Millennium Post

Eyes of the law

With the rise in crime, accidents and current wave of apprehension for terrorist attacks in the national Capital, Closed Circuit Television cameras now seem to have become the eyes of law enforcement agencies. Spread over an area of 183 square kilometres, with a population of over 1.8 crore, the city has witnessed more than 1.5 lakh crime incidents so far. But the fact that policemen cannot always be present at all places, efforts of community policing and appropriate usage of latest technology now contributes towards making the city safe and secure.

Delhi police have taken a number of community initiatives in the past, using CCTV coverage of important market places, government buildings, hospitals and border check post, duly funded by the government for prevention and detection of crimes. A directive from the Home Ministry to the Delhi police will bring several places in the national Capital under CCTV surveillance.

According to sources, the police had requested the Home Ministry for 10,000 more CCTV cameras to be installed on roads and major chowks and they are likely to get the approval soon.

“The CCTV cameras are important to keep eyes on criminal activites. Of the total cameras, Delhi police has installed 3,973 cameras and 17,303 have been installed by the members of Resident welfare Associatin (RWA) in their respective localities,” said a senior police officer.

The Delhi police have cameras installed in various important places such as the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court, six district courts , police head quarters, Raj Niwas, V P House, several markets and border check posts etc. Now, Delhi police have identified 315 locations for installating CCTV systems in crowded areas such as Lajpat Nagar Market (30 cameras), Sarojini Nagar Market (25 cameras), Khan Market (26 cameras), Maurice Nagar University/Campus (46 cameras), Sadar Bazaar Market (24 cameras), Rani Bagh Market (20 cameras), Vasant Vihar Market (38 cameras) and Ghazipur Border Check post (18 cameras).

Delhi police have also installed 400 cameras in these high-profile security zone and majority of them are around the periphery of the Parliament, which was attacked by armed Pakistani terrorists in 2001. Twelve people, including five terrorists, were killed in the attack.

Under the guidance of Delhi police, in the southwest district, RWAs have installed 236 cameras, while the police and civic bodies have installed 549 and 53 cameras respectively. People, including shopkeepers, have installed 1,595 cameras and the police 174 in the west district. In case of the north district, the public has installed 1,057 cameras while police have put up 420 cameras. The Central district has 540 cameras installed by the public and 240 by the police. In the east district 4,000 cameras were installed by the public, 350 by the police and 327 by civic agencies.

The northeast district has 500 cameras placed by the public, 70 by the police and 24 by civic agencies. In northwest district, at least 2,400 cameras were installed by the public and 237 by the police. In the south district, 1,900 cameras were installed by the public, 450 by the police and 372 by civic agencies. In the southeast, 546 cameras were installed by public, 397 by the police and 30 by civic agencies. 

The monitoring is done by individual agencies that have installed the CCTV cameras, with the footage being made available to the police in case a crime is committed. The Delhi government’s decision to install CCTV cameras was a major poll plank for the Aam Aadmi party before it came to power earlier this year. But the AAP government, unfortunately, has not taken any concrete steps so far.

On 9 December, when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he raised the issue of installations of CCTV across Delhi and the home minister assured him of cooperation. “We will be needing the help of the police in the case of CCTV cameras as well because ultimately the feed will go directly to them. The issue is in Delhi High Court right now and there is needless bickering, we will together work this out,” said Kejriwal. It is a fact that a division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, has now directed the Delhi government and Delhi police to frame draft rules for controlling access to live feeds from the cameras, while observing that these should cover aspects of protection of privacy, custody, archiving of data and prevention of misuse of live feeds.

According to the Delhi government proposal to install CCTV cameras in 5,000 DTC buses and in all police stations as well in 44 “reflag zones”, which have been identified after a crime mapping study conducted last year. Delhi PWD Minister Satyender Jain said that the government would come out with a proposal in a month to install CCTV cameras across the national Capital with the aim of ensuring human safety.

Owing to bureaucratic hurdles, Delhi government could not install high resolution Pan tilt Zoom (PTZ) camera to keep an eagle eye in leading government offices before the Commonwealth Games. While this project was conceived in January 2010 keeping in view the CWG, the city government however succeeded in installing 28 cameras out of 64 cameras only now. The PTZ is different from CCTV, it is used in outdoor peripheral. While CCTV is widely used as powerful surveillance tool in public places like commercial banks, casinos, supermarket, mega malls, jewellery stores and warehouses etc, these cameras provide an aerial and videography from different angles. It was being used by security agencies for purpose of integrated geo-spatial information system for surveillance and easy access by land use database utility services and infrastructure departments.

Till now, 28 PTZ cameras have been installed at different places in Delhi such as Fire Station Building at Rohini, DDA building at Vasant Kunj, MCD’s Civic Centre building, NDMC building, Directorate of Health Service building, Police Headquarter at ITO, NAMBARD Tower At Rajendra Place, Hotel Hilton, Hotel Surya , Hotel Eros, Escope tower at Laxmi Nagar etc. “The high resolution PTZ camera can capture an image within radius of five kilometres in clear weather and more than three kilometres in foggy conditions,” said IT experts.

According to an IT department official, the proposal was to install 64 PTZ cameras across all important locations in the city to check unauthorised construction. The total budget is estimated around Rs 120 crore for this project and is being implemented with help of Survey of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Science and Technology and National mapping Agency.
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