A new centre for 24-hour video surveillance of Rome has been opened in Piazza Giovanni da Verrazzano. The Sala Sistema Roma, housed in a former cigarette factory, was opened by the mayor, Gianni Alemanno, who described the centre as being the first step in establishing an integrated security network to monitor the entire city. When the system is fully up-and-running it will receive footage from the city police as well as from public transport and all municipal authorities.
At present some 1,300 cameras are in operation, however within two months over 5,000 cameras will have been activated. The cameras will observe museums, monuments, bus lanes, car parks and train stations, in the hope of curbing violence, vandalism and associated anti-social behaviour. In extreme cases, the emergency services can be alerted to attend the scene immediately
The centre brings Rome a bit closer to surveillance standards in other European cities such as London, which has 100,000 cameras, and Paris which has 64,000.