March 20, 2015 -
Bogotá, Columbia will begin trialing an integrated video surveillance system, featuring biometrics and facial recognition cameras, in the city’s TransMilenio (Sivit) transit system, according to a report by El Tiempo.
The system, which will initially be piloted at the Jiménez and portal Americas bus stations, is expected to decrease the crime rate and the perception of insecurity in Bogotá’s’ largest mass transit system, said Fund Surveillance and Security District.
The facial recognition solution will be able to identify faces in real time and compare them against images stored on various databases of Metropolitan Police, prosecutors and Interpol.
As a result, if a wanted criminal enters the transit system and his captured image is successfully matched with a mugshot found in the database, an alarm is activated.
The surveillance system has already been successful in São Paulo (Brazil), New Mexico (United States) and Panama City, said fund manager Maximum Noriega.
After being implemented in São Paulo, the system led to the successful arrest of a notorious drug dealer known as Chupeta in 2007.
“It is the first initiative with these features to be installed in public transport systems in Latin America,” said Noriega.
Developed by FaceFirst, at a cost of 12,000 million pesos (USD $4.6 million), Noriega said that the fund would need the financial support of the Columbian government to extend the system to all stations and buses that circulate in TransMilenio, as it would cost an additional 200,000 million pesos (USD $77.7 million).
A recent survey on victimization and perceived safety in the mass transit system of Bogotá, conducted by the Chamber of Commerce, revealed that 89 percent of users consider the stations unsafe and hot spots for crime.
“This is a breakthrough because it strengthens three aspects: perception of security, crime prevention and analysis after the crimes were committed,” said Jairo Booksellers, security expert and professor at the External University. “What may be a turning point is the ability to respond to alarms by the police units. There must be enough people. And we should mention that no use having a previous photographic record, but must have prior biometric registration of offenders: this is another job to be advancing with modern cameras. ”