Based in Connecticut, the Hartford Police Department works to keep residents safe by reducing city crime and building strong relationships between the police and communities they serve. Sergeant Chris Mastroianni has been with the Hartford Police Department for 14 years, where he spent time in the Patrol Division, achieved the rank of Detective with the Multi-Jurisdictional Shooting Task Force, and served in the Vice and Narcotics Unit.
He is currently the supervisor of the Intelligence Division where he oversees Intelligence Detectives and the C4 Real-Time Crime Center, which was launched five years ago and has been highly successful in increasing solvability rates, especially in firearm-related crime.
Background: Intelligence Gathering
Some Crime Center cases required intelligence gathering in areas with no city infrastructure or network connectivity.
“We had a hard time fulfilling some requests from: 1) our detectives, who required mobile surveillance in temporary locations; 2) businesses, apartment buildings, and landlords facing issues with crime on their properties. They turned to us to help them with a quick surveillance setup.”
Why Verkada: 5-Minute Deployment and Instant Visibility
- Intelligence gathering for ongoing investigations
- Connected to Cradlepoint
- Private & public partnerships
- Flexibility to move cameras around
- Ease of installation & setup
- Ability to share a live link
“We use Verkada mobile surveillance for intelligence gathering; I can deploy cameras in 5 minutes and move them when I need to. It’s a cloud-based, modern solution that I can set up via Cradlepoint to remote sites, and have an instant livestream to our Crime Center.”
To monitor remote crime scenes, Mastroianni sets up a Verkada camera via cellular Cradlepoint or a plug-and-play PoE connection. Within minutes, a video feed streams back to the Crime Center and is accessible from anywhere (mobile or desktop) through the cloud-based Command platform. “I plug in the camera, get visual confirmation, and I’m out within 10 minutes. Nobody even knows I was there.” Mastroianni also uses Verkada’s live video link sharing to provide real-time visibility across public and private partnerships.
“The ability to nimbly share footage across divisions across the department is as simple as sending a text message. We also share live links with property owners so they can see exactly what the police are seeing.”
The Challenge: Intercepting Street Parties at the Right Time
“Last year, we experienced a rise in street and parking lot racer parties. One gas station, labeled Club Mercury on the internet, was overrun by massive crowds in the middle of the night. The business owner reached out to us and asked if there was anything we could do to help, but we kept getting the times wrong. We would place a police officer there at 8 pm and move the officer after 2 hours, but people weren’t showing up until at least midnight.”
Verkada’s Solution: Live Video Links & Night Mode
“I plugged a Verkada camera into a modem and shared the live link with the business owner. With that, we began gathering intelligence on what time the cars were arriving so we could intercept them. We discovered that they weren’t showing up until 1 - 2 AM so having police there at 9 - 10 PM just wasn’t effective. After I gained this intel, I was able to place officers there at the right time. If they did arrive before us, we would see it live on the Command platform and send out reinforcement right away. Thanks to the video quality on the Verkada cameras — which have infrared night vision capabilities — license plates from cars involved in criminal activity were obtained and large solvability was created in addressing the activity.”
The Challenge: Shutting Down Drug Sales in Real-Time
“We needed to gather intel at an apartment building where drugs were being sold at 3 - 5 AM in the morning. Our old solution was a pole camera that would record to an SD card, which we’d have to pull and watch later.”
Verkada’s Solution: Live Viewing via Cloud-Based Command Platform
“We were streaming a live camera feed to our Crime Center in a matter of minutes. With that, we gathered crime scene intelligence on when the illegal activity was taking place and what vehicles were involved. We immediately were able to gain visual intelligence on the illegal activity, obtained search warrants, and quickly shut down the whole operation.”
The Challenge: Remote Sites with No City Network
“Some areas needing cameras had no city infrastructure, which meant there was no internet to connect to. Camera deployment would’ve been impossible with our current other camera solution, which is a traditional system hardwired to servers. It would’ve required a lot of setup and not a solution that we could deploy quickly for a business, house, or apartment complex.”
Verkada’s Solution: Hybrid Cloud Storage
“There’s nothing worse than not having crime scene footage available because the internet is down. Verkada’s hybrid cloud cameras are built with onboard storage, which keeps you bulletproof against network losses from power and internet outages or any kind of interference.”
The Challenge: Faster Deployment with Limited IT Resources
“To get into any kind of city infrastructure and stream footage back to our Crime Center takes a lot of IT work. IT requests can take multiple days — policing is real-time, fluid, and moving; I need to get a camera up and do it quickly.”
Verkada’s Solution: Fast and Flexible Cradlepoint Connection
“We used a cellular Cradlepoint connection to stream a live camera feed in seconds. Cameras have an optical zoom so we’re able to collect criminal data in real-time."
Looking Ahead: Continuing Mobile Deployments
“The Verkada cameras are a godsend. We’re ordering more of them, and we’re able to move them easily to address crime around the city.”
Mastroianni will continue using Verkada cameras for intelligence gathering across public and private partnerships in situations requiring a fast and flexible surveillance solution.