Extensive Surveillance System Ensures Safe Haven for Domestic Abuse Victims

With all the notoriety given to the entertainment solutions and integrators offer, it is often sometimes forgotten that the peace of mind created by designing and installing a comprehensive security system can be the most rewarding for some clients.

That’s exactly the case at Marguerite’s Place in Nashua, N.H., where integrator Telephone Network Technologies (TNT) and manufacturer Axis Communications are helping victims of domestic abuse find safety with a comprehensive 14-camera video surveillance system.

Marguerite’s Place consists of two buildings with a total of 10 apartments that are furnished through donations. These residential units are used as transitional housing for women and their children who are seeking refuge from unsafe, often abusive situations. The time these women spend in the apartments with their families allows them to establish themselves before seeking a more permanent living situation. Upon moving on, the families are given the option of taking the donated furniture with them. The buildings also hold office space and a fully licensed childcare operation that is open to the public.

The 10 transitional housing units allow residents to allay their concerns about their personal safety.

“It’s extremely important to secure these transitional housing units,” says Ted Wilkinson, director, channel partners, and end customers, Americas for Axis Communications. “Marguerite’s Place strives to provide a safe haven for the families and to allay their concerns about their personal safety. To that end, providing exterior building visibility is in all lighting conditions is essential. Additionally, it was critical that the system gives staff remote access to see what is happening on the property at any given time.”

The project was triggered by several factors simultaneously. First, the integrator, Telephone Network Technologies (TNT), began to consider options to replace the existing security camera system at Marguerite’s Place because it used old technology and had become unreliable. Hooksett, N.H.-based TNT proposed a budget-conscious Axis Communications’ solution which would address the financial limitations of the non-profit organization.

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At the same time, two Axis employees based out of the company’s Chelmsford, Mass., location became aware of the need to upgrade the system at Marguerite’s Place. Jim Murray, distribution account manager, heard about the need through his existing volunteer relationship with the organization. Also, Joe Thistle, key account manager for global partners, heard from his friend who serves on their board of directors about how the existing system needed to be upgraded.

The two were able to help facilitate the project with the partner and the Axis regional sales manager. Murray recommended equipment that would address the challenges facing Marguerite’s Place. His recommendations included high-quality cameras that record to internal SD cards without the use of a server and a high-performance video server that would fit the organization’s needs.

Marguerite’s Place Surveillance Gear

The Axis equipment includes:

(14) AXIS M2026 high resolution network cameras which include IR (Infrared) illuminators.  The IR illuminators light up the scene at night using light that is invisible to the human eye in order to reduce visible lighting and light pollution.(1) AXIS S1132 video server that supports up to 32 cameras and can be expanded to support more with additional licenses. The server has pre-installed Axis Camera Station video management system software.  This is the software that manages the recording of video, allows live and recorded remote access to the video, and provides the option to add additional features in the future for networked door access control, audio for broadcasting live or recorded messages, etc.An AXIS 16-port Power over ethernet (POE) switch to power the cameras and provide connectivity over a single cable.An AXIS A1601 door access control unit may be added to the system in the future to provide networked access control to parts of the facility.

Additional equipment provided by TNT includes HP Procurve Ethernet and a new router to allow remote access from offsite.

Installation of the system was made more complicated because of COVID-19.

Marguerite’s Place staff can access the relevant video as needed to share with authorities or to alleviate any anxiety residents might have about unknown individuals approaching the building or knocking on doors.

“The main challenge of this installation was the coordination of equipment and labor and integration during the COVID-19 pandemic,” recalls Wilkinson.

“TNT streamlined the process by preconfiguring and testing all the equipment at their facility in Hookset, New Hampshire before bringing it to the site. They were also able to save costs by reusing some of the old cabling from the previous system.”

According to Julie Noel, director of operations, Marguerite’s Place is pleased with the performance of the system citing good image quality (especially at night), wider field of view providing better coverage of the site, and the stability of the system.

The new system allows Marguerite’s Place to better manage the cameras and view the premises remotely, Wilkinson describes.

“This was particularly valuable during the pandemic when they wanted to limit the amount of time on-site while still providing the needed level of security. Additionally, the system provides peace of mind for residents and has resulted in fewer calls to police,” he adds.

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