The City of Miami Beach currently has a camera system consisting of 42 cameras. They are a highly effective tool in preventing, responding to, and investigating crimes. They are invaluable in providing an overview of traffic flow and also the monitoring of crowds during peak periods and special events e.g. Memorial Day Weekend. The Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) conducted several site surveys to establish the existing infrastructure pertinent to the camera requirements, and to identify additional requirements to establish the wider camera coverage required i.e. ‘cameras on every corner of the MXE District and on the beachwalk’.
As a result of the site surveys a preliminary plan was drawn up. Attachment ‘A’ is a complete map of the MXE District with existing and proposed cameras. The plan is broken down into three areas as shown below. Each of these has different challenges in terms of the power supply and existing infrastructure.
Ocean Drive / Lummus Park / Seawall (Attachment ‘B’)
The MBPD is currently in the process of revamping the Ocean Drive deployment of cameras – this is Phase 2 of the initial camera deployment. The older cameras are being replaced with newer cameras which will provide more extensive views and a greater coverage area. The older cameras will not be withdrawn from service but will be relocated to other locations that require cameras for traffic flow coverage.
The poles along the east side of Ocean Drive already have receptacles on them for holiday lighting – this provides power for cameras. However, the rest of the poles around Lummus Park and the Seawall area do not have this type of power infrastructure built in. The plan therefore includes this.
The Public Works Department currently has plans to upgrade all of the black decorative poles within Lummus Park for new poles which will have some additional lighting control features. The diagram of the new devices is included as Attachment ‘C’. A cost assessment will be done to add power receptacles and the provision of continuous power - these are essential to enable the operation of the proposed cameras. There are currently two white test poles at 9th Street and Lummus Park which have proved to be highly effective. There is also a backhaul point at the same location which the Parks Department and Public Works Department are working with Florida Power and Light (FPL) to get power restored to.
Collins Avenue (Attachment ‘D’)
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has changed most of the poles from 6th Street to 15th Street, and almost all of them have continuous power. The Public Works Department will be assisting with the poles on 5th Street and 16th Street north. Most of the intersections in the relevant section of Collins Avenue do not however have multiple street lights and, as such, only one camera can be used at each intersection as opposed to the target of two.
Washington Avenue (Attachment ‘E’)
This is probably by far the most complex corridor to deploy cameras to. Every pole from 5th Street to 16th Street is a decretive pole, does not have continuous power, the power voltage is 480v and they do not have receptacles. This will therefore require a great deal of work by the Public Works Department. Spun aluminum poles are located in the center median and act as access points to backhaul the data. However, the center median is not a good location for the cameras as the median is surrounded by palm trees and the poles are primarily 50-100 feet away from the intersections. The height of the current decorative poles on the sidewalks was also noted as an issue of concern as they are only as tall as Miami-Dade transit buses, and shorter than the double decker tour buses and semi-tractor trailers – this would create intermittent disruption to the data signal. This issue is addressed in the preliminary design of the project but a mock test should be conducted prior to full scale deployment.
Each camera costs between $5,000 and $6,000. This amount includes not just the camera, but also required ancillaries such as antennas, brackets, software licenses and other similar items. However, the hardware and basic installation are the least expensive part of the process. It is the infrastructure required to utilize the cameras, and to transfer the data provided by them, that represents the biggest challenge in terms of cost and execution. Of particular note is that, as the system expands, so does the requirement for the transfer of data. The transfer of data over radio waves will effectively multiply by a factor of 10 - the current system will simply not be able to cope with the increase. In addition, and as documented in the area breakdown above, each area has different requirements due to the existing infrastructure in them. It is therefore not possible to give an accurate estimate of total costs at the current time. The additional 62 cameras will cost approximately $350,000. The supporting infrastructure cost will range from approximately $200,000 (expansion of the current radio wave system) to $6 million (installation of fiber optic cables). The latter option would be by far best in terms of service but is substantially more. The cost of the expansion in its totality will therefore range from $550,000 to over $6 million.