Ecuador installs 2,400 cameras across the country and a high tech control room to monitor street and foot traffic --- as it strives to become one of the safest countries in the region. Nathan Frandino reports.
In what looks like a NASA control room, operators in Ecuador are standing by. With 2,400 cameras installed across the country, authorities here are keeping a closer eye on major streets, walkways, and parks. It's part of a new initiative to modernize the entire country's crime response. Officials say it's a much needed change. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ECU 911 NATIONAL DIRECTOR, CESAR NAVAS, SAYING: "Before we had different phone numbers to institutions and they all acted differently in different places with different protocols." President Rafael Correa inaugurated this latest center on Friday. It's one of 15 built since 2012. Officials claim the project has saved more than 8,000 lives so far. According to a recent Gallup poll, locals say they feel safer now than they did four years ago, but the impact of the center was not mentioned. Officials hope the improvements continue. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ECU 911 NATIONAL DIRECTOR, CESAR NAVAS, SAYING: "We don't want to be the safest country in the region, we want to be one of the safest countries in the world and that is why we are going to invite the whole region to make an effort." The security centers work in coordination with the armed forces, police, fire department and more.