Thermal Imaging Helps Fresno State Stop Intruders

Since deploying a thermal imaging camera system at its football stadium in June, California State University, Fresno, officials have apprehended several trespassers in 10 intrusion incidents.

Fresno State recently installed a new artificial playing field at the university’s 41,031-seat Bulldog Stadium. In addition to protecting students and employees, university officials also sought to add greater return on investment (ROI) by reducing the uses of nighttime lights at the stadium.

“The stadium has been here for decades and we have already interrupted crimes by using Pelco cameras,” Fresno State Chief of Police David Huerta says. “Upon completion of the installation of the new field turf, we examined what we could do to protect it because on occasion, people would go in there and vandalize the field. So, in addition to adding fencing and locking to the stadium, we sought technology that would allow us to see what was going on during the evening.”

Huerta had some familiarity with thermal imaging technology and wanted to implement it at the campus. It helped that Pelco by Schneider Electric, which is located only a few miles away from the campus, was in the final stages of developing the Sarix TI thermal imaging cameras. The university and the manufacturer have been partners for years, so when Pelco representatives offered Fresno State the opportunity to test the new cameras, Huerta jumped at the chance.

“Our partnership with Pelco is a very strong one, and years ago we agreed that we would beta test technology for them. We didn’t even have to pay for the thermal imaging,” Huerta explains.

Huerta next contacted the university’s go-to integrator of 10 years, Integrated Electronics, to install two Sarix TI cameras in the stadium. Founded in 1999, Fresno, Calif.-based Integrated Electronics is an electrical contracting company that designs, installs and services access control, CCTV, intrusion detection, commucation and life-safety systems for the education and healthcare markets. The firm is also a Pelco by Schneider Electric value-added reseller.

The Sarix TI camera features a full sensor dynamic range and keeps the signal in the digital domain for all image and analytics processing rather than converting to an analog signal, Dave Stanfield, senior product marketing manager, Schneider Electric says. Additionally, the product comes equipped with camera analytics including adaptive motion, object counting, stopped vehicle, loitering detection and camera sabotage, which are customizable for a wide range of applications. Alarms can be integrated into the system and users can be alerted via E-mail with alerts, images and/or hardware alarms.

“Thermal imaging has been around for a while, and it has been moving into the commercial security market for some time,” Stanfield says. “It doesn’t require visible light, which is the main challenge for any visible light camera. But typically, costs have been prohibitive for thermal imaging cameras. The real power of this product is that it looks, feels and performs like a security camera. There is no complex integration; there is no putting together of parts. All an integrator has to do is pull the Cat-5 cable, apply power to it, plug in the camera and then the Endura enterprise-class video management system automatically recognizes the camera.”

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