South Korea’s capital announced plans to strengthen surveillance to avoid a repeat of last year’s crowd crush that killed almost 160 people at a nightlife district during Halloween festivities.
(Bloomberg) — South Korea’s capital announced plans to strengthen surveillance to avoid a repeat of last year’s crowd crush that killed almost 160 people at a nightlife district during Halloween festivities.
Seoul Metropolitan Government will implement a people counting system which automatically detects crowds through closed-circuit televisions and notifies authorities of danger signs, the city said in a statement on Thursday. The system will be operational from Oct. 27.
A software that analyzes population density will be connected to CCTVs that automatically count the number of people in an area. When the system detects a large crowd, it will send an alert to disaster safety teams at ward offices, the city government, fire authorities, and the police, according to Seoul city.
At least 158 people were killed in South Korea’s deadliest civilian crowd crush almost a year ago. Those killed were trapped in a 3.2 meter-wide alley that connects the main street of the central Itaewon neighborhood to an area with restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
The tragedy shocked the country that’s well-known for its safety and sparked an extensive investigation into authorities’ handling of the crowd crush. Ultimately, the head of Yongsan Ward office, chief of the police station in the district and at least 15 others were indicted over the incident.
The city government, police and fire authorities will also hold a simulation drill on Oct. 25 to check whether the crowd-detecting system works and coordination between the agencies operates swiftly.
Seoul has an extensive network of public surveillance cameras that are a core pillar of its anti-crime and public safety strategy. A total of 909 cameras will be installed in 71 crowded places in Seoul by the end of the year.
–With assistance from Soo Jin Kim.
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