Heading in a new direction.
The city of Vicente López has installed over 800 high technology cameras in government buildings, along public roads, in mass transit – as well as in patrol cars.
Vicente López is situated in the northern section of the Greater Buenos Aires area, with a population of approximately 300,000 in an area of about 13 square miles. Thousands of its citizens commute daily to the city of Buenos Aires – and elsewhere throughout the Buenos Aires province – via public transportation or in their own personal vehicles.
A sharp increase in commuter traffic over the last few years (Vicente López is serviced by three rail lines and a Metrobus) has created a huge need to modernize and expand the city’s video surveillance system that, until 2012, was operating with outdated equipment and was lacking of any sort of integrated technological approach; this made it extremely difficult to provide effective monitoring of its various districts.
In order to achieve constant monitoring and create a secure environment for citizens, the local government put in place an advanced video surveillance project, which was installed and supervised by engineers certified in IP surveillance systems.
The company replaced outdated analog equipment with an installation of 650 high technology cameras for city surveillance, consisting of fixed and PTZ dome-style models. The installation provides coverage of government buildings, streets, and the Metrobus transportation system (including a 3.1 mile travel corridor that connects Vicente López to the city of Buenos Aires).
After a successful first phase, another 100 cameras from AXIS F Series were installed in vehicles of the Municipal Defense Force and Civil Patrol with the possibility of recording onboard. When they reach the so-called points of transfer, the recording can be transferred and stored as a backup.
The Metrobus line had its security reinforced with AXIS P3364-VE, an antivandalism camera with Lightfinder technology, and AXIS M3024, with infrared light, bringing the total number of cameras used in the project to over 800, and resulting in the creation of one of the most comprehensive, cutting-edge urban video surveillance projects in all of South America.
The road to multi-sensor cameras
Faced with the difficulties of successfully monitoring Vicente López with the 80 analog cameras they had in 2011, a new plan was put in place to establish an integrated and efficient video surveillance system.
For this transition, the city initially acquired 600 fixed and PTZ dome cameras offering HD and Full HD resolution. The following year, another 50 cameras were added, consisting of both fixed and PTZ dome models. After the first 650 cameras were installed, city officials decided to take its surveillance to the next level and Vicente López became the first city in Argentina to utilize the advanced technology of the multi-sensor AXIS Q6000-E, a quad-lens Full HD camera able to provide coverage to an area of 20,000 m2 . Due to its multi-lens setup, the camera is able to zoom in to examine fine detail while simultaneously maintaining a wide, overall view of the scene.
Bringing the world’s most advanced video surveillance technology to Vicente López with the installation of this equipment has provided public officials with a high definition view of an area equivalent to four football fields, along with the ability to render fine detail without losing view of the entire scene. This nextgeneration technology has enabled even more effective surveillance of suspects by police and other security agencies, resulting in a reduction in crime and increase in the quality of service they are able to provide to the public.
The following stage of the project was the installation of cameras throughout the Metrobus system that connects Vicente López to the province of Buenos Aires, improving security for more than 200,000 daily users.
This corridor is made up of a combination of over-theroad and underground mass transit that has reduced travel time by 32 percent. Metrobus stations and transfer hubs received 42 vandalism-resistant fixed dome cameras.
The next step of the project was the installation of cameras in vehicles used by the Municipal Defense Force and Civil Patrol, a latest generation modular system with recording and streaming capabilities. These installations reach an amount of 100 cameras. AXIS F44 models used for such tasks are ideal for discreet surveillance applications inside and outside vehicles. They are resistant to dust, rain, snow, vibration, impact and temperature variations.
This new technology will help save time and maintain better communication between patrol officers and control center personnel. This represents a huge leap forward in safety for Vicente López.
The conceptual change in security in Vicente López included a new way of assessing and increasing the police performance. The KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is a project started by the Vicente López city hall together with Torcuato Di Tella University that seeks to measure both the Security Bureau and Security Forces performances in the region. This was important for the support and initial development of the “Security Bureau State System”.
The first of the indicators to be used was the “state patrol with police power”, which indicates the percentage of city patrols that carried police on board in the previous month. This is important because the city patrols do not have police power, and including a police agent in each vehicle provides great efficiency to the security processes as the prevention patrol gains police power.
The second indicator is the “vehicles theft rate”, which compares Vicente López with other cities and can analyze how many vehicles were stolen in the last month per 100,000 inhabitants. In order to develop the benchmark of this indicator, they collected data from New York, Miami and San Francisco, in the USA.
The third indicator, well known to other cities around the world, is the “time of emergency response”, that measures the time it takes for the patrol to arrive at the emergency site.
With this next-generation camera system we intend to protect the citizen and answer rapidly to any incident that might happen, whether it’s a crime, an altercation on the transit system, or if we need to identify a suspect.
According to the Secretary of Security of Vicente López, “The addition of this new technology allows us to conduct searches faster and more precisely because we are able to define specific parameters such as vehicle size, color and direction of travel in order to narrow down our searches and improve accuracy.”
These images support the work of 500 agents from the Local Police for Prevention, and more than 100 patrols and decentralized forces of Vicente López Patrol Force. Cameras placed along public roads, in urban passenger transport stations and municipal buildings, also provide a record of all people and vehicle movement. This has enabled officials to maintain order and rapidly respond to any incident that may occur – and the positive effects of this increase in the city’s monitoring capacity are felt daily
With real-time supervision of the vast majority of the city, the authorities were able to reduce the waiting time of citizens in many cases, as well as prevent traffic incidents.
“With this next-generation camera system, we are able to make residents feel safe and we can respond quickly and efficiently to anything that happens whether it’s a crime, an altercation on the transit system, or if we need to identify a suspect,” explains Santiago Espeleta. Espeleta, current Secretary of Security of Vicente López, and Martín Gasulla, Sub-secretary of Security, have been receiving delegations from other cities and countries interested in reproducing the experience.
Safer city with efficient crime prevention
With growing population comes multiple challenges. Here’s the story of a safe city project to prevent crime, improve incident management and shorten emergency response times. Rising crime rates in Vicente López, Argentina, initiated a project for change. And instead of responding to occasional demands, the city launched a long-term strategy to create a safer city, and a lasting sense of security for its citizens.