Surveillance Camera News

(assorted press releases and news items April 2000) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ New tools tested in battle against sleepy truckers PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Black coffee is no longer the only aid for truckers who are trying to stay awake behind the wheel. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Consortium have equipped 16 big rigs with five devices designed to alert truckers when they are too tired to drive. The equipment has been installed in trucks owned by commercial hauler Pitt Ohio Express Inc. for a study that runs over the next year and a half. Researchers want to know how about 75 drivers respond to visual warnings of fatigue, Carnegie Mellon researcher Richard Grace said. ``When people are tired, they drive with their eyes closed,'' Grace said. ``You should drive with your eyes open.'' Grace's device determines fatigue by using a special camera to measure the speed that a driver's eyelids blink, he said. Drooping eyelids and slowing blinks will cause a traffic-light device on the dashboard to turn from green to yellow and then red. Another device is a wrist watch that truckers wear around the clock, Grace said. The watch determines how well a driver sleeps by measuring wrist movement and therefore how long it takes before the driver is too tired to drive. The trucks will also have recorders that tell how many hours and miles the truck has been driven, which can indicate when is driver is likely to tire. Todd Spencer of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the recorders amount to illegal surveillance. ``The whole idea is outrageous on its face,'' Spencer said. Spencer said the real problem is truckers' schedules, which are set by manufacturers and shippers. Grace said that his device would cost $300 to $400 to produce, making it the least expensive of the five devices to market. The most expensive unit would cost around $1,200, and it measures fatigue by how often the rig weaves out of the traffic lane, he said. Gary Richard, senior safety specialist for Pitt Ohio Express, said drivers were slow to accept the new equipment. ``It was hard sell at first,'' Richard said. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that 155 people die and 20,000 others are hurt in accidents caused by commercial drivers who are sleepy. The CMU group and the University of Pennsylvania have been studying driver drowsiness for several years. Grace said the most dangerous period for drivers is between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. because people are most sleepy. For a well-rested driver, nodding off takes about an hour and a half, Grace said. ``What we'd like to do is intervene early in that process,'' Grace said. AP-NY-04-28-00 1510EDT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Appalachian Trash, Kentucky tries to clean up the trash MIRACLE, Ky. (AP) _ Junked cars line many of eastern Kentucky's creekbeds. Illegal dumps with milk jugs, dead animals and rusted appliances dot the mountainsides. Raw sewage straight from thousands of homes spills from pipes into streams. Some fear that the despoilment of Kentucky's creeks and hollows discourages companies from moving into the job-scarce Appalachian region, turns off tourists and reinforces Kentucky's hillbilly image. But now the state is attacking the problem in some sophisticated ways, including the use of video and the Internet. A program started in 1997 and called PRIDE: Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment has secured nearly $70 million and put the money toward such things as surveillance cameras hidden in the grass at illegal dump sites, a garbage-collecting skimmer boat at a notoriously trashy lake, and a revolving loan fund that has dispensed $3.5 million to help residents pay for septic systems. PRIDE _ a local, state and federal project _ is also cleaning up the dumps and catching and punishing violators. Kentucky's 3,000 or so illegal dumps are concentrated in the state's eastern region, and the 40-county area has about 32,000 houses with failed septic systems or straight pipes, so-called because they carry sewage straight from homes to creeks. ``This state that we find ourselves in evolved over a 50-year period,'' said state Natural Resources Secretary James Bickford, who helped create PRIDE with Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky. ``It's awfully hard to get it cleaned up in three or four years.'' Finishing the job will require some cultural changes. Kentucky's mountain folk historically have been self-sustaining people. Their garbage was primarily biodegradable or easily burned. The mountainous terrain made sewer lines difficult and expensive to install, and hastily built coal company towns were constructed with flimsy infrastructure. Until 20 years ago, trash service was rare if not unheard of in eastern Kentucky. Modern highways and other changes opened up the area. And now the garbage coming out of rural households looks like urban trash _ disposable diapers, soda cans, pizza boxes. But people continue to dump garbage illegally and use straight pipes. The behavior is passed onto children. One of the most disturbing things caught on the undercover videos is adults who take their children with them to toss trash over a hillside, said Jeff Speaks, executive director of PRIDE. ``Kids pick that up,'' Speaks said. ``They see their parents doing it and it leads them to do it.'' As a result, PRIDE has distributed more than a half-million dollars in grants to help teach youngsters about recycling and the environment. In addition to using hidden cameras, the state tries to identify violators by posting pictures on the Internet of those caught in the act. So far, no one has been identified this way. Since late 1996, 2,303 citations have been handed out to violators. Violators must collect four tons of garbage, pay a $1,000 fine and prepay for two years of trash collection where it is available. Bickford assistant Richard Thomas said the state has yet to catch a repeat offender on video. ``It seems like an uphill battle, but we're making progress,'' he said. Curtis Meyers, a Floyd County resident, spent two weeks last summer driving a borrowed pickup and collecting old appliances to fulfill his four-ton requirement. He said he got caught on video tossing animal carcasses over an embankment already littered with garbage. ``They were just dead animals,'' he said. ``I didn't think there'd be anything wrong with just throwing them out up there.'' Gov. Paul Patton recently backed legislation requiring curbside trash service for every Kentucky household and placing a deposit on bottles to ease the burden on poor counties. But the measure failed, partly because some legislators said it was unfair for residents statewide to bear the burden of paying for eastern Kentucky's trash problems. Partly because of PRIDE, most of the illegal dumps are out of view from the main