The Aruban government signs agreement for security camera project

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(Oranjestad)—During a press conference yesterday afternoon, the minister of Justice and Social Affairs, Mr. Rocco Tjon, in collaboration with the director of energy company Elmar N.V., Anthony Irausquin, signed an agreement regarding the installation of 40 security cameras around the island in the new project from the ministry of Justice.

Minister Tjon explained that in line with the plan of management from the ministry of Justice and Social Affairs, this is a focus to invest in technology and innovation. For this, there has already been an investment made in this project since last year.

This project consists of different phases, all which have already been approved. As it can be noted, the entire hotel area along the coast of Aruba—also called the “hot zones”—is already equipped with security cameras. The second phase concerning the city center of San Nicolas has already been approved, and as the government had announced one month back, after the evaluation of the project pilot of security cameras during the carnival period, all partners in the project approved of this initiative. It is for this reason that the minister and Elmar N.V. have now signed a new agreement for the third phase of the project.

The third phase consists of 40 strategic locations around the island in which cameras will be installed to amplify the security around the areas and help fight crime.

Minister Tjon further explained that the process of choosing the locations was in the hands of a work group from the Police Corps of Aruba, in collaboration with a work group from Elmar N.V. These two work groups have considered the information they received from KPA, including statistical figures, so that the cameras could be installed in key locations to help fight crime better. For this, they have also considered locations such as the night clubs around the hot zones and roundabouts around the island as key places to install security cameras.

Minister Tjon also informed that during the upcoming two weeks, there will be signs placed that indicates the presence of a security camera in the vicinity, as is legally mandatory. Citizens and visitors may then also know in which zones these cameras are placed.

“We are already seeing success in different phases of the project. Two weeks ago, I was addressing my fellow MPs and I received a question about crime figures. We were able to present to parliament that there has been a drastic decrease in terms of the crime figures,” he remarked.

With the beginning of the new phase, he added that they will commence the construction of the Operation Command Center in the district of Savaneta. This task will be executed with the help from telecommunications company Setar N.V.

Tjon also highlighted that it is indeed important to invest in these types of technology, but at the same, we have to keep in mind the human factor, because at the end of the day, the images compiled will be analyzed and shared with different judicial department, keeping in mind all the rules and requirements for this.

The Operation Command Center will be housing personnel from different department to make sure that this institution is running 24 hours a day.

In terms of the technical aspect of this project, Elmar N.V. is in charge with everything that falls under this category. The director explained that this is a first step for them and as already mentioned, they will soon start with the installation of the 40 cameras from phase three.

Irausquin recalls the beginning of the year, where Elmar had to unexpectedly install 35 security cameras for the royal visit, and this, he remarked, was a great way to begin the pilot project.

In terms of the company itself, the director explained that they started the project called ‘smart grid’ a few years back, with the vision to one day start with a project for security cameras. The first part consisted of connecting the smart meters with the smart grids, and now it is time to install the cameras.

“It’s a grid with which we actually want to transition into a smart city, and you can see that in less than 10 minutes, we can install one cameras and move on to the next one. This is also telling of how successful these cameras are going to be and how we can quickly move and adapt on KPA’s petition,” he signaled.

Irausquin also explained that at any moment where there is a big event and KPA request the installment of extra cameras in other locations, we can easily install or make necessary modifications with our new system.

During the carnival period, cameras have been installed on different parade routes to try this project out. At that time it has been mentioned that these were temporary cameras and would be taken down after carnival. These cameras, according to Irausquin, confirmed the re-installment of these cameras and 40 additional ones during the new phase of the project.

Finally, Minister Tjon assured that the maintenance of these cameras is also included in the project—and thus in its budget as well.