Eyes of Oaxaca: Deaf surveillance analysts set sights on crime

Latin America

Eyes of Oaxaca: Deaf surveillance analysts set sights on crime

Oaxaca City, a state capital in southeastern Mexico, has a wide network of security cameras, just like many densely-populated urban areas.

CGTN America’s Aladair Baverstock reports. 

The difference here is on the other side of the lens, a surveillance police force made up entirely of deaf officers, whose identities have been concealed for their own safety.

“I believe the work is far more suited to a deaf person,” said ‘Maria” from the Angeles de Silencio Police Unit. “They have a far more heightened sense of sight and pay far closer attention, simply because they don’t have the sense of hearing. She can also easily lip-read through the cameras.”

The police force, ‘Los Angeles del Silencio’ or ‘The Silent Angels’, was founded in 2012. The group of 24 officers are considered disabled on the streets of the capital but armed with an advantage, stats come, on tape, from Edgar Gonzalez.

“They have a fantastic capacity,” said Edgar Gonzalez from Oaxaca Public Security. “Once in particular, a crime having been reported, they needed to review three hours of surveillance footage. They sped up the video to a speed at which you or I would see nothing, and found what we needed.”

For the officers themselves, it is a job they not only enjoy, but in which they take pride, having lived difficult lives.

“As a young man, he sought many work opportunities and was always turned down, and it was terribly difficult,” said “Juan” from Angel de Silencio. “And he loves this job, he takes a lot of pride in it and he works to improve every day. It’s his job to care for Oaxaca City”

The Silent Angels have been recognized by global security experts and international governments. People from the United Kingdom to Argentina have visited Oaxaca City to learn from the program.

“They are the eyes of Oaxaca, taking care of the Oaxacans,” Gonzalez said.