thoroughfares, and roadside litter has decreased. Straight pipes are slowly disappearing. ``The stereotype of a `hillbilly' is no personal pride in themselves and their surroundings,'' Speaks said. ``And we're showing through the cleanup efforts and through the things we're doing that yes, eastern Kentucky and the people of eastern Kentucky have a tremendous sense of pride, and that's being re-established.'' On the Net: Kentucky Natural Resources Cabinet: PRIDE: Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press 04/27/2000 22:00:04 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Quebec to try photo radar after 10 per cent increase in road deaths QUEBEC (CP) Quebec Transport Minister Guy Chevrette plans to bring photo radar to the province's roads after the number of fatal car accidents rose more than 10 per cent last year. Road fatalities increased by 10.6 per cent in 1999, bringing the total number of deaths up from 686 to 759, the government said. Chevrette, who has hinted at the controversial move before, responded to the numbers Thursday by promising to table legislation introducing photo radar on an experimental basis. Photo radar is already used in British Columbia and Alberta, where it has met much opposition. In Ontario, it was introduced by the former New Democratic government but quickly scrapped when the Conservatives took office in 1995. A Vancouver-area businessman is challenging the constitutionality of photo radar and will argue his case before the B.C. Court of Appeal. He says photo radar violates the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The Quebec government hopes the technology will help decrease the number of road casualties by catching speeding drivers in the act. Cameras will be installed on stretches of road where motorists tend to drive at excessive speeds and police surveillance is difficult. The increase in fatal road accidents breaks a longtime trend which saw the number of such deaths steadily decrease since 1973. Chevrette, who also plans to restrict the use of in-line skates and introduce new public-awareness campaigns for drivers, blamed the rise in part on the weather. ``The spring of 1999 was long and beautiful and there was a 19 per cent increase in accidents,'' he said. AP-NY-04-27-00 2134EDT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Are You Being Watched? (AnchorDesk) By 104 After having the chance to play with surveillance cameras that can fit in the palm of your hand and others that can be encased in an average LCD alarm clock, I'm a little nervous about how easy and inexpensive it is to record actions in total anonymity. After I saw the alarm clock/hidden camera device, I made sure to check the clock in my hotel room very carefully. Because these devices transmit images wirelessly, you really have no way of knowing. It wouldn't take much for a psychotic landlord to install a camera and record your every move from a safe distance. Are you sure that red flashing light in your smoke detector is nothing more than a battery indicator? I recently had the chance to play with X10's XCam2. With a price tag of $79 and the ability to transmit color video and sound to a TV or VCR up to 100 feet away, this is a cheap, easy all-in-one surveillance system. It comes with everything you need. It's really tiny and can be up and running in minutes, and you don't have to be an A/V specialist to do so. That's scary. Click for more. Just as easy to set up, but considerably more expensive, is the alarm clock with hidden camera at a cost of about $750. While the picture quality is much better, it doesn't transmit audio. I'm told that the wireless transmission of audio and video together is illegal. Don't know how X10 gets away with it, if in fact that's true. Remember the smoke detector question? Along with the alarm clock sent to Equip, came a smoke detector camera with an infrared illuminator for capturing activity in the dark and a motion detector camera. Click for more. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Cameras to watch for crime along Canada's longest street By Tanya Ho TORONTO (CP) The long arm of the law will soon be strengthening its grip along the longest street in Canada. Toronto's police chief wants to install surveillance cameras on Yonge Street at the corner of Dundas, a busy intersection in the heart of Canada's largest city police say will soon be a modest version of New York's Times Square. The cameras are intended to catch criminals in the act, with their lenses transmitting closed-circuit television images of robberies, drug deals, shootings, assaults and other street crimes to police headquarters. Toronto wouldn't be the first city to attempt to capture street crime on camera. Cameras are already in place in many U.S. cities and they're a fixture in some parts of Britain, including London, Leeds and Glasgow. In Ontario, Sudbury police have been using the cameras for four years, while the police services board in London, Ont. approved a plan last April to install cameras downtown. Winnipeg police will be erecting the tell-all monitors on downtown streets by year's end. ``There's proof from American cities that cameras have deterred crime, assisted in detecting offenders and making arrests,'' says Winnipeg police Const. Bob Johnson. A police department report says police in Gloucester, England, reported an 80 per cent reduction in crime after the installation of their system. In Baltimore, Md., police reported a 50 per cent drop, and in Sudbury there was a 40 per cent reduction in crime where cameras were mounted. Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino announced his intention to monitor downtown pedestrians with cameras this week after business owners demanded greater police presence in the heart of Toronto. Last month, a man was shot in the leg in front of an HMV record store while hundreds of young fans gathered for an afternoon autograph session with the boy group 'N Sync. But despite the apparent success of the cameras in cutting crime, critics say they are too intrusive. ``Why do we need a picture of a couple kissing on Yonge Street?'' said Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman. ``If you want to get rid of the drug pushers, maybe.'' Alan Borovoy, head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says police have no business using TV cameras to monitor pedestians in public places. ``Citizens in a free country should have a presumptive right to get lost,'' he said. ``We should be able to wander around without a government keeping tabs on us.'' Decisions of this kind should not be unilaterally made by police, Borovoy adds. The public or their elected officials deserve a say on who is allowed to watch them. What happens to the police videotape whether it's thrown out or kept is another privacy concern, says Borovoy. The first camera, costing about $5,000, was installed in Sudbury, Ont. in 1996, and there are now three more cameras monitoring downtown