Basler IP cameras and Seetec 5 video management software.

Aaltonen recommended two Basler IP fixed box models, the BIP2-1300c-dn and BIP2-1600c-dn, and a BIP2-D1300c-dn fixed dome model. All three models offer megapixel resolution and day/night functionality for video surveillance both in daylight and at night. Their high-quality CCD sensors are extremely light-sensitive, providing detailed color images during the day, and crisp black-and-white images at night.

“We selected Basler IP cameras because of their stable long-term performance and their high image quality even in low light,” says Tuomo Aaltonen. “Together with their day/night functionality, this allows for 24-hour surveillance of the churches.”

Aaltonen had the cameras installed on the outer church walls. The box cameras were put into outdoor housings to protect them from weather elements. Basler's IP dome cameras are equipped with a vandal and weather-resistant dome housing. They were attached to the church walls using a wall bracket. Every church is equipped with an average of ten cameras, to monitor every angle of the surveillance area.

The parish authorities needed both extended-period image recording capability to continuously monitor the church's immediate vicinity, and motion detection in the case of a vandalism attempt. Both requirements can be met with the new IP camera solution. Basler IP cameras can be set to output an alarm whenever motion is detected, by sending an e-mail or by outputting specific HTTP or SNMP commands.

“There's nobody around the church grounds at night to check what's going on,” Aaltonen explains. “That's why we needed reliable motion detection.” In this particular case, motion detection raises an alarm at a security company. In addition, all video material recorded is stored for two weeks, and all video material recorded when motion has been detected is stored for four weeks, allowing parish authorities to review any suspicious event after it has happened.

Just a few months after installation, Tuomo Aaltonen reports positive results from the security installation: “The vandalism incidents decreased significantly after the cameras were put in place,” he says. “Criminals see that the cameras are there to record their activities, and even if they still dare to damage the churches, we can catch them red-handed and have recorded proof of their crime.”

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