JamaicaEye assisting crime-fighting
The Ministry of National Security is hailing the national closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance programme dubbed ‘JamaicaEye’ as a success in assisting the police’s crime-fighting efforts and maintaining public order.
The public-private partnership, launched in 2018, is designed to network CCTVs owned by the ministry as well as accommodate feed from privately owned cameras.
Registered private citizens are able to share footage from their cameras with the authorities, free of cost.
The system is monitored by trained, technical members from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Senior director of the Major Technology Transformation Branch at the ministry, Arvel Grant, said JamaicaEye is being effectively utilised by the police.
“Right across the island where those cameras are, members of the JCF are leveraging those cameras in their investigations and to provide evidence for matters that are going to court,” he noted.
He said the programme is also aiding the police in its traffic-management activities along thoroughfares across the island.
“The system is used every day in managing traffic around towns, having awareness of what’s happening in and around the major roadways and being able to deploy officers to help manage and control the flow of traffic. It has also been used to identify vehicles that were involved in accidents,” he indicated.
Grant said since the launch of the initiative, the ministry has increased the number of cameras that are a part of the system.
“The number of cameras connected to the system has more than tripled to 605 up from the 180 cameras in 2018, and in the next few weeks we’ll have 100 more government cameras connected to the system,” he said.
Grant said that JamaicaEye is a part of an overall thrust by the ministry to transform the security architecture through investment in improving the infrastructure, mobility, intelligence and technology of the JCF over the next few years.
“There are about 30 key technology and modernisation projects taking place between the MNS and JCF, and JamaicaEye is just one of those projects. So it’s coming from this background of trying to improve the efficiency of the force and expand the JCF communication network, so all of these are projects that are going on to improve efficiency,” he points out.
Grant said the participation of private citizens is important for the continued success of JamaicaEye and he is encouraging persons to sign on to the programme.
Last year, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ministry and the Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association, which represents petroleum retailers, to allow JamaicaEye to connect to approximately 121 gas stations.
“We encourage everyone to look at the website. It will give you the background information that you need to understand how the programme works, and any questions that you have, feel free to reach out to the team. We can help you with technical specifications for cameras and … to help you to connect to the programme,” he noted.
Grant said the ministry has put measures in place to ensure the sustainability of JamaicaEye.
He said there is an arrangement in place for maintenance of the cameras and to conduct repairs.
Grant indicated that focus is being placed on increasing the number of cameras in the network.
“It’s all about expansion, whether through the installation of government cameras or the private sector and forging partnerships. Right now, we are focused on expansion into Santa Cruz and Black River in St Elizabeth,” he informed.
Last year, the project installed additional CCTVs in high-priority strategic locations in Kingston; May Pen, Clarendon; Ocho Rios, St Ann; Negril, Westmoreland; Montego Bay, St James; and Mandeville, Manchester.