The Municipality of San José last weekend began installing 95 new security cameras at parks and other public areas in the capital with the aim at keeping surveillance around the clock.
Mayor Johnny Araya said the municipality wants citizens to feel safer in all of the city’s public spaces.
“We want people who visit our parks to feel safe and we know surveillance cameras help a lot to improve safety in public spaces,” Araya said Friday during a public event at the Zapote Park, east of the capital, where he presented the investment.
Araya said the municipality is investing approximately ₡360 million ($647,000) in improving the city’s video surveillance system, which currently has 120 cameras mainly in downtown San José.
The new cameras have the ability to record during the day and night, and can record images through fog and smoke.
The surveillance system is part of a public security plan that includes installing 300 cameras over the next four years in the central region of the capital.
Araya’s goal is to have some 500 cameras throughout the canton by the end of his term in 2020.
Municipal Police and National Police officers are responsible for operating the monitoring system and issuing alerts to officers patrolling the canton.
Besides improvements in the surveillance system, Araya said the municipality is increasing the number of Municipal Police officers, as he promised during his campaign.
“We hired new Municipal Police officers during our first day in office,” he said, adding that the increased number of officers on the streets in the past three months also allowed authorities to tighten control over street vendors.
The capital’s mayor said he’s received a large number of complaints in recent weeks from citizens worried about increased crime and insecurity in parks and other public spaces.
According to data from the Public Security Ministry, San José is the province with the highest crime figures in the country. More than half of crimes in the capital occur in the Central canton, the ministry reported.
Araya said the canton’s high crime rates are normal as San José is the country’s largest city with nearly one million people travelling across the city daily.
Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata will meet Wednesday with mayors from various municipalities to discuss a plan to improve surveillance and to hear about the cities’ main security problems.