A network of nearly 5,000 CCTV cameras became operational across the city Sunday, a year and a half after work on installing them began. “It is a game changer. We will see its benefits in the days to come,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar at Shanmukhanand Hall, where the system was declared live.
Spread across 1,510 locations throughout the city, the project executed by a consortium led by L&T has 20 per cent of the 4,617 cameras that are fixed and will focus on one point, while the rest are pan, tilt and zoom-enabled.
Last November, the state inaugurated the first phase of the Mumbai City Surveillance Project, which comprised 1,381 cameras at 434 locations in the island city. Monitored from the control room at the police headquarters, the system has been integrated with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to regulate traffic.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi said the system would be effective in tackling law and order, fighting and preventing crime, regulating traffic and detecting traffic-related offences. The cameras, equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition, will capture the number plate of traffic violators and gather the name, address and phone number of the offender from the RTO database. The system will then generate an e-challan.
Initially, 1,000 police patrol cars have been fitted with GPS sets to enable coordination with the control room. “The network will identify traffic bottlenecks and we will be able to send the nearest police van to that location,” said Bakshi.
“The challan will reach home even before the offender does,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. A database of habitual traffic offenders will also be built, and the police will keep a track of the number of challans an individual accumulates.
Cameras fixed at the port and along the coast are equipped with night vision to detect movement in water. Fadnavis said the thermal cameras would also be able to pick out unattended objects at public places. “We will monitor objects left unattended for more than 15 minutes and send the alert to the police van that is the closest,” he said.
The cameras are also equipped with facial recognition, enabling the police to pick out and identify faces in large crowds. “We can search for an individual all over the city. The cameras will identify the face of a wanted criminal. The camera will also pick out faces of persons roaming around continuously in one place. The nearest police van will then be alerted about the person’s location,” Bakshi said.