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More new cameras to monitor Mexico City

City will have 8,500 next-generation devices in operation by year's end

Mexico City will have 8,500 next-generation surveillance cameras in operation by the end of the year, a high-ranking city government security official said yesterday.

In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, C5 command center director Idris Rodríguez Zapata said that 1,500 new state-of-the-art cameras will replace those that are now technologically obsolete.

Seven thousand of the high-tech cameras have already been installed during the administration of Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, whose term began in 2012, he added.

A total of 15,310 cameras will monitor the capital’s streets and with the newest additions, the percentage that utilize the latest technology will grow to 55%.

The new cameras record and transmit high-definition images that allow faces, colors and vehicle license plates to be seen clearly, even in footage filmed at night. The infrared night-vision technology they employ is especially crucial in poorly lit, outlying areas of the city.

The C5 chief said that 6,810 cameras that were installed during the administration of Mancera’s predecessor, Marcelo Ebrard, will also continue to function provided they are maintained on an ongoing basis, prolonging their usual operational lifespan. More than 22,000 maintenance jobs have already been completed this year alone, Rodríguez said.

“It is continuous work that is allowing these cameras to keep working. Those that were installed at the beginning of the past administration and that today, given their age, shouldn’t be in operation, we have kept them working,” Rodríguez said.

Surveillance cameras have assisted in the identification and arrest of tens of thousands of people during Mancera’s term, including perpetrators of crimes classified as high-impact.

The cameras are not the only security infrastructure the Mexico City government is working to update and improve.

Before the end of the year, it also plans to widen the coverage of the city’s seismic alert system.

There are currently 11,353 nine-meter posts installed with loudspeakers to announce the imminent arrival of earth tremors, although given the close proximity of the epicenter of the September 19 earthquake, its usefulness was largely nullified.

Speakers will be added to a further 2,382 posts that have been equipped for the purpose with priority given to boroughs with greater susceptibility to damage from earthquakes because of their geography.

They include Coyoacán, Benito Juárez and Cuauhtémoc, where the rollout will focus on areas previously out of the reach of the warning system including those where schools are located.

“The zones that suffered the greatest damage in the September 19 earthquake, and which we consider are at the greatest risk, are being favored,” Rodríguez said.

An analysis to determine the size of the investment required and to identify dead spots where the alert system doesn’t reach is currently under way.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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