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A hundred eyes see more than one

In the commercial and hotel area of one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, thousands of inhabitants and tourists are protected 24 hours a day by Vicon's IP cameras.
by Ana María Restrepo

A tropical paradise of approximately 50,000 km2 in southeastern Mexico, surrounded by beaches covered by white sands, turquoise waters, archaeological sites that evoke the Mayan culture, resplendent sun and a mixture of jungle and sea, make Cancun the most popular destination in the country and one of the ten most popular in the world.

37 years ago, this city, capital of the state of Quintana Roo and head of the municipality of Benito Juárez, was nothing more than a virgin island bathed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the sand, but today it is a city that grows more and more every day, offering its visitors countless attractions coupled with many natural wonders.

Also known as the Golden Snake, Cancun is the seaside resort with the largest number of hotel rooms in Mexico. According to the Wikipedia encyclopedia, in 2005 the population of the town was 526,701 inhabitants, and its metropolitan area, consisting of the municipalities of Benito Juárez and Isla Mujeres, grouped 584,120 people, constituting it as the twenty-sixth most populous city in the country and the one with the highest annual growth rate.

Tourists by the dozens
As the most touristic city in Mexico, Cancun has a sophisticated and first-class infrastructure, represented in 380 restaurants and 140 hotels with 27,522 rooms, more than 200 fun places and different tourist places such as golf courses, ecotourism parks, museums and shopping centers, which allow it to receive, on average, three million visitors a year, mainly from Mexico, the United States and Canada on 190 daily flights.

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The hotel zone of this resort, one of the most exclusive and expensive on the planet, has as its main objective tourists, their stay and fun in the city, so most hotel chains offer packages that include accommodation, food and recreation.

The approximately 190 daily flights that arrive in the city arrive at the Cancun International Airport, which is located 16 kilometers from the city and has an area of 680 hectares; This airport, the second largest in the country, received in 2006 11 million 233 thousand 564 people.

Reasons to be safe
Due to the city's high tourist demand and its accelerated growth, insecurity and crime are taking over the streets of Cancun. The attacks against public officials, the robberies, the disputes between gangs composed of young people whose ages range between 12 and 22 years, in addition to the arrival of cartels that dispute the drug trafficking of the area, turned the town into a place that needs better security conditions, for both inhabitants and visitors.

As you know, insecurity is not just a problem in Cancun. In all the cities of the world there are cases of crime and violence that affect the population and the good economic and social performance of the localities, therefore, in this spa city of Mexico the local government invested in state-of-the-art technology to provide greater security to its inhabitants and tourists.

Through the implementation of a new public security system, based on the installation of IP domes, Vicon, model SVFT-W23, with 360-degree movement, the local authorities of Cancun monitor day and night the urban area of the city.

This new project, which began in 2006, is connected wirelessly, through links of the Proxim brand, Tsunami model, to the public safety building, from where Cisco equipment is carried and connected to digital recorders and network recorders.  This citizen monitoring system was mounted on prefabricated Winsted furniture, in order to monitor the 60 points 365 days a year.

Protection on public roads
The integrating firm, Telecomunicaciones de Yucatan S.A, Teleyucsa, together with the local government of the municipality of Benito Juárez, in development of its public security policy, began the installation of 60 IP cameras, which comprise the first phase of this system in the main avenues and markets of the city, especially the hotel zone. At the end of last year, the municipality expanded the project to 100 more cameras, which are currently being placed, with 160 surveillance cameras on public roads.

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José Gilberto Flota, sales manager of Teleyucsa, explains that this security system has three phases of development, the previously mentioned, the second that has been developed where the municipality acquired public buildings to reinforce the project and a third, in which new cameras will be installed in the 64 residential sectors with the highest criminal incidence and with the highest records of insecurity.

With this surveillance and protection project, in addition to the other actions of the public security plan, about 600,000 people who inhabit the city will benefit, in addition to the thousands of tourists who arrive in Cancun monthly.

An economy that asks for security
More than three decades ago Cancun had a population of 40,000 inhabitants of the town of Puerto Juárez and its lands were dedicated to the exploitation of palm. At the beginning of the seventies, the city became the most important holiday destination in Mexico thanks to the comprehensive tourism plan, which was developed by the Mexican government with a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank of 27 million dollars, through the National Tourism Fund.

Since then tourism has become the engine that moves the economy of the city, so much so that the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) awarded Cancun in February of this year the recognition "The best of the best" for being a tourist destination par excellence, and for the work and effort made by the authorities, the inhabitants and the different service providers to maintain the good name of the city and the country.

As security measures that protect the economic engine of the town, the inhabitants and visitors, the municipal government of Benito Juárez, through the Directorate of Public Security, has proposed and executed different security actions such as the increase of the police force and police booths throughout the city, purchase and equipment of vehicles, radio communication systems, education plans and the implementation of technological resources to provide greater protection and reduce insecurity in the city.

Remote and continuous surveillance
The implementation of the new comprehensive and remote surveillance system throughout Cancun was motivated by high crime rates, the dispute over the actions of organized crime, youth gangs and the increase in drug dealers.

