Vicente López, one of the 135 districts that make up the Buenos Aires province, started a project at the end of 2011 to modernise and expand the city’s video surveillance system. In addition to capturing criminal activity, the project’s main goal has always been to reduce crime through preventive measures.
Stretching over 33 square kilometres, Vicente López is home to about 300,000 people. In recent years, the flow of population that moves through the district has risen considerably. Thousands move daily through the region on their way to and from the federal capital, via personal or public transport (there are three railways and a Metrobus, as well as a busy highway through the suburbs’ northern zone). These demands, together with other phenomena, made a high demand for the city’s video surveillance system to be improved.Vicente López has different alarm systems, panic buttons, lights and a digital dispatch console, which are connected to police cell phones
“Today, we have 1,000 cameras in public channels and another 100 connected in the local security guards’ and civil defence cell phones. In addition, we count on the Urban Monitoring Center, the heart of our video surveillance system, and ten local preventive detachments that use their own monitoring centres. This decentralises security to key areas in the district,” said Martín Gasulla, Deputy Security Secretary of Vicente López while remembering that in the past the system had only 60 cameras, not all of which functioned properly.
The city benefits from a wide array of cameras made by Pelco, Bosch and Axis Communications that range from PTZ to anti-vandalism, in both dome and fixed models. In addition, Vicente López has different alarm systems, panic buttons, lights and a digital dispatch console, which are connected to police cell phones.
Integrated video management
The project’s main challenge became finding a platform that supported all these security systems. The first step was to unify the three existing video management systems into one, “which worked until we reached a certain growth point, when we opted for a more robust solution,” explained Gustavo A. Vilches, director of Exanet S.A., the integrator company involved.Milestone XProtect video management software receives and distributes data from all of the municipality’s security tools
Exanet chose Milestone XProtect Professional video management software (VMS) to manage the project’s demand for a growing number of cameras. “One of this solution’s biggest advantages as an open platform that allows us to offer additional solutions to our clients,” Vilches explained. Milestone XProtect video management software receives and distributes data from all of the municipality’s security tools, ensuring that information helps city officials make better-informed decisions.
The Vicente López system is connected by fibre network optics. The cameras capture an image, the content moves through the network to the VMS and is displayed in the Urban Monitoring Center, which also includes a Data Center and storage servers. Normally, the protected information remains there for 30 days, unless there is a special petition by judicial authorities or police to use or view it.
Towards federated architecture
Santiago Espeleta, Vicente López Secretary of Security, says that one of the biggest changes in daily operations “is being able to integrate other solutions like analytics technology, which has led to better results for crime prevention and decision-making.” According to him, one of the project’s biggest challenges was the financing by public resources. “This is our residents’ money, and for this reason every decision was made extra carefully. We couldn’t afford the luxury of making errors, so we searched for top-of-the-line providers, analysed them and made a decision,” he affirmed.
According to district authorities, the objective between now and 2019 is to increase the video system to 1,500 cameras that record in full HD, 365 days of the year. Vilches says they are studying the possibility of upgrading to Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS to leverage its federated architecture.
Espeleta concludes that combining the human element with advanced technology is what guarantees the community’s well-being. “As a local government, we must work to ensure that people live better every day, and we can do so by employing trustworthy, high quality technology.”