News | November 18, 2013

Nassau County Fights Firearm Crime With Innovation

Milestone open platform video is integrated with ShotSpotter

gunshot detection and the HawkEye Effect digital mapping

Milestone Systems open platform IP video management software (VMS) has been integrated by EIA, Inc. with ShotSpotter gunshot detection and the Hawkeye Effect digital mapping to help the Nassau County Police Department fight criminal firearm activity.

With the goal of driving down gun violence in the Roosevelt-Uniondale area of New York, the Nassau County Police Department wanted to leverage its Milestone XProtect video surveillance solution with its open platform technology for the next step in safety. To help deter gun crime and assist in quickly solving firearm-related cases, the department focused on enhancing the capabilities of its street cameras.

This area of Nassau County had a large number of shooting incidents – both reported to the police and unreported. Authorities believed it would benefit the community immensely to use a new system that could prove cost-efficient to launch and monitor, to track gunshots and provide evidence and convictions of those committing crimes. How could the police department leverage surveillance camera video to actionable information for real-time incident response?

“The key was to expand the functionality of our already deployed Milestone system with an integrated ShotSpotter solution. The HawkEye Effect was also integrated seamlessly with Milestone and we now have a scalable, reliable 24-hour police watch for a safer county,” states Detective Lieutenant Ken Strigaro, Nassau County Police.

The solution uses ShotSpotter’s sensors to locate gunshots in the coverage area of the surveillance cameras, and the HawkEye Effect to triangulate the sensors, map the location, direct the cameras to the location and notify first responders while recording the video. The HawkEye Effect correlates a gunshot’s location and sends the information to Milestone XProtect, which controls the pan, tilt and zoom capabilities of the cameras.

Milestone channel partner EIA Inc. designed and installed the system to meet the Nassau County Police Department requirements for automated gunshot detection, location, reporting and video verification. The flexibility of the Milestone XProtect Corporate video management software automatically adjusts the video recording rates to the maximum number of frames per second to capture incidents in the greatest detail.

The system not only detects gunshots, it is able to differentiate between fireworks or backfiring vehicles. Within 10 seconds it locates the gunshot, automatically plots the incident on a map, turns the surveillance cameras to the location and possible egress points, records the incident and notifies law enforcement personnel. Information retrieved from the camera and the location is processed through Milestone XProtect, available for evidence sharing during case development and prosecution.

“By integrating mapping into the Milestone XProtect Smart Client, we can almost immediately have police eyes on a target through the very intuitive interface,” stated Jeff Blair, CEO for the HawkEye Effect. “Nassau County uses the HawkEye mapping technology, but all the camera interaction is handled by the Milestone platform.”

ShotSpotter uses a series of sensors placed throughout the area to be monitored. The software triangulates a gunshot location as a GPS coordinate and provides the nearest street address. The HawkEye Effect translates this information and creates a series of polygons across the area where the shot was fired. The polygon graphics relate to either a camera preset position in Milestone XProtect or to an area that cannot be directly seen by the camera but may be a point of escape from the area where the gunshot was fired.

If the coordinates of the shot fired are outside the camera view, it redirects to an area off a major avenue that is approximately where the shot was fired, to provide a view of the incident as it happens or pick up someone fleeing the scene. If a victim is injured, the authorities can see it in the video and report the injury immediately, speeding up response time.

“Without Milestone this system wouldn’t have been possible,” states David Engel, CEO of EIA Inc. “The HawkEye gateway has a Milestone link service, via the Milestone Software Development Kit (SDK), for an integration that is able to communicate to the video management software, feeding it different presets to turn the cameras. We had to carefully map out the geography of the area and, using Milestone’s open program interfaces with the HawkEye Effect mapping, create an integration with ShotSpotter that would tell Milestone XProtect which cameras to move and where, when a gunshot was detected.”

“Milestone’s open platform architecture is exceptionally easy to work with, providing the means, tools and resources to enable further innovation. As Milestone constantly expands, the software provides the keys necessary to leverage the resources that customers have already invested,” adds Blair. “Milestone makes it easy for partners like us to code our technology in a forthright manner, allowing end users to benefit from the latest and greatest software and hardware integrations for comprehensive deployments such as this in Nassau County.”

The ShotSpotter system sends coordinates and categorizes information about the type of bullet and number of shots fired. When a shot is detected, 911 center operators are provided a pop-up video display on the screen with this vital information. At the same time, a copy of the information is sent to the HawkEye Gateway to determine the location, coordinating the camera views through Milestone XProtect.

Gregg Rowland, Senior VP at ShotSpotter, says: “Any information, whether it includes longitude, latitude or time, can be used - in this case with Milestone XProtect, by programming exactly what you need. The cameras are geo-referenced by the HawkEye Effect, so if you say ‘Gunshot happened on this corner, send closest camera to that location,’ the PTZ directly lines up to where the event happened and turns every other camera to egress routes. There is a lot of creativity with what we do with the data.”

The flexibility of the Milestone open platform allows customers to select a variety of applications developed by the members of the Milestone Solution Partner Program to meet diverse and changing needs. These solutions integrate video management with analytics for counting cars or people, with laser scanners for unique perimeter control, with access control or HVAC systems and RFID technology. The possibilities are endless with an open platform.

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About Milestone Systems
Founded in 1998, Milestone Systems is a global industry leader in open platform IP video management software. Delivering powerful surveillance that is easy to manage, reliable and proven in thousands of customer installations around the world, Milestone technology supports flexible choices in network hardware and integrations with other systems. Sold through partners in more than 100 countries, Milestone solutions help ‘video enable’ organizations – managing risks, protecting people and assets, optimizing processes and reducing costs. For more information, visit

Source: Milestone Systems