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First phase of CCTV program by mid-2011

The first phase of the national closed circuit television(CCTV)program will be launched in the central and downtown areas and in the major crime hot spots in the inner city communities by mid-2011, it was revealed yesterday.

CCTVs are already in several tourist locations including parts of downtown Nassau and Cable Beach. However, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Peter Deveaux-Isaacs revealed yesterday that more focus will be placed on the Over-the-Hill communities.

“We are doing this to defend our way of life,”Deveaux-Isaacs said during a luncheon hosted by the National Steering Committee and the Royal Bahamas Police Force yesterday at police headquarters.

“We have crime levels in The Bahamas that are unacceptably high. Bahamians everywhere are saying enough is enough. People are repulsed by the crime levels. The violence that has caused our communities to be unsafe has caused all of us a level of discomfort and fear.”

Deveaux-Isaacs said the government will invest”significant”manpower and resources to initiate the national effort.

The ongoing management of the program is expected to cost between$500,000 to$1 million, according to Steering Committee member Frank Comito. Additionally, the acquisition site for the program’s command center and camera equipment is expected to cost about$100,000 to$200,000.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Quinn McCartney said the CCTVs would be installed in areas that present the most challenges.

During the first phase over 85 cameras will be installed in strategic areas around the island. Police recently did a walk-about to determine where those cameras would be placed.

A central command center will also be established to monitor and manage the footage from the cameras.

Kirk Rhodes, a consultant with U.S. based Hudson Sterling LLC, said while the program will not deter criminals all together, it will significantly enhance crime prevention and act as a force multiplier.

Hudson Sterling will guide the bidding process to ensure that the system that is chosen suits the country’s specific needs. That company will also guide the implementation process.

Public bidding is expected to commence sometime in January 2011.

As it relates to privacy concerns, steering committee member George Rodgers said the committee will ensure that the public is aware of the areas in which CCTVs are located.

“So you’ll have an opportunity to behave yourselves,”he said.

Additionally he added that cameras will not invade the privacy of people’s homes in the areas where there are cameras.

Deputy Police Commissioner Marvin Dames said he is confident that the program will have a direct impact on the police’s crime fighting initiatives.

“It is not a panacea but I am confident that it will greatly assist us in crime prevention,”he said.

He added that the implementation of CCTV has already had a tremendous impact on the collection of evidence and the police’s ability to bring criminals to justice.

Dames said he is looking forward to the national launch of the program.

The pilot phase of the program began last year in the downtown area and in areas of southern New Providence.

There is no definite date for the launch of phase two of the program.

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