– as Govt looking to implement ‘Smart City, Safe City’ programmeWhen it was implemented in Mexico, the ‘Smart City, Safe City’ programme was lauded for its success rates. Plans are currently being developed for Guyana to get its own version of this programme; including the construction of a unified command centre.Citizenship Strengthening and Security Programme (CSSP) Project Coordinator, Clement HenryAccording to Citizenship Strengthening and Security Programme (CSSP) Project Coordinator Clement Henry, all that was being awaited was approval to begin construction of this command centre… for which a design has already been sourced. In a sit down with the media, Henry explained how it would work.“All information coming in will be processed and observed at the unified command centre. We have been negotiating with these other agencies,” he related. “There’s a design already out there and it is just for us to move, once we get the go ahead, is to proceed with the procurement for the construction of that building.”“We believe that this surveillance system will contribute greatly to both crime prevention and crime investigation. Because with the videos that come into the command centre, they can do post event analysis that will be helpful in tracking down offenders.”It was in 2016 that Government officials went on a trip to China on a quest to secure smart city technology for the programme. While in China, they were supposed to observe innovative ways to upgrade Guyana’s surveillance system and further develop the Smart City Project, which has been identified as one of the CSSP’s initiatives under the US$15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).Local law enforcement officials have been able to use footage from surveillance cameras around the city to assist in investigations into criminal activities; however many are critical, stating that the cameras are either inferior or too few.Besides this initiative, Henry had recently announced that the CSSP will facilitate the construction of 18 victim-friendly Police stations, which are slated to be completed by the end of 2018. These stations are being redesigned to address the capacity issues in responding to crime and violence within the country, which includes physical violence against women.An example of a convergent command centre at the Huawei Safe City Summit in 2016Henry, in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), described domestic violence as a “serious issue.” It is within this context that the stations are being fashioned to include materials, equipment, and rooms that are convenient for reports and complaints to be made against perpetrators.The modernisation of these stations is expected to foster an environment conducive to the efficient reporting system that caters specifically to victims.Henry claimed that the CSSP is currently procuring a consultancy firm to conduct a full diagnostic review in order to understand and resolve any and all issues victims have relating to reporting matters and identifying perpetrators.“We are designing the Police stations in a user-friendly manner… we’ve noticed from the safe neighbourhood surveys that many times people are reluctant [to make reports]… sometimes they complain that when they make a report, particularly domestic violence reports, [that] there is not enough confidentiality in the way they have to make the report at the open enquiries desk.”Plans are on stream to construct special rooms for domestic violence interviews as well as rooms for Identification Parades so that victims are not placed face-to-face with and intimidated by perpetrators.Construction began on 12 Police stations in the last quarter of 2017 and another six are slated to commence by the second quarter of 2018. The Cane Grove Police Station is almost entirely completed using the refurbished design and is currently awaiting Intercom Systems.Construction of redesigned stations in Mibicuri, La Grange, Kwakwani, Mackenzie, Issano, and Annai are moving apace. Among the six stations that are slated to commence construction this year are those located at Whim, Albion, and Springlands.
SAN DIEGO – Erinn and Alton McCormick had no idea when they bought their house in June that it sat directly beneath a weak hillside. On Thursday, it sat buried up to the roofline by a wall of earth and cracked asphalt studded with pieces of curb, eucalyptus and palm tree that used to be across the street. Residents returning to the shaken neighborhood – whether just to grab some things and take photos to show insurance adjusters or, if they were lucky, to stay for good – struggled to figure out who to blame for the landslide that took a chunk out of their La Jolla hillside a day earlier. The collapse came just hours after engineers hired to inspect an earth slippage that was first spotted in July warned residents not to sleep in their homes because of the potential for instability in an area that has suffered landslides in the past. It sent four homes sinking down the slope and shoved tons of dirt up to the roofline of the McCormicks’ house on the street below. In all, nine homes had severe structural damage that put them off limits and 18 others remained yellow-tagged for further inspection before they can be reoccupied. The only possible exception is if homeowners prove the landslide was caused by something that is covered, like utility-line ruptures, said Jennifer Kearns, a spokesman for the California Department of Insurance. “If the history of inspections of pipelines on Mount Soledad indicates that leakage isn’t an isolated event, if it keeps happening and they just deal with it, you have to ask what kind of work have they been doing over the past 10 years,” said Ahmed Elgamal, a professor of structural engineering at the University of California, San Diego. “If it’s been active that’s a sign that in certain areas it’s an expected event that the pipes would move.” The city spotted cracks on Soledad Mountain Road in July and water and gas main breaks in August. A water line in the neighborhood was replaced with an above-ground pipeline in September to avert damage, and engineers were in the area installing measuring devices just as the land began to shift. Residents below the slide’s origin, like the McCormicks, said they didn’t have any warning that the hill above might give way. According to San Diego real-estate attorney George Berger, California laws don’t necessarily require individual sellers to disclose information about previous landslides, especially if there isn’t any evidence of movement on the property itself.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “They told us the worst-case scenario was six feet of dirt in our front yard,” said Erinn McCormick, 37, who said she first heard that engineers were concerned about a slip a month after she moved into her “dream house.” “Then I talked to an engineer yesterday morning before I took my kids to school, and he said, `I wouldn’t stay here if I were you.”‘ McCormick, who could see her buried house from a police checkpoint but hadn’t been able to return and inspect it, said she had spent days calling city officials about a water leak in her street. She didn’t get a response until Monday, two days before the collapse, when workers finally turned off a hydrant. A total of 111 homes were evacuated after the slide. Residents of 84 undamaged houses were allowed to return Thursday. “They told me I wouldn’t ever be able to get back in, but it’s absolutely perfect,” said Jeanne Plante, 43, who said she was just planning to remodel her $1.7 million mountainside house. “I probably lost half a million in equity overnight, though.” Many insurers provide homeowners’ policies that protect against earthquakes and floods but they have shied away from covering landslides, which only affect a relatively small number of people.