streets, says Sgt. Loretta Ronchin, spokeswoman for Sudbury police. The people who monitor the cameras are located in the same building as dispatchers so little time is lost in sending police to the scene once crimes are witnessed, says Ronchin. The public was ``very welcoming'' of the initiative, she says, adding that ``people feel safer on the streets.'' An independent study, conducted by KPMG and due in May, will show whether downtown crime has decreased more than in surrounding areas that don't have cameras, says Ronchin. Copyright (c) 2000 The Canadian Press 04-19-00 1932EDT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ --- Cameras To Watch For Crime Along Canada's Longest Street TORONTO (AP) The long arm of the law will soon be strengthening its grip along the longest street in Canada. Toronto's police chief wants to install surveillance cameras on Yonge Street at the corner of Dundas, a busy intersection in the heart of Canada's largest city that police say will soon be a modest version of New York's Times Square. The cameras are intended to catch criminals in the act, with their lenses transmitting closed-circuit television images of robberies, drug deals, shootings, assaults and other street crimes to police headquarters. Cameras are already in place in many U.S. cities and they're a fixture in some parts of Britain, including London, Leeds and Glasgow. In Ontario, Sudbury police have been using the cameras for four years, while the police services board in London, Ontario, approved a plan last April to install cameras downtown. Winnipeg police will be erecting the monitors on downtown streets by year end. 04/19/2000 22:50:13 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ County Cracks Down On Red-Light Runners; First Camera Installed Along Route 301 The Washington Post via Dow Jones Publication Date: Thursday April 20, 2000 PG Extra; Page M03 Copyright 2000, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved By Paul Schwartzman Washington Post Staff Writer County officials this week are launching a crackdown on motorists who drive through red lights, installing a camera at a notoriously dangerous crossroads in Bowie. The corner of U.S. Route 301 and Pointer Ridge Road is the first of 60 county intersections that police will target under the red light camera program. County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) was scheduled to release details of the plan today. The Prince George's intersections will be among 150 in at least 14 municipalities in the Washington area under camera surveillance. More than 280,000 motorists have received tickets carrying more than $19 million in fines. "You can't have a police officer at every corner, and the cameras are a proven deterrent," said council member M.H. Jim Estepp (D-Croom), who introduced legislation last year authorizing the county to install the cameras. The owner of a car caught on camera running a Prince George's light will receive an automatic $75 fine, Estepp said. The camera takes two pictures: one just before the vehicle crosses the stop line, the second as it enters the intersection. After the film is collected and processed, technicians can focus in on the license plate. "You don't get points; it is the person whom the car is registered to" who is fined, Estepp said. "You should know who you're giving your car to." Some motorists and politicians have complained that the cameras evoke images of Big Brother. Still, there's ample evidence that they encourage drivers to hit the brakes before they violate the law. After the District installed a camera, the number of red light violations at New York Avenue and Fourth Street NW declined by 86 percent from August to February. Two other District intersections where the cameras were placed have registered decreases in red light violations of at least 70 percent. The cameras are generating steady revenue for a number of area jurisdictions. Howard County has issued 46,000 tickets and collected $3.4 million in fines since it installed 24 cameras in February 1998. Alexandria has collected $1.4 million since November 1997. And Fairfax County has collected $1.2 million after handing out nearly 25,000 tickets since July 1997. The Route 301 corridor became the focus of concern among public safety officials after the annual number of traffic fatalities on the road jumped from three to 11 from 1997 to 1998. One of the worst accidents occurred in 1995, when four elderly people were killed after a tractor-trailer crashed into the back of their Chevrolet van as they waited for a red light. Prosecutors eventually dropped manslaughter charges against the driver of the tractor-trailer after doctors concluded that he had a sleep disorder that may have prevented him from staying awake at the wheel. In another incident, an off-duty Prince George's police officer struck and killed a 55-year-old man in 1998 as he crossed the intersection at night. "There have been a number of accidents there, some of them fatal, so it's as good a choice as any for putting a camera," Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said. "As the traffic has increased over time, so has the speed, and things have just gotten worse." The installation of the camera is part of an ongoing effort to improve safety on Route 301. In the past year, at a number of intersections, highway officials have replaced traffic lights that are encased in yellow boxes with black boxes to heighten the definition of the green and red. Robinson and County Council member Audrey E. Scott (R-Bowie) said they will lobby for the county to place a camera at the intersection of Routes 301 and 197, which they also consider dangerous. "Hopefully, it will do what it's supposed to do, which is to slow people down," Scott said. (END) 02:29 EDT April 20, 2000 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Supermarkets Count Cost of Customers, Workers Eating Unpaid Merchandise By Repps Hudson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Apr. 17--You can see them in the produce section of almost every supermarket: A woman sampling the grapes, a student munching strawberries, teen-agers snitching candy from the bulk bins. In some stores, a customer can take what he or she wants from the salad bar, then have a seat at a nearby table and eat lunch. For the store, the only drawback is that it charges for salad by weight, which means the customer should take it through the checkout first, then eat it. Some, however, eat first, then may try to pay. If the customer doesn't pay for the salad, the cost becomes part of what the retail industry calls shrinkage: the overhead of lost, stolen, broken, shorted and eaten merchandise. "I've seen people come in here and pick up a banana, then tear off some grapes and eat them as they walk through the store," said a produce clerk at a local supermarket chain. "About 2 a.m., you can hear the (candy bin) doors banging when they come in here to eat. It really gets bad on weekends. The