A victory for the police and JamaicaEye

A victory for the police and JamaicaEye

Friday, July 10, 2020

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The value of the island's investment in the national closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system, better known as JamaicaEye, was on display on Wednesday afternoon when the police effectively used the technology to apprehend four men suspected to have been committing a series of robberies in the capital city over the past few days.

The men, police reported, were travelling in a motor vehicle which was intercepted at the intersection of Molynes Road and Washington Boulevard. The police also reported that a firearm was seized in that operation.

Hopefully the police will gather all the evidence needed to prove their case and, if indeed the men held on Wednesday afternoon are guilty, they should be made to face the full force of the law.

Wednesday's incident has encouraged us to reiterate our support for the CCTV system which, we recall, was effective in the authorities quickly identifying and tracking a taxi driver who had mowed down a police constable on traffic management duties at the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Worthington Avenue in St Andrew in January this year.

Previous to the installation of the system that rogue driver would most likely have got away with his criminal act and, who to tell, could have committed a similar crime afterwards, knowing fully well that the chances of him being caught were slim.

The use of technology, we hold, is vital in any anti-crime effort. People who continue to doubt that should reflect on the two cases we have highlighted. And if those are not convincing enough, recall the experience of the Metropolitan Police in London after the attempted bombings of July 21, 2005 in that city. CCTV footage released by that police service helped in the arrests and eventual conviction of four men who had attempted to replicate suicide bombings that had killed 52 people two weeks earlier in that city.

In the past, we had, in this space, pointed to the effectiveness of China's 'Dragonfly Eye' CCTV system which has been helping the police in Shanghai, a city with more than 24 million inhabitants, track down and apprehend criminals.

Readers will recall our highlighting the fact that within three months of the Dragonfly Eye system being up and running the Shanghai police had detained 567 suspected criminals on the city's subways, as the technology is able to match faces against a database and send photos to police on the streets.

We are encouraged that since the launch of JamaicaEye in 2018, with a mere 180 cameras owned and operated by the State in May Pen, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Mandeville, and Kingston, the number of cameras have increased. In fact, in that year we reported that more than 100 private partners had joined the JamaicaEye network as more citizens have accepted that we all have a role in helping to fight crime.

There is no doubt that criminals have become more sophisticated in their operations. As such, advanced technology, with the latest detection tools, give law enforcers a significant advantage.

The police did very well on Wednesday, and we commend them for their determination to ensure the preservation of public safety. At the same time, we encourage more citizens to keep in mind that the constabulary needs the help of all law-abiding Jamaicans to complement the edge that the technology affords law enforcers.

Additionally, the public should remember that there are many avenues open to them to give information to the authorities, and these are avenues that won't compromise personal safety.


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