Video Surveillance Nabbing Criminals in Latin America
By Dialogo February 25, 2011
Authorities in Recife, Brazil had a problem.
Crime was rampant during the annual Carnival celebrations. The events draw
about 1.5 million people into the center of the city.
Adding enough police to patrol every street and alley was impossible, so they
turned to an increasingly popular tool for law enforcement and military forces in
Latin America: video surveillance cameras.
The government installed 50 Pelco Spectra PTZ cameras and ISS video servers,
which capture all activity within the city’s party areas.
The results were dramatic: Violent crime during Carnival dropped more than 30
percent after the cameras were installed in 2008.
Recife officials have announced plans to add 950 more cameras, and video
servers to store the images.
The network is part of an ever-expanding surveillance apparatus in Brazil and
Video cameras cover Alvorada Palace, the national presidential compound in
Brasilia, and Terminal Portuário de Itajaí in Santa Catarina, the second-largest
port in the country. Officials are also installing cameras at an important new
hydroelectric dam project.
"The demand for more sophisticated higher-bandwidth networks is increasing,"
said Carlos Pingarilho, director of technology for PromonLogicalis, a Brazilian
video surveillance and IT developer.
Military and police clients in Latin America are using the latest innovations
in video surveillance to investigate crimes – and even prevent them. They are
re-inventing policing with video technology and real-time analysis.
“Think ‘Minority Report,’” said Samantha Wolf, a spokeswoman for Puerto
Rico-based IT security firm Hoyos Corp. The police catch criminals before crimes
have even been completed in Minority Report, a 2002 Stephen Spielberg film. “It’s
revolutionary," she said.
Brazil is the largest and fastest growing market in South America for video
surveillance equipment, and one of the fastest growing markets globally, according
to Latin America Closed Circuit Cable TV (CCTV) and Video Surveillance: 2010
Edition, a new report by IMS Research. Argentina and Mexico are not far behind.
Large scale, government-funded security projects ahead of the 2014 World Cup
and 2016 Olympic Games fuel much of the demand. Brazil is expected to account for
nearly 35 percent of all sales of video surveillance equipment in Latin America in
2009, according to IMS Research. By 2014 that could rise to nearly 45 percent.
Video surveillance is growing in Latin America “despite the worldwide
economic slowdown,” according to the IMS report. It will continue to expand through
2015 as Latin American police and military customers demand new applications, like
face capture and recognition, traffic monitoring, transit and cargo container
recognition, license plate recognition and object tracking, which can be integrated
into current systems, the report said.
“With security and infrastructure challenges, including easy access to
dedicated high capacity networks that can be devoted to just video surveillance,
customers have quickly recognized the value of video analytics, allowing them to
easily deploy active surveillance that helps prevent incidents from occurring, not
just investigating a crime after it takes place,” said Mark Gally, vice president of
marketing at VideoIQ, Inc., based in Bedford, Mass.
Video surveillance can identify new criminal targets, corroborate
confidential source information and provide security to undercover operatives.
Information obtained from surveillance also can provide the probable cause
for obtaining authorization for other investigative techniques, such as search
warrants and wiretaps, security experts said.
Sometimes the technology is covertly deployed for drug surveillance in remote
“Solar-powered, hidden wireless video over cellular networks is the most
common video for covert surveillance where an Internet connection and power aren't
available,” security consultant Robert Siciliano said.
And when one police department has had success with a video surveillance
project, the officers often tell colleagues in other departments.
“Throughout Latin America, our market has largely grown through word of
mouth,” said Aluisio Figueiredo, Chief Operating Officer of Intelligent Security
Systems (ISS), a video surveillance provider with Latin American headquarters in Sao
Paulo, Brazil, and sales and support offices in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and