Youth Center Security System Case Study: RYSE

Just The Facts:

Customer: RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California

Challenge: Securing the safety of youth and staff using the center’s buildings and center grounds.

Solution: Developing a wireless video surveillance solution with facial recognition and video analytics capabilities, an access control system, and an alarm system.

Results: Increased safety and reductions in crime and loitering.

security system case study - ryse youth center richmond california

Customer Challenge

The RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California, recognizes the city’s youth as the key to the future. To ensure students thrive, the center has established safe spaces rooted in social justice, enabling youth to love, learn, educate, heal, and create lasting change in their lives and communities.

At RYSE, there are many buildings and expansive grounds that include outdoor courts, playground areas, gardens, and modular centers for computer activities. 

Despite its many offerings, the center is in an area near Oakland, California, which is notorious for rampant drug activity, violent crime, theft, property crime, and assaults. These challenges made the security of staff and students a vital concern.

However, the center’s outdated security infrastructure, including a basic ADT alarm system and aging cameras, made security an ongoing challenge. Accessing camera footage was a cumbersome process that required someone to sift through hours of video footage after an incident.

The center also lacked any form of access control, so the doors had to remain open to allow children and staff to enter. This challenged safeguarding their well-being. Zachary Palmquist, the project manager at Safe and Sound Security, explains, “They didn’t want to leave the doors open all the time. They wanted access control, similar to what schools have, where people have to request entry to get in.” 

In response to these safety concerns, the center’s leadership obtained government funding to strengthen security measures. To improve the security of center buildings and grounds, RYSE officials brought in Safe and Sound Security.  

The resulting project brought together security cameras, access control, and alarm systems to enhance center safety. Safe and Sound Security engineers devised an integrated security system, featuring:

  • Strategic camera placements at entrances, around buildings, and on the grounds.
  • A comprehensive access control system guarding all entry points.
  • An alarm system that triggers cameras to record, alerts alarm monitoring staff, and notifies police when unauthorized access is verified.

The results so far are nothing short of remarkable, Palmquist concludes. He says the new security system has rapidly improved safety at the once-vulnerable youth center.

Opting For An Integrated Solution

Safe and Sound Security was initially hired by RYSE leadership for access control, but during project planning meetings, engineers steered them toward alarms and cameras too.

“We asked them about other aspects of their security, including access control, alarms and cameras, then took it a step further and asked if they wanted an integrated system,” he says. 

The project pivoted quickly from a single request to a multi-pronged, integrated cameras, access control, and alarm system with a single, streamlined interface. The completed system now boasts 13 cameras strategically placed throughout the facility to ensure maximum coverage; secures 10 doors, including pedestrian access points and a single pedestrian gate; and has a comprehensive alarm system to detect authorized entries. 

Safe and Sound Security chose Verkada Command, a cloud-based enterprise security solution, for this integrated system.

Verkada’s platform offers a single, cloud-based platform for connecting, monitoring, and managing the center’s physical security devices. This web-based application is known for its flexibility and compatibility with various Internet browsers, such as Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Palmquist adds it also integrates seamlessly with Verkada cameras, access control panels, alarms and readers, all of which contribute to a comprehensive security solution.

According to Palmquist, integrating cameras, access control, and alarm systems provides several advantages:

  • Proactive Security: The system’s analytics help end-users spot and identify potential security threats so they can respond proactively rather than reactively.
  • Visual Verification: Visual logs of access events and alarm triggers enable faster, more accurate response times by alerting law enforcement automatically when needed.
  • Enhanced Control: Staff can manage access, alarms, and cameras seamlessly from a single interface, improving overall security management.
  • Remote Accessibility: Cloud-based infrastructure facilitates remote monitoring and control, ensuring security personnel can respond from anywhere.

Innovative Technology Solves Installation Challenges

Safe and Sound Security selected Verkada cameras for the system. The cameras offer intelligent features like facial recognition and enable staff to create “persons of interest” profiles, to help identify and address potential security threats. 

Cameras coupled with enhanced access control measures ensure only authorized individuals enter. Palmquist explains integrating access control, alarms and cameras enables visual confirmation of access events.

“These cameras are very smart. Their facial recognition capability has proven invaluable, especially in situations involving parents without custody or unauthorized visitors,” he says. “Because the cameras work with access control, there is an audit log of who came and went as well as a visual log.”

The alarm system was a crucial component of the security upgrade, Palmquist adds. The alarm system comprises an alarm control panel, keypad, door and window contacts, glass break detectors, motion detectors, and system interruption sensors; all of which also integrate with cameras and access control.

“This is very powerful, especially when there is an event after the last person leaves for the day,” he says. “If someone breaks in after they arm the alarm system, our monitoring agents can look at the cameras to confirm what is happening.”