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To carry out the installation of this surveillance and monitoring system, the first in the city, it was necessary to carry out a preliminary study and develop a solution for its implementation.

In mid-May 2006, the first 60 IP cameras that offer the city remote protection, 24 hours a day, in different places in the urban area began. And in August of the same year, Mayor Francisco Alor announced the fixing of 100 more cameras in public buildings and strategic areas of the municipality. It is expected that by the end of this period of government the city will have 500 IP cameras.

The new public safety project has special technical qualities that allow it to behave in a superior way, and to continue to fulfill its functions despite environmental difficulties. Additionally, it offers the possibility of moving the cameras from one place to another, facilitating the public force the prompt coverage of any criminal event, in addition to the surveillance of different areas depending on the crime reported.

Among its technical characteristics, José Gilberto Flota explains that the cameras installed are high-resolution color dome type, with day and night monitoring, and with 360-degree rotation capabilities; they also have vandal protection, so that they can be located outdoors. The cameras were linked through subscriber equipment of 90-degree sectoral antennas to a nodal site, which has 360-degree receiver equipment connected to four Vicon recorders, Kollector Elite model, with a storage capacity of approximately one Tb., which allows to store about 15 days of recording.

The monitoring process carried out with this equipment is carried out in three shifts of 10 operators each, who supervise six cameras per operator in 10 workstations.

Proven experience
The good results obtained in other facilities carried out in Mexico, the experience, in addition to the wide range of IP domes and the support offered, were the reasons that led this integrator to select the Vicon technology. Therefore, the government of the municipality of Benito Juárez gave its endorsement and confidence to the integrating firm.

"This technology has been in operation in Cancun for a year; at first there was a difficult problem to solve due to the interference of frequencies in the bands in which the wireless links work, but it was solved efficiently, "says Flota.

The end user, in this case the City Council of Benito Juárez, has been satisfied with the surveillance system, since there have been few failures and the results that have been obtained throughout these months represent significant advances for the public security of the city.

These new equipment have made it possible to identify the points of greatest insecurity and constantly monitor those places such as shopping centers, supermarkets and recreation areas, which due to their high influx of visitors can be key places for the actions of criminals. Additionally, there have already been some arrests of thieves, vandalism actors and traffic accidents have also been monitored, in which the culprits flee to be caught later and made available to the competent authority.

As this cancun comprehensive surveillance project is one of the most renowned in Mexico due to the importance of the city in the country, the integrating firm has as an imperative to provide the end user with an immediate technical service when the system presents failures. "Currently the functionality of the system is almost perfect and thanks to the support of Vicon, it has been possible to maintain surveillance in the city even during maintenance periods," says teleyucsa's Sales Manager.

Watch and watch = Security
Cancun's new ip camera security system allows law enforcement authorities to keep track of the different sites in the town, located within the four quadrants into which the city was divided for the installation of the cameras.

The constant surveillance of the cameras, in the rain or sun, day and night and in any direction facilitates the integration and coordination of the security mechanisms that the Public Security Directorate of the municipality of Benito Juárez has been carrying out in the city.

According to data from this agency, in 2005 there were 926 police officers in the city of Cancun, that is, for every 100,000 inhabitants there were 163 police officers, so to speak, to take care of 613 people, not counting tourists.  At the beginning of this year 300 places were opened for new troops, Measure that is expected to have positive effects on physical safety on public roads. Work is also under way to create a crime map to facilitate the design of joint strategies by all authorities against insecurity.

Another of the shortcomings of public security in the city were the vehicles for police use, for this reason 210 new patrol cars were purchased and the procedure for the acquisition of another 170 is being carried out. Likewise, the vehicles were equipped with radio communication systems that allow reducing response times to criminal acts, complaints and complaints from citizens, and strengthening surveillance and monitoring systems.

A few months ago, the local government announced that in mid-2007 the installation of 25 satellite geopositioners will be carried out in an equal number of patrols of the Public Security Directorate, which in turn will be networked with the 160 IP cameras that are currently in the city. The union of these two technological systems will allow the expansion and strengthening of public security.

In the very near future, if the City Council of Benito Juárez gives course to the project and authorizes the spaces, 28 kilometers of beach of the city will be monitored by the Tourist Police thanks to the financing of the Cancun Hotel Association. This action would not only be one more element to reinforce the security of the town, but will contribute to the development of new tourism plans and give visitors the necessary confidence to continue visiting this tropical paradise.

Additionally, last May the governor of the State of Quintana Roo, Felix González and the municipal president Francisco Alor, asked President Felipe Calderón for more resources for public security actions and for the acquisition of 140 new IP cameras to reinforce remote surveillance of the entire city.

The installation of the new monitoring and surveillance system of the city, supported by Teleyucsa, Vicon and Proxim, allows to have a broader and more optimistic vision of the management of security in the city, which, supported by the different strategies and policies developed by the local authorities will help reduce insecurity in Cancun and revitalize the city and his image before the world.

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