You're being watched: Super Bowl security includes constant monitoring

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A security camera looks down on visitors to parts of downtown.

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events of the year, both for players on the field and for visitors inside the venues with advanced surveillance technology keeping an eye on multiple locations.

Private companies like Verizon worked with the City of Houston and law enforcement to develop a temporary network of security cameras, in addition to cameras already in place.

Maurice Singleton is a software engineer for Vidsys. That company is connecting the city's existing video network to the temporary set of Verizon cameras to give operators easy access.

"Things such as an active shooter, bomb threats, natural disasters. You want to know about them before or right when they're actually happening," Singleton said. "The biggest challenge is getting our arms wrapped around all the various technology."

The Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security worked to coordinate the groups involved into a comprehensive system.

"Think of this as the city public video network and the temporary network are two separate systems that they need to talk to each other," said public safety coordinator, Jack Hanagriff.

It's not just security, the surveillance can help in medical emergencies by spotting health problems and directing paramedics to patients, according to Houston Fire Department officials.

"Use of the camera to direct our crews to that patient so we can get to them faster and get them better care," said assistant chief, Richard Mann.

The cameras are incredibly detailed, able to pick up specific people and faces and there are also thermal imaging cameras that can show people even in total darkness.

"If there's a bag left behind, or a person who's on the stage at maybe 2 a.m. in the morning, the thermal camera can pick that up," said Verizon system administrator, Dan Foster.

New software means it doesn't take human eyes to spot a problem; analytics can figure it out, Foster said.

"They'll be able to redeploy those resources to other areas and let the computer analytics do the work for them," Foster said.

The city hopes to keep some of the technology in place even after the game. Officials said the goal is getting people to feel more secure knowing someone's watching their backs.

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Super Bowl 51Super BowlsecurityHouston
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