TAKE a look around while you walk through Torrevieja or wait at traffic lights and you are bound to have noticed some of the city’s CCTV cameras that watch over the municipality.
The video cameras and radar guns that make up the systems are designed for traffic control and the protection of public spaces and buildings throughout the city.
The video captured by these devices is received at a new Control Centre located in the Headquarters of Torrevieja’s Local Police and on Tuesday January 17, 14 co-ordinators from Torrevieja’s Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) were invited to Torrevieja’s Local Police Station to have a look at how it all works.
On hand to answer questions and provide a description of the system was Carlos Sala, ‘VYRIATO’ system Chief Coordinator, the Councillor for Security and Police, Eduardo Gil Rebello, Councillor for Foreign Residents, Rosario Martinez and Graham Knight from the International Residents Office.
The VYRIATO communications network is monitored seven day a week, 24-hours a day and permits operators to view all of the city’s 75 traffic cameras, 57 fixed cameras and 15 cameras located within the national parks, on 10 large screens and banks of computers, in order to detect, manage and protect the City of Salt.
The Camera locations feature automatic detection equipment that will log violations of traffic laws, flag any suspicious behaviour, such as lingering in front of a public building, storage of information about a vehicle’s position and velocity over time and in areas of security, to flag details of vehicles that might be planning illegal activity in the area.
The communications network allows the cameras to watch for suspicious activity around heritage buildings and public facilities and generate automatic and immediate alerts to aid in the prevention of vandalism.
The communications network also enables the control and management of traffic signals at key intersections and in certain parts of city, if you park illegally, on a zebra crossing or in a school zone, this activity will immediately be flagged and the police will be on their way, plus a tow truck, to the scene.
The system was part of the €10,960,031 that the city received as the second part of the FEIL state funding plan to generate employment and works in the city.
The system is unique in Spain and has attracted a lot of attention from other municipalities, so much so that many other townships attended the Alicante Smart City Conference last year, at which the system was the star attraction.
With Torrevieja also being in the unique position of being Spain’s only city with a population of over 100,000 residents but without a National Police station, the system goes a long way to making Torrevieja one of the safest city’s in Spain.
The cameras cover the local parks, schools (outside school hours), every route into and out of the city, all municipal buildings, churches, the main shopping streets, sports city, harbour area and pedestrian zones.
New cameras have recently been added to observe the fishing boat area after a spate of incidents in a the area and new audio pollution detectors are planned to isolate noise violators, primarily for those who modify scooters and motorbikes to try and make them sound louder, and less like a hairdryer!
If you fancy purchasing some ‘dodgy’ goods on the seafront, a new Gucci Bag or fake Ray Ban sunglasses for the unbelievable price of just €6, smile while you are doing so, as the Candid Camera ‘VYRIATO’ system is watching you do so.
The WOW factor was provided by the licence plate recognition system. This presently accounts for 16 cameras inside the city and includes specialised cameras that log details of every single vehicle that enters or leaves the city, all day, every day.
If the Police wish to check on a suspicious car, within two minutes one screen shows all the details of where the vehicle has been seen, and when, plus video footage of the vehicle and sometimes the occupants of it.
All of Torrevieja’s roundabouts, infamous for being both accident hotspots and occasionally for certain young ladies offering their charms for passing drivers, can be observed, and during the presentation NHW witnessed a number of accidents, between cars, mainly due to speeding through the roundabouts.
NHW coordinators concluded that the system was fascinating, sophisticated and goes a long way towards helping to make Torrevieja one of the safest cities in Spain to live in or visit.
By Keith Nicol