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Mumbai has inadequate CCTVs. Here's why

Last updated on: July 13, 2012 13:57 IST

Where are the CCTV cameras that Mumbai needs?

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Vicky Nanjappa

The 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai highlighted the need for closed-circuit cameras and the 13/7 bombings reiterated it.

In the 13/7 probe, the police relied very heavily on CCTV cameras, most of which were personal, set up around the blast sites.

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However, the daunting issue was that most of the visuals were not of high quality. The police found it difficult to narrow down on the culprit as the visual would get distorted the moment they zoomed in on the frame.

According to the Ram Pradhan report, which looked into the 26/11 attack, proposed that there is a requirement of over 5000 cameras -- that too ones with higher resolution -- if providing security and cracking cases should begin to make some sense.

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Where are the CCTV cameras that Mumbai needs?

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However, the city only has around 500 such cameras. On most occasions, emphasis is placed on private cameras that only provide the imagery after an attack has taken place, as they not linked directly to the police control room.

The Maharashtra government has managed to set up just around 150 cameras, which are linked directly to the control room.

A blame game ensues when the matter is taken up with the concerned officials.

While the government blamed official apathy for the same, the police department complained about lack of funds.

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Where are the CCTV cameras that Mumbai needs?

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Another problem is the tussle between the crime and traffic wing of the police, which is delaying this process.

In cities like Bengaluru and Delhi the government has stated clearly that the fines that are collected for traffic offences need not be given to the government. It should entirely be used for setting up of police infrastructure, which would include the installation of close circuit televisions.

Now the traffic department feels that it should be the one spending the entire amount on CCTVs, which would finally be used by the crime branch. They feel that other basic infrastructure that they would need would be compromised if they end up spending the entire amount collected in the setting up of CCTVs.

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Where are the CCTV cameras that Mumbai needs?

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Yet another problem lies in the unavailability of personnel in the control room where the CCTV feed is scrutinised.

Besides this the police department did not have access to 4G network, which ensures that these cameras function properly. The lack of a speedy network means that there is a lag in imagery relayed through the CCTV.

This meant that the police department had to work with low definition imagery since high definition cameras usually do not work properly with the kind of network speed that the police have access to.

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