Maintenance costs extra for CCTV

The estimated $2.8 million it will cost to fully develop a closed-circuit television monitoring system for public areas on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac over the next two years does not include yearly maintenance costs.

According to officials with the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, the contractor selected to install and maintain the first phase of the CCTV project – the Security Centre – will be put on a fixed camera maintenance schedule that will be monitored by Cayman’s 911 Emergency Centre.

The 911 assistant director responsible for supervising CCTV and the electronic monitoring system, which was implemented for police, court, and prison detainees last year, had not been hired as of last week. Portfolio Deputy Chief Officer Eric Bush said it is hoped that new position could be filled by April.

“They will be the individual who will hold, whether it [is] the Security Centre or whether it [is] company Y, accountable to the contract that we’ve signed with them,” Mr. Bush said.

The first phase of CCTV camera installation, which was awarded to the Security Centre and included the set up of a system to transmit and store images collected by the cameras, cost approximately $2 million. Some 167 cameras in 60 locations around Grand Cayman are included as part of the plan.

The second phase of CCTV development, with an approximate cost of $800,000, will set up another 180 cameras on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. That contract will be bid out in the coming months.

It is ultimately the contracted company’s responsibility to make sure the various CCTV cameras are performing as expected.

“As you can imagine…with the seasons that we have, the cameras are only as good as how clean the lens is,” Mr. Bush said. “Whilst they will be weather-proof, [a camera] still has to have visible glass; salt spray for example, these are all things that we took into account.

“There are provisions in there for simple things like cleaning the lens,” he said. “The [911 assistant director] would be responsible for creating a schedule or a regimen which would ensure that all of these minor things are taken care of, but also that they are monitored to ensure we don’t have a situation, unfortunately like at the dump, where three of their nine cameras were not working.”

When George Town landfill worker Anna Evans went missing on 27 January, it was discovered that three of the nine CCTV cameras at the landfill had not been working at the time she disappeared. They have since been repaired.

Once the entire public CCTV system is up and running, it is expected there will be 346 cameras at more than 100 locations around the two Islands. Government officials could not immediately provide estimates of annual maintenance costs.

The ability to maintain the CCTV system is a key factor to private sector support for the project, said Chris Duggan, who acted as the private sector liaison to the government’s CCTV steering committee.

Government is hoping that at least some of the $800,000 left to be spent on the project’s development will be put up by private businesses, but he said there are no promises yet.

“They want to see that we can operate a viable system,” Mr. Bush said.

1 COMMENT

  1. So much money to spy on innocent Civilians than Criminals! So if Im an innocent witness to a murder and I am scared to testify because I wouldnt want the killers to do anything to me and my family. The government that got me on there CCTV recordings, can now compel me to testify or else imprisonment. The same CCTV camaras to help catch criminals, is now a replacement for Police Officers work on the street, and invades my privacy. Some of you dont like someone to just come up to you and snap a photo from their camara, because you have the right as a citizen to not have a record or image of yourself being displayed – that is your right! Imagine now… you have camaras twenty-four-sevens recording your ins and your outs. And you have a Police Service that is more concerned about writing tickets, road blocks, and catching traffic offenders… but does little to fight the serious crimes. People, 300 government camaras intall all around Cayman! This sounds to me like we may be gravitating towards a Police State. God help us when the Premier or Governor decides to become DICTATOR! I say has any CCTV advocate ever considered our basic human rights and freedoms with all these eyes looking on us?

  2. There was much ballyhoo when the cctv were installed in Northside. A friends house was broken into a month ago and the first thing he did was to ask to check the cameras. You guessed it. The response was. Oh the cameras were not working last night. I certainly hope that this is not simply another waste of everyones time and money.

  3. It absolutely ridiculous that the cameras already in place seem to not be working when needed. Whoever is responsible for maintaining them should also be financially liable in cases when they are not working during a crime that could have been solved if they were. A history of non functional Cameras will just make crooks say these things never work anyway, what will happen is they will only work spying on Civilians in lieu of Crooks.

  4. Here is a crazy idea. Why not put up red light cameras instead of CCTV cameras. And speed trap cameras.

    The profit you can make from those ventures. Can offset the cost of more armed police officers.

    And you make driving safer on the island. BAM, solve two problems.

  5. CCTV will not return any value for money – short or long term. The only real purpose is for deterrence/prevention or to allow for better deployment of resources in the event of an event taking place.

    The experience of CCTV from the UK (which has the highest ratio of cameras to public in the world) shows:
    1. images are of such poor quality they are rarely suitable as evidence to put before a court.
    2. Criminals quickly adapt to the presence of cameras by wearing nondescript clothing and hoods/hats/masks/scarves to hide their identity
    3. Crime is displaced to areas not covered by cameras.
    4. The costs of monitoring such a system is prohibitive. Either you pay scores of people to permanently monitor OR you only look at the images after the event – in the latter case no crime is ever prevented while in progress. Can you imagine having to look through 347 different camera images?
    5. There is an additional cost in retaining with integrity, the images even for a short period of time (28 days would be the norm unless they are required for evidence)

    This will be a drain on the finances for crime fighting for years to come with any advantages being, at best, marginal. Even the UK House of Commons has reports that suggest it is not the panacea suggested for it.

  6. I can only imagine how many armed officers this money could have put on the street. A CCTV Camera system could have been privatized for Businesses and Home owners that would be willing to pay for the service.

  7. The first comment to this thread by Bodden is disturbing and the reason crime is increasing. With the small size of the island, most people are connected in some way. When people know about crimes and dont report them, they are enablers to the increasing crime rate. This country cannot survive with so many people turning a blind eye to these crimes regardless of the personal connection.

  8. Just to add to the debate – some local authorities (responsible for the operation and monitoring of CCTV in the UK) are abandoning 24 hour monitoring because of the huge cost and their systems will be simply recording systems where law enforcement will have to search for particular incidents. No longer will they be able to see, real time, what is happening or be allowed to follow an incident as it develops because they wont be alerted to it.
    This means one of the two key reasons for having the syetm – to allow for deployment of resources as appropriate to a moving and fast changing situation is denied.

    The Beachbum

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