North Shore Towers gets high-tech security demo

By Kathianne Boniello

Officials of Queens Borough Patrol North and South joined private security officers at a presentation Friday morning at the North Shore Towers apartment complex in Glen Oaks to introduce the latest in digital surveillance techniques to reduce crime.

About 100 people turned out for the annual Area Private Patrol Liaison, or A.P.P.L. meeting, which gave the makers of PCcam a chance to demonstrate their digital recording system.

Sgt. Gregg Reutter of Queens Borough Patrol North, which sponsored the meeting, told the audience the new technology “will simplify what you do out there.”

Timothy Irwin, president of the Illinois-based PCcam, said the system, which relies on a computer chip to record data digitally instead of on the traditional video tape, is compatible with any camera or security surveillance system.

“If you have a computer and you have a camera, you can get into this system for $1,500,” he said.

Police Chief James Tuller of Borough Patrol North said crime in the borough's northern precincts had dropped by 62 percent in the past seven years and Borough Patrol North was interested in anything which would help it decline further.

Police Chief Joseph Fox of Borough Patrol South also expressed interest in the new technology and its role in further reducing crime.

“It's amazing how driven we are by measuring success on a daily basis,” he said.

Queens Borough Patrol North includes the 104th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th police precincts under its jurisdiction. Queens Borough Patrol South covers the 100th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 105th, 106th, 107th and 113th precincts.

The system, Irwin said, would eliminate using video tapes and VCRs in security-monitoring systems and would allow the user to store months of information on a floppy disk.

The digital recording system, which the company is shopping around to municipalities, schools, hospitals, small businesses and apartment complexes, lets the user recall information by date and minute, and can be tailored to a user's specific needs, Irwin said.

Jim Talbot, chief executive officer of PCcam, said the digital recording system “doesn't record when there's no motion.”

For example, he said, if a camera connected to the system were trained on a security door, the camera would only record if the door were opened or if someone came into its range. That way there would not be empty images “chewing up your resources,” he said.

The system could also portion off a part of the image and ring an alarm if the motion detector were triggered in that area, he said.

“It's much more than a surveillance system,” Talbot said. “It's crime prevention.”

Reutter said the existence of digital recording meant less dependence on traditional surveillance equipment.

“We don't have to rely on video tapes with bad clarity,” he said, “or tapes that haven't been changed on time.

“Queens North is entering the millennium with the highest technology out there,” he said.