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The reference for the actual state-of-the-art may be considered the security technology from USA along the land border with Mexico regarding the current surveillance infrastructure of the actual capabilities provided by the security industry around the world.

Consequently, along the land border every day, hundreds of people cross the border illegally. Similarly, in different EU Member States on external border countries, the border patrol uses a wide mesh of technology to try to stop them. A close-up image of the sensor package a top the mast of a border patrol mobile video surveillance system -- a radar, daytime and infrared cameras, and a laser range finder.


The border police have adopted a broad set of technology aimed at combating smugglers and illegal migration, a complex network of EO/IR cameras and sensors in the ground, on towers, on the back of mobile trucks, or mobile agents, and airborne UAVs -- has played a large part in the reduction of the illegal migrants. After all, if a smuggler knows that he and a group of migrants are likely to be spotted thanks to the technology, but more likely to try another area.

Operators in the control room of the border police headquarters monitor incoming real-time video and other sensors for evidence of illegal border crossing.


Land border relies heavily on security technology such as systems of tall towers topped with a package of sensors -- radar and both daytime and infrared cameras. Some of these towers are located along the border, while other are layered behind, in case anyone gets through.

One of the land border sensor towers along with a communications tower.


Though the towers are not simultaneously visible to one other, each is in line of sight with at least one other. And all are linked to microwave communications that can send imagery back to a control room in real time. Radar on top the towers scan constantly, monitoring the border for movement, and if there's an alert, someone in the command centre will zoom in on the area looking to see what's moving around.

At the same time, there are used a number of mobile video surveillance systems (MVSS) deployed throughout the sector. These are similar packages of radar and cameras -- plus a laser range finder -- mounted on short masts atop trucks that are parked for long periods of time on top of hills that offer coverage of the desert that augments the towers. Agents rotate in and out of the MVSS, watching their areas, able to beam imagery back command centres, or zoom in on something they've been alerted to by headquarters.

camera mobilamonitor

Then, there's a system technology of underground sensors buried throughout the land border area, and each of which triggers an alert if there are movements within tens of meters. Individual land border police agents are still working in the areas and are constantly heading out into a critical area to intervene and take the appropriate measures.

And even if no stationary camera can see the area near the sensor, it's possible an agent can get close enough with either what's called a "scope truck" -- essentially a much more mobile version of an MVSS, but without radar, a handheld infrared camera with a range of 8-to-10 miles to spot the four-legged offender. Then again, with hundreds of people sneaking across the borders every day, there's a very good chance that what's triggering an alert is in fact human. It could be a lone straggler lost and dehydrated, or it could be a smuggler leading a line of dozens of migrants. In either case, border police agents have to take action.

At the same time, the high-quality cameras can also show that smugglers might be carrying large guns, and provide that information ahead of time so that there's no confrontation between a lone agent and an armed group that could end very badly.


Ultimately, this is all a big cat-and-mouse game. That's because the smugglers' tactics change from day to day, and so does that of the land border police. They may move an MVSS from one hill to another, and add the underground sensors. Teams stationed in the mountain areas may move also, or agents may lie in wait in different places. Whatever the case, the land border is relying on its extensive network of technology to augment agent experience, and hopefully, keep the smugglers capability behind schedule.

Still, the goal of all the new security technology is to work smart and efficient, not work hard. If underground sensors are triggered by a cow, there's little sense sending an agent deep into the field to discover that it's just a bovine if one of the many cameras can see what's there.