The Ministry of National Security is steadily increasing the network of cameras that are a part of the country’s national closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance programme, dubbed ‘JamaicaEye’.
The public-private partnership, launched in 2018, is designed to network CCTVs owned by the Ministry as well as accommodate feed from privately owned cameras.
Right across the island where the cameras have been installed, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are leveraging the cameras to assist their investigations of crime and maintaining public order.
The feeds provide useful footage in relation to criminal activity and other emergencies and are monitored by a team of security professionals.
Senior Director in the Major Technology Transformation Branch at the Ministry of National Security, Arvel Grant, tells JIS News that the number of cameras has grown from 180 at the launch to 840 currently.
He notes that CCTVs were recently installed at strategic locations in Santa Cruz and Black River in St. Elizabeth, and they will be brought fully online by the end of July.
Mr. Grant says that expansion continues through both Government-owned cameras and private partnership.
He notes that the participation of and partnership with private citizens who share footage from their cameras free of cost is integral to the success of the programme.
“So, we continue to engage the various stakeholder groups, business associations, etcetera, to share camera specifications with them and to help guide them through the process of acquiring and connecting those systems to ours,” he says.
He informs that meetings are held with various groups and associations, where presentations are made about the system.
“We actually do reports and presentations every quarter to the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Public Order Committee, where we give updates on JamaicaEye,” he shares.
Mr. Grant tells JIS News that “there is a definite willingness” on the part of private individuals and businesses to partner on the programme.
“That’s not an issue,” he says, noting that work is undertaken to rectify technical matters that may impact connection to the network.
These issues, he says, range from network configuration, Internet speed, firewall, camera specification, among others.
JamaicaEye is part of an overall thrust by the Ministry of National Security to transform the security architecture through investment in improving the technology, intelligence, infrastructure, and mobility of the JCF over the next few years.
Mr. Grant tells JIS News that the investment aims to ultimately bolster the efficiency of the JCF, while improving safety and security.
“It is meant to make high-quality evidence available, so that means investing in forensics and ballistic tools and surveillance systems like JamaicaEye so that there is a high quality of evidence available for presentation to the court as part of the package of evidence,” he explains.
Jamaicans interested in connecting to JamaicaEye can register online at https://jamaicaeye.gov.jm/.
To participate, persons should have camera systems that are outside the home or business and face a public space; can be connected to the Internet; have an Internet protocol (IP)-based system, preferably, although persons with older cameras will not be excluded; and have a resolution of two megapixels or higher.
JamaicaEye falls under Plan Secure Jamaica, which is geared towards creating a safe, secure, cohesive and just society, thereby creating an environment for increased and sustained growth and prosperity.