Officials with Yellow Cab and Australian-based Raywood Communications, the company which manufactures the surveillance system, say the new, state-of-the- art technology provides law enforcement authorities with clear, still images which are used to identify, apprehend and convict offenders in an unprecedented manner.
During the test, the two companies report that several arrests were made against perpetrators.
"To be the first in the country to install this system says quite a bit about our company and its commitment to the safety of our drivers and passengers," says Yellow Cab President Frank Genovese. "We tested a variety of surveillance systems, but we were most impressed with Raywood's clarity of images, the simplicity of its software, and the system's photo storage capabilities."
According to Mark Ward of Raywood Communications, the non-invasive system uses a small, mounted camera to record a clear view of the vehicle's entire interior.
The camera's infra-red technology, which allows it to operate day or night, continuously transmits images to a remote monitoring location. Photos also can be remotely downloaded by a specially- equipped laptop computer which will be presented by Yellow Cab to the Houston Police Department. Regardless of where photos are downloaded, the system automatically stamps each image with the date, time and car number to aid in the identification process.
Ward further explains as new pictures are taken, older photos from previous fares are erased.
Images from the camera are transmitted the moment a passenger enters the vehicle with sequences recorded every few seconds. Since it transmits images to a remote location, he says the photos are inaccessible to the driver, thereby protecting the privacy of law- abiding citizens.
"This surveillance system gives us the power of immediate identification for the purpose of arresting and prosecuting offenders," adds Genovese.
First launched by Raywood Communications in Perth, Australia, Ward says the system has significantly reduced crimes against cab drivers in that city, by as much as 60 percent, in its first year of operation.
With the three-month local trial now complete, Yellow Cab vehicles in Houston now carry a white sticker on the inside and outside of both rear windows to inform passengers the vehicle is being operated with a surveillance system.
Raywood Communications plans to introduce similar surveillance systems to cab companies across the country in the coming months.
Contact: Bernard Kaplan of Kaplan Public Relations, 713-784-1077, for Raywood Communications
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