Fighting Crime in Tunapuna with Cameras

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Let us vow to actively search out partnerships that will continue to create that environment of excellence for which our community has long been known

Ramon Gregorio

By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Tunapuna region is striving to be a model community, not just in physical establishments but also in setting the trend in crime fighting measures. 

President of the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry and Commerce Ramon Gregorio recently praised the area for producing national stalwarts and being home to the University of the West Indies (UWI) main Trinidad and Tobago campus as well as the Piarco International Airport. 

Speaking at a breakfast meeting on Monday, which was attended to by Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, Gregorio said, “The very ground on which we walk and drive every day is imbued with history and bears testimony to the strength and longevity of this community. Generation after generation has thrived in this Tunapuna region. But, even more, it is in our very DNA to live as community, to build bonds and create networks within and outside of our boundaries.”

Acknowledging that Tunapuna was not untouched by crime, poverty and other social ills he encouraged attendees to envision a future in which Tunapuna will be looked upon for guidance. 

Through the Chamber, and the Tunapuna Regional Corporation as well as others, he said solid business relationships will be developed that will also benefit the wider community.  

Gregorio said, “One such initiative is the use of technology via our silent alert system in increasing our response to crime in our area. This revolutionary system is Tunapuna’s response to the rising instances of crime and has been developed with you, the Tunapuna stakeholder, in mind.”

The president’s Christmas wish is for continued commitment to networking for improvement in Tunapuna. 

“Let us vow to actively search out partnerships that will continue to create that environment of excellence for which our community has long been known,” he said. 

The Corporation’s Chairman Josiah Austin and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Pennywise Cosmetics Ltd, Dalvi Paladee also spoke at the event. 

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly was also in attendance.  

Pioneering in business security  

The silent operating system (SOS) is an initiative of the Tunapuna Police Station Community Council, a partnership between civilians and the police. 

Vice-president of the Tunapuna Police Station Community Council, Nebert Marin visited US cities, New York and Miami where he observed the alert system in use by the business community. 

President of the Council and a civilian Neil Boodoosingh further explained to AZP News how the (SOS) works. 

He said through a partnership with El Socorro-based private company Ultimate Solutions Ltd, cameras are being set up along Tunapuna from the west starting at St John’s Road to the east at Tacarigua River, along the Eastern Main Road. The cameras will also be set up along the Pasea Main Road.  

President of the Tunapuna Police Station Community Council Neil Boodoosingh

The cameras which, if had to be bought would cost approximately $300,000 for the 100 cameras that will be installed by Christmas. 

Each camera is strategically placed and may be able to provide coverage for at least three small to medium-sized businesses. 

Boodoosingh explained that all the cameras will be monitored by the National Operation Centre, the Tunapuna Police Station and the Tunapuna Municipal Police. 

Almost 30 cameras are already up and operational. 

By mid January 2024, key personnel in the business establishments would have access to a small device that could fit in the palm of the hand that allows for  connectivity to the three monitoring bodies. 

“There is a button on that device that you can press. Once that is pressed, the National Operation Centre, the Tunapuna Police Station and the Tunapuna Municipal Police will all receive an alert. They will get a buzz at their monitoring stations and a light will also come on. The cameras will not be monitored unless the system becomes active, meaning you don’t have some-one sitting down and watching the system all day,” he said.

Once the alert goes off at the monitoring stations, via an app, neighbouring businesses will also receive an alert that a crime is being committed so they can better protect themselves and alert others as well. 

Boodoosingh said with the centralised camera system, it will also protect businesses where crimes have been committed as they are sometimes targeted after releasing their personal camera footage. 

All businesses on board will pay an average of a maintenance fee of $66 per month for the camera maintenance and less than $100 for the SOS device. 

He said, “This is ensure connectivity at all times. If a camera is not working properly, the mandate is to have it either fixed or replaced in 48 hours.” 

Businesses varied in size and nature and some larger businesses were paying an average of $200 per month to have a camera set up directly in front of their establishment.

Payments can be made online and Boodoosingh said the fee was minimum so that smaller businesses could afford the service. 

To date, 300 businesses have signed on to the SOS system. 

Boodoosingh told AZP News, “We have to work in confines with the law. We can’t supply the police with guns but we could assist them with our use of technology. We need to come up with initiatives, we need to come up with solutions. We are joining forces with the police to help them to curb and to eliminate crime.” 

By the end of  February, 2024 the entire system should be fully operational. 

Boodoosingh said the technology could be adopted by other communities noting that once crime in the Tunapuna region was decreased, criminals may venture to other areas. 


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