City will be safer with a strong CCTV network
Our eyes in the sky — the nearly 5,000 CCTV cameras across Mumbai — have gone night blind. Night crimes have become difficult to crack because the CCTV footage gets washed out in the headlights and tail lights of the lakhs of cars in the city. Many of the CCTV cameras are of little use to the police, because as soon as motorists switch on their headlamps or backlights, the cameras are blinded by the light. Even images that have been captured on camera are of little use, as the quality is very poor.
The problem is compounded at intersections, where multiple headlamps result in even more grainy, or fuzzy images. There was a worrying admission by an officer in mid-day’s front-page report on November 8. He is admitted that this is the reason offences committed at night are either detected late or remain unsolved. This is in addition to the fact that the surveillance cameras’ field of vision is already restricted because of the barricades surrounding Metro construction work.
This issue needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. It is unfathomable why it has not been taken up on a war footing and resolved by now. All the touting about going high-tech and digital is useless if we do not get our fundamentals right. Good CCTV coverage, especially in darkness, must rank as a basic when it comes to crime-fighting. Experts have to be called in, and if we need better, more advanced systems, then we need to call for those too. If the camera angles need to be changed, then assess that and get cracking on it.
We have to remember that the city is careening into wedding and party season; it is the end of the year. We will have several late night celebrations and events, all calling for greater vigilance at night on our roads. A strong, efficient CCTV surveillance network is a big part of this.