store won't do anything about it because they don't want the bad publicity. "Sometimes, a customer will eat a banana and take the skin up to the checkout counter and say, 'Here, I ate this.' The clerk can't do anything because they have to weigh the banana," the clerk said late one night. While eating one's way through the supermarket may seem like a serious problem for the bottom line, supermarket officials and industry observers say that's new potatoes compared to theft by employees. Nationally, the retail food industry had sales of $220 billion last year while losses were about 2.2 percent or $4.84 billion. Marie McGeehan, spokeswoman for Schnuck Markets Inc., the largest local chain, said the company believes customers snacking on produce, bulk candies and breads and pastries "is a major problem." "It's significant," she said, but declined to reveal details. "The losses are covered in the prices we charge our customers." Virgil Moulton, a security consultant for supermarkets, drug stores, hardware chains and mall discount stores, said that more than half of a typical store's losses can be traced to employees. The National Supermarket Research Group puts employee theft at 54 percent of all grocery store losses, with shoplifting at 26 percent. Moulton estimated employee theft at more like 70 percent. Watching employees as they stock shelves, work in the storeroom and check out customers are a main focus of retail stores' automatic video surveillance systems, whether it's a supermarket or a discount department store. "About 10 percent (of employees) are 100 percent honest, no matter what," said Moulton, a sales representative for Associated Engineered Systems Inc., of Hazelwood. "Then you have the totally dishonest ones; they're 5 percent. So 85 percent are basically honest. But if they have need, justification and opportunity, they can find a reason to steal." Telephone calls to Nick J. Torpea, president of Local 655 of the United Food & and Commercial Workers, which represents many retail grocery clerks, were not returned last week. Matt Lemieux, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said that as long as a store owner does not place surveillance cameras in areas where employees expect privacy, such as a restroom, no civil rights are being violated. Employee rights, Lemieux said, are limited in this area because the work is in the private domain. The ACLU would like to see states enact laws that require employers to warn or notify employees that they are being watched and can be prosecuted for stealing or "sweethearting" friends by giving charging them less for items as the checkout counter, Lemieux said. As he sees it, Moulton's job is "to harden the target." Usually that means adding closed-circuit TV cameras throughout the store and in the storeroom. It's very important, Moulton said, to position cameras on front and back doors, both to watch and to warn. "We're more interested in deterring someone" than in having to go to the trouble of prosecuting," said Dave O'Neil, co-owner of O'Neil Markets Inc., which operates six area Food For Less supermarkets. When O'Neil was asked how to cut down on shrinkage from theft, from inside and outside the store, he quickly replied: "The best security is having alert employees." Some stores want the customers and employees to know they're being videotaped from the instant they enter until they leave. Others hide their cameras. Some stores position cameras inside exit signs, clocks, water sprinklers or vents. Others conceal them in dark half-spheres spaced across the ceiling. If you know what those smoky bubbles are, you can pretty well bet you're on camera as you browse or shop. The cameras can be controlled from control panels, where the monitors are located. On command, cameras can pan, turn and zoom in on a theft in progress or the hands of a suspicious checkout clerk. In O'Neil's Food For Less at 8020A Olive Boulevard in University City, the manager can watch the entire store with 16 cameras. Many are mounted in the ceiling behind dark half-spheres. The previous store at the site, Price Chopper, reportedly closed because of shrinkage. When the present store opened there nearly six years ago, O'Neil Markets spent about $20,000 to install its video surveillance system. Today, Dave O'Neil estimates his total shrinkage at 1.5 percent of sales, while the national average is slightly more than 2 percent, according to the National Supermarket Research Group. Officials at local chains such as Schnucks and Dierbergs Markets declined to discuss the details of their security systems; nor would they discuss shrinkage, a number that can affect competition. Steve Radcliff, director of risk reduction for Dierbergs, issued a one-sentence statement authorized by Bob Dierberg, company president: "Dierbergs acknowledges that it uses technology to detect and monitor shrinkage." At the new Wal-Mart in Chesterfield Valley, the cameras are suspended from metal rods. In many stores, the spherical covers may hide a camera -- or they may not. Wal-Mart officials would not discuss details of its security system, but the kindly looking older men and women who greet customers at the door are known to be on the lookout for undesirable customers. "She's there to let you know that she knows you're there," said Moulton, whose firm has installed security systems in Wal-Mart stores, as well as those of Value City, Sears, Kohl's, Target and Home Depot. Black-and-white cameras cost about $850 each, which includes the wiring run into a panel of monitors that can be installed in a special room or the manager's office. For color, the cost goes to $1,000 each. Surveillance technology today allows "text insertion," the coordination of cash register transactions with what's recorded on video film from a camera focused on a cashier. If a cashier is sweethearting a friend or making repeated errors, the text insertion becomes the evidence. "We can interface with the cash register," said Richard Haselhorst, head of Associated Engineered Systems. "There's no way you can fool that system." While the cameras may make some employees and customers feel that they are being spied upon, Moulton said they have several other purposes. "If the store uses the system only for loss prevention, it's wasting 80 percent of the potential," he said. Well-monitored surveillance cameras show customer jams in aisles, situations like wet spills that could cause accidents and backups at checkout lines. Sometimes, a camera can be used to spot an employee who's being helpful to a customer -- and thus worthy of a compliment from the manager. "A good system is also a management tool," Moulton said. ----- To see more of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to (c) 2000, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. 