- Associated Press - Monday, July 21, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The quality of footage from surveillance cameras installed around the city last year is not meeting industry standards, Little Rock police said.

The $500,000 Internet-based system’s cameras can record footage at 30 frames per second, but have been doing so at less than 12 frames per second, Lt. Casey Clark told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1n8Bc4X). The industry standard is 24 frames per second.

Police have positioned the 53 cameras according to crime trends and historical data, and the footage has helped police make numerous arrests, Clark said. Twenty cameras were installed around the city’s downtown River Market because of high pedestrian traffic.

But investigators weren’t able to use the blocky and disjointed footage captured by police cameras after someone fired a gun on July 9 in a crowded downtown area.

The shots were fired near a free movie screening at Riverfront Park - which 3,000 people attended - and police spokesman Lt. Sidney Allen said there was no “muzzle flash or any other clue that would identify a shooter” after the recording was released. Police said people ran after the gunfire, but that it was difficult to see from the footage which direction they fled. The group was also hidden by a tree. No arrests have been made.

Clark said the chances of recording a muzzle flash, which last miliseconds, are very low at the camera’s current frame rate.

Live footage is transmitted from the cameras to a central police server, and bandwidth availability can affect image quality.

The department is working to integrate the surveillance system with a citywide fiber-optic network - which operates the fastest - that was finished last month. While the cameras’ frame rates will likely increase, data usage is a concern for the cameras, which operate 24 hours a day.

“If you set the frame rate too high, then the data retention starts going off the chart and it eats up too much bandwidth,” Clark said. “It really is a balancing act.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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