This capability, called verified response, leads to 75% faster law enforcement response times. Palmquist explains, “If a police officer knows there is a bad guy because a monitoring agent has confirmed it visually, they will get there faster,” he says. 

Securing multiple buildings across the complex was a challenge, as each one needed a separate alarm system for individual control and police dispatch. “They wanted to be able to disarm each building separately without disarming other buildings or modular buildings,” he says. “We had to get creative and create partitions that allowed the staff to disarm and arm each building separately.”

Safe and Sound Security also had to make sure they dispatched police to the correct building after a verified alarm. “We had to install separate alarm systems for each building then bring them into one platform, so they all worked together,” he says. “By using the Verkada platform, we could integrate all those sites via a cloud interface.” 

Another challenge arose because the center’s old network cameras used Cat5 or Cat6 cable. “We couldn’t use the existing infrastructure, so we had to pull new cables for all camera locations,” he says. 

In cases where trenching for network cables was impractical, such as in modular units at a distance from the main building, engineers employed a wireless point-to-multi-point system. Palmquist states this innovation enabled a wireless bridge for full network coverage and functionality.

This was made possible with NanoBeam technology, which uses wireless data transmission to send and receive RF (radio frequency) signals. This allowed the security system to communicate wirelessly with cameras and the cloud-based platform. 

“We installed a NanoBeam on one of the main buildings, which allowed us to wirelessly transmit the network signal from this building to a receiving NanoBeam. Then we connected cables to a new network source to create a wireless bridge that got camera signals back to the network at the head end,” Palmquist explains. 

One of the project’s standout features is its ability to ensure effective security in outdoor areas, according to Palmquist.

He explains that protecting open spaces, such as courtyards or pedestrian gates, presents a few obstacles. But by leveraging the intelligence of Verkada cameras, they cleared these hurdles. The alarm system integrates with strategically placed cameras to enhance outdoor security.

Palmquist shares this integration enables real-time monitoring and alerting in outdoor spaces. For instance, the system can detect unauthorized persons in designated outdoor areas and alert monitoring agents promptly. It can also employ call-crossing detection and loitering detection to enhance perimeter security, a feat that he says sets it apart from traditional security systems.

“Imagine having a camera aimed at a courtyard,” Palmquist says. “If this alarm is triggered and someone walks into this area, it will alert our monitoring agents, who can then perform visual verification. We can also do what we call-crossing detection. For instance, if anyone crosses a fence line, the system alerts monitoring agents immediately. I can also set it to detect loitering as well. For example, if people loiter for over 5 minutes, I can set the system to activate an alarm so our monitoring agents can make sure nothing is going on. Now we have expanded the alarm system from the interior buildings to the perimeter of the grounds.”

Collaborating with the Client

Success in the RYSE project was achieved through collaboration with the client, Palmquist adds.

By actively participating in the planning and design process, RYSE Center leadership helped Safe and Sound Security customize the security solution to their specific needs and preferences. 

“First, we talked with them about their policies, i.e., how they used the doors, how they would like to arm or disarm the system, etc.” he says. “We took that information and incorporated it into a digital design for their review. Once they approved that, we went to the site and verified that it was all doable.”

This process led to several design revisions, he adds. For instance, when engineers discovered the modular buildings housed expensive computers and electronics, they added motion detectors and a camera for visual verification as another layer of security. “We had to make sure we had adequate line of sight, captured the areas they wanted to capture, and had adequate coverage in all areas,” he says.

Monitoring and Service

Safe and Sound Security’s project team closely monitors the operational system, promptly addressing all issues or alerts to ensure its optimal performance, Palmquist says.

This is achieved through a comprehensive service level agreement (SLA) that covers maintenance, according to Palmquist.

The SLA includes firmware updates for devices. “We push out firmware updates to ensure everything is kept secure and we constantly monitor system health,” he says. “We set alerts on every device, so if an access panel or a camera goes down, our engineers know immediately.”

The cloud-based system allows backend access to all devices for remote repairs, Palmquist adds

If there is no remote solution, the company dispatches technicians to fix the problem. “The technician will arrive with replacement parts,” Palmquist says. “If the device cannot be fixed, we will provide a replacement. We also dispatch technicians to clean and test systems annually.” 

To help users with system operation, Safe and Sound Security provides unlimited help desk, support available 24/7, 365 days a year, and unlimited end-user training.

Conclusion

RYSE Center’s security project sets a compelling example for other organizations to emulate, Palmquist concludes.

He explains the RYSE Center’s commitment to safety led to the successful integration of advanced security measures. By combining cameras, access control, and alarm systems into one cohesive interface, the center has taken a significant step toward ensuring a secure environment for the community it serves.

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