Hundreds of video cameras and license-plate readers made by a Long Island company are being deployed in the state of Sinaloa, the heartland of Mexico’s drug cartels.
About 1,000 video surveillance cameras and roughly 800 license-plate readers from Hauppauge-based Vicon Industries Inc. already have been installed in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa and its largest city. Plans call for a statewide surveillance system with 4,800 cameras in Culiacán and “thousands more” in other Sinaloa cities, the company said.
“We are very pleased to be participating in this prestigious Sinaloa safe city project and have our new Valerus video management system serve as the cornerstone to this expanding security deployment,” Vicon chief executive John Badke said in an emailed statement.
Security has long been an issue in Sinaloa, one of 31 Mexican states. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the imprisoned former head of the Sinaloa Cartel, is one of the region’s most famous native sons.
The World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency says that heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine move into the U.S. market via Mexico and that feuding by Mexican drug traffickers has resulted in “tens of thousands” of homicides since 2007.
The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 advisory — the strongest possible — warning U.S. citizens against traveling to Sinaloa. “Violent crime is widespread,” the advisory says. “Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.”
Vicon, which is supplying the equipment through a separate company that ties all hardware and software together for the customer, declined to disclose its revenue for the Sinaloa venture. In addition to cameras, the company is providing network video recorders that store the video, and proprietary Valerus software, which manages feeds from multiple locations and retrieval from network storage.
Vicon said that linking municipalities and law enforcement agencies in Sinaloa with Valerus software will increase coordination and response.
“The Sinaloa opportunity is more than a million-dollar project that we hope to continue to expand over several years,” Badke said.
M.C. Jose de Jesus Galvez, Sinaloa’s secretary of innovation, said in a statement that officials hope to use the software “to help lower the crime rate and better protect the citizens of Sinaloa. We understand that video isn’t the only way we will achieve this, but it’s a very important part.”
In the quarter ended Dec. 31, Vicon posted a net loss of $1.3 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $7.7 million. As of Sept. 30, the company had 120 employees. Vicon rents a 30,000-square-foot facility in Hauppauge, and also leases a sales and service facility in England and a research and development facility in Israel.
“Over the past few years, Vicon has made significant investment in R&D in order to introduce our new generation of security solutions,” Badke said. “We are starting to see the pay-off.”
Shares of Vicon edged up 0.8 percent to close Wednesday at 38 cents. The stock was trading at 44 cents a year ago.