04/18/2000 17:16:42 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Livery Cab Concerns, Seven murders of livery drivers have industry concerned NEW YORK (AP) _ Livery cab driver Juan Marical knows it's against the law for him to pick up passengers on the street _ he's only supposed to pick up fares called in from his dispatcher. But to make more money, Marical, like scores of other livery cab drivers, does pick up street fares, something only yellow cab drivers are allowed to do. But Marical is getting more cautious. ``If you look suspicious, forget it,'' Marical said on Monday as he slowed down to check out a passenger hailing him in Brooklyn. A recent spate of livery cab murders has Marical and more than 41,000 livery drivers scared. So far this year, seven livery cab drivers have been murdered _ two in the past week. Last year, 11 were killed. The police have made solving the murders a top priority _ there's been an arrest in only one case. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has expressed his outrage, and has pledged $5 million in a grant program to help equip livery cars with bulletproof partitions or digital security cameras. At a City Council hearing Monday to address the safety concerns of livery drivers, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Scanlon said six of the seven murders resulted from street hails, and he urged drivers to avoid such passengers. Only yellow cab drivers can pick up street fares, and although by law they must take passengers in all five boroughs, they stick to the relatively safe streets of Manhattan, making the need for livery drivers all the more pressing in the outlying boroughs. ``Because of the conditions of the job itself _ cash oriented, solo operated, evening hours _ (livery) drivers are especially vulnerable to criminals who would prey on them,'' Scanlon said. Anna Maria Estrella agreed. Her husband, Luis Francisco Perez, was the sixth cab driver killed this year _ he was found in his cab last Friday with a gunshot wound to his head, two days shy of his 30th birthday. On Saturday, the seventh driver, Jean Scutt, was killed. ``I said it's dangerous for you,'' Estrella said as she held their 16-month-old son, Liully. ``I'm waiting every night for you. But he would never think that anything would happen to him.'' Giuliani announced Monday that the city will be setting up a fund to help the families of the slain drivers. In addition, the police department has created a special task force, assigning 300 officers to protect livery drivers. Some cops will act as decoy drivers and there will be designated safe zones where drivers in trouble can go if they need help. But Scanlon stressed the best protection for the drivers is the bulletproof partition. Taxi and Limousine Commission rules require all yellow cabs and livery cars operated and owned by more than one driver to have the partitions. Police stress that no yellow cab drivers have been killed since 1997. But cars owned and driven by individual drivers _ which make up 90 percent of all livery cars _ can have either the partitions or tiny surveillance cameras installed behind the driver's rearview mirror. However, many livery drivers say it's too expensive to equip their cars with partitions, which cost between $250 to $300, or the cameras, costing from $600 to $800. Even with the security devices, the job is still pretty dangerous, said Jose Vinoria, a driver for 12 years. ``I've been attacked three times _ once, someone put a gun to the back of my head,'' Vinoria said. So why do people become livery drivers? ``It's not because it's a very good job,'' Vinoria said. ``You have a time when you have to pay your bills. And in this job, you can be your own boss. You can work as much overtime as you need.'' The dangers of cab driving are not new. Scanlon said the NYPD has been battling violence against cab drivers for years. Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, said at least a dozen cab drivers are attacked each day. ``This is the most dangerous industry in the city,'' Mateo said. Driving a cab was listed as one of the most dangerous jobs nationwide in a 1996 survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health. AP-NY-04-17-00 1750EDT ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Gilmore Vetoes Cameras at Intersections The Washington Post via Dow Jones Publication Date: Wednesday April 12, 2000 Prince William Extra; Page V03 Copyright 2000, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved By Josh White Washington Post Staff Writer A bill that would have allowed Prince William County and Manassas and Manassas Park to install cameras at intersections to catch red-light runners was vetoed by Gov. James S. Gilmore III this week, disappointing law enforcement officials who had hoped the technology would improve safety. Gilmore (R) vetoed the bill and 15 others Monday. The move may end a drive by local legislators and law enforcement officials to obtain the red-light technology, which has become popular in other Northern Virginia jurisdictions over the past three years. Gilmore said he was concerned that such cameras might violate motorists' freedom. "Using cameras . . . in the open streets raises a serious concern regarding individual freedom," Gilmore said. Such surveillance would "require our citizens to become further accustomed to being watched by government authorities." The bill sailed through the Senate without opposition and narrowly made it out of the House of Delegates, by 52 to 44, after a similar measure was defeated there in early February. The bill would have granted Prince William area law enforcement agencies the ability to use photo-monitoring systems to catch red-light runners, something Alexandria and Fairfax City have been using for a few years. Such devices typically use sensors to detect when a vehicle has crossed into an intersection after the light has changed to red and then photograph the violating vehicle. The vehicle is identified by its license plate, and a ticket is sent to its owner. Law enforcement officials have said the technology promotes safety at intersections, providing a strong and reliable deterrent. That, officials say, translates into safer intersections by cutting down on collisions. Manassas Police Chief John J. Skinner, who first brought red-light enforcement technology to Northern Virginia in summer 1997 when he was police chief in the City of Fairfax, said he was "very disappointed in the governor's position." "I feel that photo red-light technology enforcement has played a very vital role in enforcement of different selective traffic issues in the more urban areas of Northern Virginia," Skinner said after learning of the veto. "I am also concerned that the governor may be receiving some incorrect information with respect to the legalities of a motorist's expectation of privacy upon the public highways. In short, to operate a motor vehicle upon our public streets and highways is a privilege with a considerably diminished expectation of privacy." Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said that he was quite disappointed, and that he had planned to put the photo-red technology to use at busy intersections, particularly along the Prince William Parkway. Deane said the "higher-speed, high-volume" intersections are especially dangerous when motorists run red lights, often resulting in high-speed collisions. "Everything I've read about the experiences of other jurisdictions has shown that there has been a decline in red-light violations where the cameras have been in place," Deane said. "That translates into fewer deaths and injuries. I still support and will continue to advocate that we obtain the authority to use the cameras." (END) 02:39 EDT April 12, 2000 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Council OKs Plan to Install Cameras at 16 Intersections Los Angeles Times via Dow Jones Publication Date: Saturday April 8, 2000 Page B-1 Los Angeles Times (Valley Edition) Copyright 2000 / The Times Mirror Company By PATRICK McGREEVY TIMES STAFF WRITER Despite objections that the program is an intrusion by Big Brother, the City Council agreed Friday to begin installing cameras at Los Angeles intersections to automatically photograph and cite motorists who run red lights. Citing an alarming number of deadly accidents, the council voted 10 to 2 to authorize a contract with Lockheed Martin IMS to install cameras at 16 city intersections--including four in the San Fernando Valley--as part of a three-year test program to see if the program saves lives. Councilwoman Laura Chick said similar systems are in operation in dozens of cities around the world, including Beverly Hills and Oxnard, locally. In many cities where the system has been employed, red-light violations at targeted intersections have declined by as much as 50%. "The results everywhere it is used are very dramatic," Chick said. "Auto collisions are radically reduced. Lives are saved." Nationwide, each year, there are 260,000 crashes and 750 people killed by motorists running red lights, Chick said. There were 181 fatal traffic accidents in Los Angeles last year, including 67 in the Valley, LAPD officials said, adding that about 22% of fatal accidents occur in intersections. "It's one of our major causes of accidents where people are killed or seriously injured," said Lt. Ron Tingle of the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division. Cameras are to be installed at one intersection in each of the city's four geographic police patrol bureaus by July 1 and three more in each bureau by year-end. Camera Overlooks Busy Intersection The device, housed in a box on a pole overlooking the intersection, is automatically triggered when a vehicle enters an intersection against a red light. Cars that enter an intersection to make a turn when the light is green or yellow, but who get stuck in the intersection when the light turns red, would not trigger the camera. The resulting photo shows the vehicle's license plate and the driver's face. The LAPD then submits the license plate number to the state Department of Motor Vehicles to identify the vehicle owner, who is sent a citation carrying a fine of $271. Lockheed Martin IMS gets a fee of $60 for every paid citation, said Glen Ogura of the city Department of Transportation. Based on experience with a similar system in Beverly Hills, city officials expect to get photographs of about 800 red-light runners per month from each camera, of which about 40% will result in citations, Ogura said. Some photos will not result in citations, because the license plate or driver's face is not identifiable. The city estimates it will net about $3.5 million in the program's first year. "It's a tool that has been effectively utilized in other cities to deal with those scofflaws who are running red lights, " said Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski. "They are more than just scofflaws, because running a red light is not just a violation of the law, but it is putting the driver in danger and it is putting the rest of the community at danger." Although agreeing that people who run red lights are a danger, Councilwoman Rita Walters voted against the program. "I guess I'm old-fashioned in thinking that there is still a presumption of privacy in one's car," Walters said. "I just really do not like the Big Brother overtones that this has, the invasion of that privacy." Walters wondered whether similar cameras might be put up in the future to record other actions of people. Other council members voiced similar concerns about widespread government surveillance but said photographing a violating motorist's face is not an invasion of privacy. Chick disputed that the cameras are an unreasonable intrusion. "Frankly, it's a bit of a myth that photo red-light systems are an impersonal Big Brother approach to traffic," Chick said. "In fact, driving is not a right, it's a privilege, and it's done on the public right of way. These pictures are not taken until a car has entered the intersection after a light has turned red." The LAPD has not yet decided which 16 intersections will get cameras. The police have identified those with the most volume and most accidents, but city engineers are now determining which ones are best-suited for cameras. City officials refused to release the complete list of 35 candidate intersections being studied, because some will be dropped. Valley Trouble Spots Considered In the Valley, one of the first cameras may be installed somewhere along Sherman Way, which is "the No. 1 traffic collision corridor in the Valley," LAPD Sgt. John Gambill said. Many accidents have occurred on Sherman Way, at its intersections with White Oak Avenue and Reseda and Sepulveda boulevards, he said. Other Valley locations being considered are the intersections of Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards; Burbank and Reseda boulevards; and Balboa and Roscoe boulevards, Gambill said. Also being studied are the intersections of Figueroa Street and Imperial Highway in South Central Los Angeles; Lorena Street and Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles; La Brea Avenue and Rodeo Road in the Mid City area; and La Brea Avenue and 6th Street, officials said. (END) 06:48 EDT April 8, 2000 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) via NewsEdge Corporation -- PULNiX America, Inc. announces the latest addition to its innovative industrial camera line, the PULNIX TM-1020 very high-resolution, high-speed monochrome 1" progressive scan CCD camera. The 1024(H) x 1024(V) interline type progressive scan CCD permits full vertical and horizontal resolution of very high-speed shutter images. The electronic shutter, which has speeds to 1/16,000 sec., can be reset asynchronously by external pulse control. The TM-1020 is available in both 15 and 30 frames per second models. A square imager format with uniform square pixels provides superior image definition in any orientation. On-chip micro lenses mean increased sensitivity. The TM-1020 has a full dynamic range control function, which