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Hundreds of Video Cameras to Monitor Tico Streets

February 26, 2010

The Public Security Ministry will begin at mid-year the nationwide installation of 342 surveillance cameras in efforts to curtail the crime rate.

The cameras will be strategically placed in the cities of San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Limón, and will be monitored 24 hours a day by 60 police officers.

According to the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE), which is partnering with the ministry on the $9-million project, the system is modeled after similar ones in Colombia and London, England.

“This is not new,” said ICE President Pedro Pablo Quirós. “We did thorough research … and believe this is an important way to fight crime.”

Quirós said the cameras will be used as evidence-gathering tools, will lower the costs related to security personnel and will help supervise critical operations.

“There will be electric eyes on different points chosen by security forces, for roads, roundabouts, some buildings and corners of various neighborhoods,” Quirós said.

“These cameras can capture images, deliver them and process them, and from there actions can be taken.”

Public Security Minister Janina del Vecchio celebrated the pending installation of the cameras, saying, “By announcing the Citizen Protection Video Project today, the government has completed another of its promises, which … was to bring more security to citizens …. I am proud to say (the administration of President Oscar Arais) has been able to complete 87 percent of its public security challenges.”

Del Vecchio said she expects the installation to begin in August.

–Chrissie Long

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