City will be safer with a strong CCTV net­work

Mid Day - - Comment -

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.

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