CCTV Surveillance Programme Gets Private Sector Support
The national closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance programme, geared at improving public safety and security, is receiving strong support from members of the private sector, who believe that the initiative will make an impact on crime in the country.
Dubbed ‘JamaicaEye,’ the public-private partnership, launched in March, is designed to network CCTV cameras owned by the Ministry of National Security as well as accommodate feed from privately-owned cameras.
The feeds will provide useful footage in relation to criminal activity and other emergencies and will be monitored by a team of security professionals.
President, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Howard Mitchell, says the programme is valuable, not only because of the impact it will have on crime, but because it serves as a template to show the importance of participatory democracy.
He is commending the Government for undertaking the programme.
“It is important that when we see a strategy or an action that is comprehensively effective and will make an impact that we endorse it and give full praise to its originators and its implementers,” he says.
Mr. Mitchell is encouraging Jamaicans to support the initiative and join the fight against crime. “We will be endorsing it to our members individually and we will be supporting (the Ministry) and all involved in their promotion attempts,” he pledges.
General Manager, Digicel Business, Brian Bennett Easy, says the initiative will assist with crime reduction and the restoration of public order.
“Technology is an enabler to propel proper governance and we believe that the JamaicaEye initiative is the appropriate action at the right time,” he says.
He notes that perpetrators of crime have become more sophisticated in their operations therefore, advanced technology, with the latest detection tools, will give the security apparatus a significant advantage.
“The team at Digicel Jamaica …intends to collaborate with the Government of Jamaica on this and even more diverse technologies that will help to protect Jamaican citizens, detect and respond to crime and to create a safer Jamaica,” he says.
Group Director, Communication and Quality Control, Guardsman Group, Lieutenant Commander, George Overton, points out that in addition to helping to detect and deter crime, the cameras will be effective in investigating accidents and other incidents.
He calls for all Jamaicans to buy into the programme. “I call on every citizen association, every industrial park and industrial complex, every commercial activity and almost every neighbourhood watch to commit at least two cameras to this programme across the island,” he says.
He further implores stakeholders in the hospitality sector to commit at least four or five cameras to build-out the public space surrounding their properties so that the law enforcement agencies and others can do their jobs effectively.
Lt. Commander Overton, who is also President of the Jamaica Society for Industrial Security, is calling on members of the umbrella group of security companies, who are involved in the sale, installation and operation of camera equipment to promote the initiative.
“I fully endorse and give my personal as well as organisational support…in the build out and development of this programme,” he adds.
“This programme is a no brainer,” he says, noting that he has every confidence in the integrity of the system, “because I know that it is a committed staff that has worked to set it up.”
Project Manager, JamaicaEye, Major Sheldon Bryan, informs that approximately 180 cameras have already been deployed across several parishes island-wide.
“When we realised the space that we need to manage where crime is active, we realised that as a Government, we can’t do it alone. We need a lot more cameras to be a part of the system to increase our situational awareness as to what is happening across the space. So, we are inviting now persons, who have digital camera systems (to partner with us). Once it is connected to the internet, we are able to take that feed right into the environment into the command centre,” he explains.
Major Bryan says that since the launch of the initiative, persons have been signing up for the programme. “The uptake is positive,” he notes.
He informs that a technical team will readily assist persons, who may need additional information on the initiative.
Citizens and businesses with CCTV systems may register their camera feeds with JamaicaEye via the website jamaicaeye.gov.jm.
During the registration process, the Ministry of National Security will capture the relevant details to facilitate connection to the participants’ surveillance cameras.
Participants will be required to accept an indemnity clause and have their information vetted by the technical team, which will then establish connectivity. An email will be sent to the participant with a screen shot of the established feed to inform them that the feed is being monitored.
Integrated private and public video feeds channelled into JamaicaEye will pass through a video analytic suite and be filtered through software that will allow for facial recognition, license plate readings, geofencing and crowd counting, among other features.
Government-owned CCTV systems have already been installed in several major towns across the island – Kingston, Montego Bay, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, May Pen and Negril.
The JamaicaEye initiative supports the Ministry’s Situational Prevention component of its five-pillar crime prevention and reduction strategy, which focuses on forward planning and the use of technology to reduce incidents of crime and their likely occurrence.
For further information about the new national CCTV system visit www.jamaicaeye.gov.jm