Sunday, 15 November 2015

911 Ecuador

Chinese technology has helped to reduce crime in Ecuador with an emergency warning and monitoring system called ECU 911, providing residents with a toll-free emergency reporting hotline equipped with surveillance cameras.

The ECU 911 is a network system connecting Ecuador's various security and disaster relief agencies, such as police forces, fire departments and Red Cross to develop their reaction speed.

Crime in this country has dropped significantly since the implementation of ECU 911 in 2012. The homicide rate, for example, has been halved from 2009's 18.74 to 2014's 8.13 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to local authorities.

Other types of crime have also decreased, such as home or business break-ins and robberies.

Designed by China National Electronics Import and Export Corp.(CEIEC), the system is now covering the entire country via 16 command and control centers in Ecuador.

"We are contributing to making Ecuador a safe country," said Wang Fei, manager of CEIEC's Ecuadoran subsidiary.

"The results of the project have been positive...We know that the technology platform has helped safety and rescue agencies react efficiently in emergencies," he added.

ECU 911's deputy director, Andres Sandoval, told Xinhua that the system provides an integrated response to a variety of cases, including fires, assaults and disasters.

CEIEC's contribution "has been essential, because they have been patient with us and had the vision to work closely with us to learn about the reality of Ecuador, to be able to provide us a system tailored to our country and our needs," said Sandoval.

Ecuadoran technical personnel were trained in Beijing in operational procedures, as well as in the use of the hardware and software specially adapted to the country.

Now the system continues to evolve, with an ECU 911 smartphone application under development by local experts to help people report incidents in real time, with the added aid of GPS.

"The outcome of this operation has been confirmed. Ecuador is today one of the safest countries in Latin America," Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said in May.

Sandoval and Wang Fei both agree that video surveillance is one of the system's most novel features, and has generated interest in other South American countries, including Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.

"There's interest in these countries in having a similar system to improve security," said Wang. "They've called us and we have met with authorities there."

The cameras have helped boost the sense of security in the community.

Housewife Maria Lopez said "This system has been very good, because before cameras were installed, delinquents could commit theft or assault without being captured on video."

Ecuador's residents now enjoy great sense of security, ranking second only to Nicaragua in the region, according to a survey during Aug. 10 and Sept. 2 by Chilean firm Latinobarometro, in which 60 percent of some 1,200 respondents said they felt Ecuador was a safe place to live.

That sense of security contrasts sharply with other countries in Latin America, where violence is a top concern, including Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico.

Another project of China's CEIEC called "Transporte Seguro," or Safe Transport, has also helped to improve safety in Ecuador, with panic buttons and surveillance cameras on urban buses and taxis installed in 2013.

Both passengers and drivers "have the security of being monitored,"
with the images broadcast to ECU 911 centers, "so they can take action in case of an emergency," said Wang.

The first phase of the program has already served 55,000 vehicles, and the second phase aims to serve 17,000 more.