Lowering the crime rate for urban development and citizen safety and protection: The challenge of the city of Tigre
C&C User Forum & iEXPO2016 Seminar Report
December 27, 2016
"Together with NEC, we are strategic allies aiming to improve this safety policy which is currently serves as a model in Argentina"
Last November 1, 2016, Mr. Julio Zamora, Mayor of the City of Tigre in Argentina, gave a lecture at the International Forum in Tokyo. His main purpose was to point out both the challenges and the achievements of the city in terms of lowering the crime rate. This was all achieved with the implementation of an urban development plan and policies to protect citizens in collaboration with NEC, the Japanese multinational leader in technology and communications. He thanked the company for having achieved better citizen awareness of safety, converting Tigre into a benchmark in Argentina and neighboring countries, and making it possible to continue progressing together in this matter.
Tigre, a city with unique appeal, potential, and values
First, he introduced the city of Tigre, located 30 km from Buenos Aires, by showing a promotional video. He also pointed out that Tigre has an area of 370 km2, of which 60% is made up of islands. Currently it is one of the five most important tourist destinations in Argentina, with 5 million domestic and international tourists visiting annually. Tigre has also been selected by the NGO Green Destinations as one of the 100 best destinations in the world. The mayor mentioned the importance and beauty of the river delta as a tourist attraction and natural drive for supply thanks to an exemplary delta management plan that promotes the preservation of the ecosystem. He reminded everyone that Tigre is known as the national rowing capital, with multiple clubs dedicated to the sport in the delta—a consequence of European integration at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. All this creates a unique identity that has led to requesting that the United Nations declare it a site of historic heritage.
Citizen protection policies
The mayor explained the process followed to create the current model safety system together with NEC and showed a second video to summarize the purpose of the conference and describe citizen protection policies. In 2007, when Sergio Massa, his predecessor, became mayor of Tigre, it was considered the national capital of extortion and kidnapping. Added to this was the fact that local governments were not involved in safety issues at a time of significant demographic growth and increasing tourism. Since the last decade of the twentieth century, and the first years of the twenty-first century, sustained growth has been of about 33% every 10 years. Consequently, the Municipalities' involvement in issues of citizen safety was proposed as an electoral item.
It was starting in 2007, with the implementation of the citizen safety system, that Tigre had already become a benchmark in issues of prevention and safety at the local level. The first monitoring cameras and complete information technology re-equipment of the safety area were incorporated in 2008 thanks to NEC's services, following a protocol of action that guarantees privacy and the use of cameras exclusively for the prevention of crime, accidents, and other casualties.
Selection of the best strategic partner, NEC
Just as the Mayor clarified, NEC was chosen because it is the only company that guarantees not only an innovative package of technological solutions for the fight against crime, but also offers extensive work experience in Argentina and good knowledge of the problems of the country. He insisted that it is important not only to have the technological tools, but also the human capital and knowledge of the area required to make solutions applicable. Thus, he showed a slide about the recent study performed in 25 municipalities in the areas near Buenos Aires which reveals that the citizens of Tigre have a safety perception rate very much above that of citizens of other districts, except for Ezeiza District.
Investment, commitment and innovation: the COT, Tigre's Center of Operations
Tigre has a unique system in Argentina that works in coordination with security forces, the Police, Gendarmerie, Prefecture, Fire Department, Civil Defense and the municipal ambulance system SET, or Tigre Emergency System. All this is centralized and monitored from the COT to fight crime and react rapidly to casualties, catastrophes, or accidents.
Concretely, it has a very valued method: Tigre Alert 2.0 which has been purchased by more than 25% of total homes and 70,000 residents. This allows for any registered citizen to send a silent alert to the COT for it to act.
The DAMA device (Alert Device for Abused Women) is a mechanism to avoid and fight against a key problem in Argentina where approximately 300 women per year are victims of domestic violence.
The patrol car monitoring platform controls the routes taken by police cars by displaying a heat map that shows where crime is concentrated at a certain time.
The toll free number to anonymously report drug trafficking. For a municipality such as Tigre that does not have the tools to control drug trafficking, an anonymous report allows the Federal Government and federal prosecutors to act. There is also a drone system, and buildings have been built to decentralize the public attorney's offices and to bring justice closer to citizens, and a judicial area has been created with four courts, two for Guarantees and two for Family Proceedings. Likewise, he pointed out the permanent training system received by security agents.
Two videos were presented in order to show the effectiveness of the Center's actions. They show how, in the face of a traffic accident and a home fire, the Tigre system allows the different areas of public services and safety to work in a coordinated and connected way.
NEC's added-value solutions
Behavior Analysis for urban scenarios has the purpose of detecting abnormal actions of people or vehicular traffic in specific scenarios or contexts, such as train stations, banking areas, highways, streets, and public parks. The technology used is the NEC IAPRO Analytical Video and IP Camera Platform.
Urban facial recognition with NEC NeoFace Watch and Full-HD IP cameras makes it possible to identify wanted or lost persons, and alert the COT and the Law. It was installed in 3 public transportation terminals: a bus terminal, a train station, and a river terminal. With this tool, it has been possible to collaborate with organizations such as Missing Children since 2013.
License plate recognition, also known as a "searcher", captures the license plates at the main routes of access to the city to compare them with the list of wanted vehicles and alert the center immediately. Therefore, 20 fixed cameras were installed, as well as a software system integrated with the video management system. This solution has helped to lower car theft by 80% between 2008 and 2013. It must be kept in mind that, unlike other misdemeanors or theft, residents file a police report in cases of car theft in order to collect the insurance. This is what makes it easier to register and verify the total number of vehicles stolen and recovered.
Finally, with the Citizen Collaboration for Safety alarm management solution). The purpose is to promote citizen participation in protecting senior citizens, disabled persons, public transportation, schools, and hospitals. A NEC platform was installed which integrates and manages all the alerts received at the COT through the different anti-panic button devices, social networks, and other applications. This has made it possible to obtain an immediate and geolocated analysis of the situation, and also optimizes the capacity for response.
Challenges, achievements, and projection towards the future
The mayor insisted that the key factors that have enabled the development of optimal public policy for citizen protection are NEC's contributions, the availability of highly trained and committed technicians and specialists, and the exercise of a modern, flexible, and open administration set on incorporating innovative technological practices. Thus, he highlighted the municipality's pioneering character and capacity to adapt.
In conclusion, "being a safe city has allowed us not only to lower crime and casualty rates, but it has also impacted other aspects such as the economy, investment, environment, and tourism". For all this, he expressed his satisfaction, and that of his branch of government, for having chosen NEC as a strategic partner. After thanking the large audience's attention as well, he concluded with an invigorating and gratifying message for the company and the citizens of Tigre: "We have the conviction that we will continue walking together in the future because we share the same desire and the same vocation for working to create an increasingly safer city."