Fighting crime and enhancing security

Fighting crime and enhancing security


The Amsterdam Lelylaan Railway Station utilises geospatial solutions to maintain a safe and secure environment for the public

Public safety and crime prevention are high priorities of Amsterdam and many other large Dutch cities. In order to make the city secure, Amsterdam signed a public safety agreement with various stakeholders such as the Netherlands Railways, Amsterdam Police Department and Amsterdam’s Municipal Public Transport. The agreement aims to ensure safety of citizens in public transport.

The stakeholders planned to conduct a pilot study at the Amsterdam Lelylaan railway station in order to come up with new and innovative ways, using geospatial technology, to maintain public security. They approached ARCADIS for this project.

The station needed a system which could be utilised by all the security personnel and railway staff. Also, since there are many actors involved in maintaining safety at a public space (from the Dutch national railways to local authorities, the local water company, the Amsterdam public transport company), it was necessary to create an overview of all the actors and objects present at the station.

Overview of all objects in the Lelylaan area

Therefore, Google Maps were used to get a clear picture of the premises. Researchers also conducted a site visit to mark GPS coordinates of all the different objects at the station. They then created a digital model of the area and overlaid all the objects in it. An inventory of all actors involved in the maintenance of safety at the station, with their contact information (e-mail address and phone number), was made. In the end, nearly 400 different objects were identified in the area adjacent to the railway station, such as bicycle racks, billboards, entrance gates, etc.

This information was then uploaded to a digital product to maintain public spaces, ATRIUM, and was combined with a specially created module, called BORA. Acronym for Beheer Openbare Ruimte Applicatie (translated as maintaining public space application). The high value GIS-based product clearly depicts every object within the station area.

With the help of the module, authorities at the Lelylaan Railway station, were easily able to add notifications to an object. On clicking the object, one can add descriptions like, the problem, a photo, or the time at which the problem occurred. For instance, if an object is broken due to vandalism, one can add this data to the object via the module. After the data is added, the notification can be sent to the responsible organisation or person who maintains the object. This can be done from a normal desktop computer as well as by a smartphone. The concerned person will then receive an e-mail with the data and is able to resolve the issue.

The system can be regularly updated when objects are removed or added to the area. The data can also be exported to an MS Excel data sheet to review basic statistics like, when and where vandalism incident occurred. This will help in improving policing tasks.

Also, the module made all the staff and policing personnel aware about the responsibilities and duties of other people, thereby making the station more safe and secure.