“Get up, get up!”, is heard while a group of police officers simulates intervening in a hostage-taking in a scenario of virtual reality in 3D, a tool used for their training, as occurs in other countries.
The first Virtual Reality Training Center (Cerv) in Latin America was inaugurated on February 15 at the Mexico City Police University, a megalopolis of nine million inhabitants where the authorities say they have reduced levels of insecurity in three years .
According to the mayor’s office, this virtual reality system is made up of one hundred “motion capture cameras” and only “three police officers from the United States and the one from Israel have it.”.
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The police officers, with glasses that project them at the crime scene, face the mission of the day: to free a girl kidnapped by an armed man in Tepito, a neighborhood in the center of the capital, with high rates of violence and with the presence of the elderly. criminal gangs in the capital.
In a university hall, with a rifle on their shoulders and a laptop in a backpack, the uniformed men entered the neighborhood, approached the kidnapper, forced him to drop the weapon, and released their victim.
“They can interact with real or virtual avatars, with highly realistic graphics”, explains the Secretary of Security of the capital, Omar García Harfuch.
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That allows “recreate any area or colony or scenario that exists in Mexico City or in the country” as “schools, shopping malls, restaurants, highways, airplanes“, according to him.
Mexico City has invested 60 million pesos (3.27 million dollars) in this center, said the mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, highlighting a saving of 4 million pesos (220,000 dollars) in ammunition.
This is what a police raid looks like in a Tepito neighborhood in the ‘metaverse’ of the CDMX Police. pic.twitter.com/410CP3CzWi
— Israel Zamarron (@iavzamarron) February 15, 2023
In the United States, the New York and Los Angeles police also use virtual reality glasses to train in emergency situations such as shootings.
The European Union (EU) financed the virtual reality project Shotpros in 2019 to reinforce the training of police officers.
“Its intention is to improve overall performance in stressful situations and reduce the use of force without compromising safety.”, according to a statement posted on the EU site.
García Harfuch, who survived an attack in June 2020, is the one who leads this program in Mexico City.
Two of his guards died in the attack attributed to the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel, one of the most powerful in the country.
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Mayor Sheinbaum, who aspires to be the ruling party’s candidate for the 2024 presidential election, assures that crime fell in the megacity during her tenure.
“We went from having 15.46 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019 to closing 2022 with a rate of 7 per 100,000″, according to a statement from Sheinbaum and García Harfush released on February 8.
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