More CCTV Cameras for Mandeville and Montego Bay

Jamaica Information Service (JIS)

More closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are to be installed in the towns of Mandeville, Manchester and Montego Bay, St. James this year.

The move is part of the Government’s effort to enhance police monitoring of the areas and ensure the safety and security of residents.

Head of the Modernization Initiatives and Strategic Projects Division in the Ministry of National Security, Dr. Canute Thompson, said there will be a 50 per cent increase in the number of cameras serving the towns.

He was speaking at a forum on building safe communities, staged by the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) at its Mandeville campus in Manchester on March 18.

He informed that the Ministry is collaborating with the local private sector groups on the initiative.

Dr. Thompson argued that the monitoring of public areas through the use of CCTV surveillance technology is crucial in deterring criminal activity as well as to support the investigation of crime.

“We are of the view that when people know that an area is monitored by CCTV, there is a stronger likelihood that they will conduct themselves in a manner that is law-abiding,” he noted.

Dr. Thompson further informed that CCTV systems are also to be installed in Christiana, Manchester this year, through partnership with the Christiana Business Watch Group.

“That particular group is contributing 80 per cent of the cost of installing a system in Christiana,” he said, adding that the initiative will be supported by the National Commercial Bank (NCB) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS).

Dr. Thompson said systems will also be put in place in Spanish Town, St. Catherine; Negril, Westmoreland; and Kingston.

The towns of May Pen, Clarendon; and Ocho Rios, St. Ann are also being monitored by CCTV technology.

The Ocho Rios system, which became operational late last year, is one of the largest that the Government has established.

In the meantime, Dr. Thompson noted that part of the Government’s long-term plan is to strengthen the face recognition capacity of the cameras.

He explained that even if the person captured on the camera is wearing a disguise, “you run it on a database and….the technology is able to pick up certain features of his image and you can trace him through the system.”

The forum, held under theme: ‘Building Safe Communities: Collaborating for Improved Security,’ involved partnership with the Ministry of National Security, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Caribbean University.

MIND organises and hosts policy forums designed to stimulate public awareness of issues of national, regional and global importance, and provide a platform for the exchange of information to improve quality of thought and promote positive behaviour change.