Fighting crime with dronesPolice in Tijuana Mexico, one of the world most violent cities takes the fight on crime to the skies. Drones as first responders (DFR) are the new tool for police departments around the world
In just 7 months Tijuana Police department did more than 1.500 flights with their two DJI Matrice 200 drones, arresting more than 85 people and at the same time making the streets safer for police officers and inhibitants of Tijuana, Mexico.
World most violent city
In 2018 Tijuana was the most violent city in the world, according a report by a Mexican nonprofit group that ranked cities based on their homicide rates. 138 killings per 100,000 residents in 2018, or about seven killings on average per day according to the report.
-We had to something to try to improve both safety for our police officers on the street, but also to increase the precense of police in the city.We very rapidliy developed the drone-program early in 2019 and in May, just a few months later we were ready to start our first flight, says Ruvalcaba.
-The results has been very good and drones have truly made an impact in our work, says Eduardo Sarquiz Ruvalcaba a former commercial helicopter pilot, now operational manager for the drone program at Tijuana Police department.
Searching for criminals
The police operates the drones from a local control room, one officer controls the drones, another supports the operation and have visual line of sight during operation. A third officer controls the camera and are actively searching for activity that can have an interst for the police. In addition the police also responds to 911 calls. As in Chula Vista Police Department the police uses software by California-based Cape, which helps to automates the flying process, including takeoffs and landings and storage of the footage from the drones.
Looking at the map of Tijuana one could assume that the airport closeby would cause a problem, but Eudorado says there was never really a problem about this.
-The city of Tijuana were we operate in a lower than the airport, and we also have a geofencing for our operations, making it really easy for us to operate downtown Tijana. Safety is our primary concern, so a close realtionship with the civial aviation authority has been important for us to make sure that operations can be done safely.
-Most of the day our drones are in the air and when an emergency call is recieved our drones can very quickly be sent to the scene. Recording and monitoring what is happening on the location, very often much quicker than our officers can, says Ruvalcaba.
-No major ones, we have been very luck to have the support from the management of the Police departement and could do to regulations for using the drones within the police force, start using drones very quickly after all of our operations were approved by the civil aviation authority.
What equipement are you using?
-Today we have two drones, but we hope to expand our drone-program to cover close to 50% of the city with several new drone-launch sites. The drones are used to it`maximum – operating very day, all day, says Eduardo.
-Currently we are using the DJI Matrice 200. It`s important for us to use off-the-shelf equipement that can easlily be implemented and supported.
And the future?
-More launch-cites, more drones and drones and sensors that can operate during night-time and for a longer duration. The results are so good that we`d like to expand later this year. Drones have truly made an impact for our police department, says Eduardo.