Today, urbanization has taken on a new form. Not only are municipalities continuing to receive new residents, now the cities themselves are evolving. One reason is that the growth in population has created a need for increased security measures. These newly modernized, security-hardened urban hubs are called “Safe Cities.”
There are currently 21 megacities in the world with over 10 million inhabitants, according to Postscapes. In 1975 there were only three. Many of these megacities are embracing safe city initiatives, but they aren’t the only ones.
Located on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China, a recent addition to the global safe city movement is the special administrative region of Macau. This area takes up a meager 12.7 square miles of land yet remains the most densely populated city in the world, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Astounding Numbers of People Challenge Security
More than 52,000 people take up each square mile and count among the highest per capita incomes on earth. Macau’s gambling industry is seven times larger than that of Las Vegas and makes up over 50 percent of its economy. Last year the region welcomed more than 35 million tourists and visitors, according to the Macau Government Tourism Office—a record for Macau. That number averages 98,092 new visitors per day!
Macau’s highly centralized and compactly urbanized economy, with its high influx of tourists, makes this self-governing region of China a unique public security challenge. For this reason, in 2015—just 16 years after its territorial transfer from Portugal to China in 1999—Macau set out to establish itself as a safe, smart and modern center for tourism and leisure.
Multi-phase Safe City Implementations, Eyes in the Sky
In 2016 a five-year development plan was announced, and at the heart of it was Macau’s “Safe City” initiative. The initiative proposed constructing an urban electronic surveillance system, installing 1,620 cameras in four phases, at various locations throughout the city. At the end of the first year, 219 cameras and a system command site were installed in the center of the city.
Last year, the government announced it would extend the project to incorporate 2,600 surveillance cameras by 2023 and 4,200 by 2028. The Macau News Agency also reported that legislators agreed to add intelligent video analytics to the deployment. This includes facial recognition and license plate tracking as part of Macau’s “Eye in the Sky” camera system, in line with many similar projects throughout mainland China.
Open Platform Video Integrates the Components
This project brought together global security and software providers. Notable technologies include IP-based surveillance cameras from Arecont Vision, super long-range white light illuminators from specialist manufacturer iluminar, and video management software from Milestone Systems, whose open architecture ensures efficient interoperability.
Arecont cameras were deployed throughout the city. To optimize surveillance performance, iluminar’s WL643-2 Series lights were installed alongside the cameras. Emitting up to 643 feet of visible light, the products illuminate the monitored area to improve full color video capture. With clearer images, security operators can better assess situations, prioritize events and determine best response. The enhanced lighting helps the cameras yield higher quality video for the best analytics performance. Cameras can better identify suspects and vehicle license plates, sending more accurate alerts to law enforcement and security personnel.
Bringing the system together, Macau uses XProtect Corporate – an open architecture video management software from Milestone. The deployment required maximum video integrity and combined central video management; XProtect delivers flexible recording, robust operation, a user-friendly unified interface and cost-efficient system scalability for the future.
By integrating each of these high-performing technologies into its Safe City initiative, Macau has assembled a solution of reliable, effective tools to detect and deter crime in real time, ensuring its thriving tourist industry continues to grow and keeps people safe.