can be set at externally selectable knee slopes to optimize CCD's full dynamic range in the normal output signal range. The camera has an 8-bit, RS-644 (LVDS format of RS-422) digital signal output for interfacing with external image processing systems. Special interface cables are available for connecting the TM-1020 directly to many existing commercial frame grabbers. The TM-1020 features maximum dynamic range control with built-in look-up table (Gamma, knee, user parameters). The progressive scan imager permits a full frame of resolution in non-interlace forma, partial scan and two row bining. The smaller, lightweight housing has a High-rel connector. All the key functions are externally controlled via RS-232C. The TM-1020 has a pixel clock locking PLL for multi-camera operation, which requires exact data and clock phases from each camera (optional). Applications for the TM-1020 include machine vision, medical imaging, intelligent transportation systems, high definition graphics, on-line inspection, gauging, character reading, archiving, and high security surveillance. Information about PULNiX America and is products is available on the World Wide Web at 04-03-00, 16:00 Eastern ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Viisage to Announce a Family of Five New Facial Recognition Products At CardTech/SecurTech Conference LITTLETON, Mass., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Viisage Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VISG), a leader in enabling e-commerce through facial recognition biometrics technology and in providing identification systems and solutions, today announced that they will announce and showcase a family of five new facial recognition products at the CardTech/SecurTech Conference. The conference will be held in Miami, May 1-4, 2000. CardTech/SecurTech promotes the advancement of card, biometric and transaction security technologies through educational and networking programs for professionals at every level of expertise. With its 1,000-booth exhibition and acclaimed 200-speaker seminar program it is the world's premier conference covering the technical, marketing and business aspects of card and biometric security technologies. Viisage President and CEO, Tom Colatosti, said, "Biometrics is a huge emerging market. Viisage's reliable non-invasive and cost-effective facial recognition technology, originally developed at MIT, is widely recognized for its leadership in real-time and large database applications. With these product announcements, Viisage is well positioned to meet one of the important concerns and challenges to e-commerce and the Internet -- privacy, security and convenience." FaceCheck(TM) Viisage's FaceCheck(TM) products meet the demands for a modern surveillance identification solution. Facial Recognition provides the non-intrusive and discreet capability for surveillance applications. Viisage's patented real-time video technology scans crowds of people and matches individuals to selected faces previously stored in an image database. Customers, such as casinos, domestic and international airports, military bases and government buildings have a crucial need to identify suspects either from long distance or large crowds. Viisage provides these security conscious customers with the tools to identify known threats before trouble occurs. FaceExplorer(TM) Viisage's FaceExplorer(TM) products meet the challenges for large image database research. As the world's leader in the development and delivery of Facial Recognition systems, Viisage continues to push the technical envelope to manage large image databases. Facial Recognition provides the ability to reduce fraud and crime by identifying duplicate images in large databases, such as licensed drivers, benefit recipients, missing children and immigration. Additionally, law enforcement can now match images and computer composites against image databases to identify suspects and known criminals. Enterprise customers are now equipped with the capability to verify identities and reduce fraud by effectively retrieving, managing and analyzing their image databases. Viisage is deploying the world's first large-scale driver's license facial recognition system in the state of Illinois. This system provides both duplicate identity fraud reduction and identity investigation capabilities. When fully deployed the system will contain up to 20 million images with the ability to retrieve images within seconds. FacePass(TM) Every locked door is an opportunity for convenient and authorized access using Viisage's FacePass(TM) system. Physical access control currently has a ubiquitous set of escort devices, such as magnetic cards, PIN numbers and electronic keys to access office buildings, dormitories and homes. The security problem with all these devices is their propensity to be lost or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Face replaces PINs and intrusive biometrics with an affordable, reliable and sanitary solution. No longer is it necessary to carry something that can be lost, remember something that can be forgotten or touch something handled by an entire community. FacePIN(TM) FacePIN(TM) provides both security and convenience for consumers and merchants. Consumers are currently accustomed to being recognized by their face at retail locations by providing merchants with a driver's license or other form of photo ID verification. In sharp contrast to today's widely used signature verification process, which is highly unreliable and cannot be accurately determined by unskilled and untrained clerks, Facial Recognition makes verification reliable, automatic and fast. In banking FacePIN(TM) uses already installed ATM cameras to recognize and verify customer identities so the financial transaction can be quickly and effortlessly conducted. Soon, Face Recognition technology will have consumers remembering PINs as a strange, odd activity. FaceNet(TM) The burden of trying to remember a myriad of Internet passwords and User names may be a thing of the past. The growth of e-commerce across the Internet has accelerated the need for better security solutions. Both B2C and B2B financial transactions require secure authenticity between parties. Currently, solutions include a combination of public/private key encryption and digital ID certificates. These solutions include encryption technology, such as 128-bit SSL and the reliance on trusted certification authorities. These are necessary elements, but they do not provide a comprehensive solution. Facial Recognition enables a convenient, easy to use and remember security solution. FaceNet(TM) can be used across numerous communication devices, including PCs, laptops, PDAs, cell phones and other new network appliance. Facial biometrics is the most cost-effective, convenient, non-intrusive method available for protection against Internet fraud and risks of lost or stolen Internet access devices. Viisage is the leader in enabling e-commerce with facial recognition biometrics technology and in providing digital identification systems and solutions. The Company focuses on identification solutions that improve personal convenience and security; deter fraud; and reduce identification program costs. Viisage combines its patented facial recognition technology, systems integration capability, software design expertise, proprietary products and other best-in-class products to create turnkey customized customer solutions. Applications include Internet, electronic and physical access control, real-time image identification and verification, drivers' licenses, voter registration, national IDs, law enforcement and social services. Domestically, Viisage products annually produce more than 20 million identification documents at more than 1,500 locations in 13 states. This news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements in this document and those made from time to time by the Company through its senior management are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements concerning future plans or results are necessarily only estimates and actual results could differ materially from expectations. Certain factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among other things, potential fluctuations in quarterly results, the size and timing of award and performance on contracts, dependence on large contracts and a limited number of customers, lengthy sales and implementation cycles, changes in management estimates incident to accounting for contracts, availability and cost of key components, market acceptance of new or enhanced products and services, proprietary technology and changing technology, competitive conditions, system performance, management of growth, dependence on key personnel and general economic and political conditions and other factors affecting spending by customers. For more information on Viisage, via fax at no charge, dial 1-800-PRO-INFO and enter ticker symbol VISG. SOURCE Viisage Technology, Inc. -0- 04/03/2000 /CONTACT: Gretchen Lewis, Director of Marketing for Viisage Technology, Inc., 978-952-8219, or General Info., Doug DeLieto, or Analyst Info., Christie Mazurek, 212-661-8030, both of The Financial Relations Board/ Web site: / 04/03/2000 ++++++++++++ Canadian National Railway Project Will Ease U.S. Customs Inspections and Traffic Delays PR News Wire via Dow Jones PORT HURON, Mich., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Canadian National Railway will complete by mid-April a $200,000 project here to speed U.S. Customs clearance of rail freight and lessen delays for motorists. By making it easier for U.S. Customs to inspect intermodal rail cars, the project will help prevent blocking of crossings near the St. Clair Rail Tunnel when rail cars are switched out for inspection. The improvements include 1,100 feet of new track, a lift machine to quickly remove U.S. Customs selected containers or trailers from the train for inspection, and enhancements to the existing U.S. Customs' surveillance camera system. The Port Huron project is part of a one million dollar federal funding allocation to improve train movements between the United States and Canada. Both Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) endorsed the application. Congressman David Bonior, with support from State Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow and the Michigan Department of Transportation, was instrumental in obtaining funding under the 1999 Borders and Corridors section of the Transportation Efficiency Act (TEA-21). CN and CP are providing 20% of the costs associated with these improvements in their respective locations. Both CN and CP have been working in partnership with U.S. Customs to expedite train movements at the border. As part of that effort, CN alone has spent more than $200,000 to install state-of-the-art crossing detection systems at Michigan, Griswold, Range, and Wadhams Roads in St. Clair County. A Borders and Corridors TEA-21 application for year 2000 is currently under review at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The application includes a funding request for either an overpass or underpass at Griswold Road in Port Huron. Canadian National Railway Company spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., and the key cities of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, St. Louis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. /CONTACT: Gloria Combe of Canadian National Railway, 248-740-6574/ 14:34 EDT 04/03/2000 14:34 EDT +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The red-light cameras work San Francisco Examiner, 04/02/00 SAN FRANCISCO officials have accumulated evidence to show that camer as poised to catch red-light runners in the act really do work to discourage law-breakers. One proof is in the numbers of accidents caused by motorists who lead-foot it through changing signals. These collisions dropped by 46 percent last year in the South of Market area targeted for first use of the cameras. Citywide, the decline in accidents involving red-light violations was nearly 14 percent. Surveillance cameras are in use at only nine intersections, but they augment other efforts against red-light running that include stepped-up police enforcement, heftier $271 fines and public education. Another indication of the cautionary effect the automatic cameras have on driving patterns is the trend of red-light violations at problem intersections, as counted by how many times the camera is triggered by an offender. These infractions shrank 80 percent at one trouble spot, Fifth and Howard streets, scene of the first camera installation in 1998. About half that reduction in red-light running was recorded at other camera locations, which is similar to the finding of 42 percent less red- light running in a Southern California study. So the surveillance cameras are worth The City's investment of equipment and labor. The cameras have provided the basis for issuing 15,800 tickets to accused red-light violators (many defendants beat the rap because of disputed identifications). Each camera costs $50,000. The City plans to have them at 36 locations in two years. Though it's impossible to say precisely how many accidents and potential fatalities the red-light cameras may have prevented, any help they provide in making San Francisco safer is desperately needed. The City is notorious for having the worst rate of pedestrian deaths in California. The 11th such fatality of 2000 occurred Tuesday night when a 68-year-old woman jogger was killed by a hit-and-run vehicle in the Marina. A surveillance camera might not have saved her - or the several victims at intersections lacking signals - but a generally calmer traffic atmosphere produced by determined enforcement, and greater public education efforts, would head off some similar tragedies waiting to happen. 04/03/2000 01:02:15 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++