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Cameras fail to capture criminals

Chandigarh will soon come under the surveillance of 178 close circuit television cameras — 158 have already been installed — but the usefulness of these cameras in solving criminal cases hasn’t been impressive.

Written by Sameer Kumar Sharma | Chandigarh |
December 20, 2009 1:47:56 am

158 CCTV cameras have been installed in the city,but in two recent incidents in Sector-35 market,they were not of much use

Chandigarh will soon come under the surveillance of 178 close circuit television cameras — 158 have already been installed — but the usefulness of these cameras in solving criminal cases hasn’t been impressive.

In a recent case,three youths broke into a bakery in Sector-35 market on December 8. But the CCTV camera placed high up on an electricity police could not give a clear footage. As a result,the police could not identify registration number of the black Lancer car used by the youths that night.

In another incident in the same market,a 21-year-old student was stabbed in KFC restaurant on November 16. But despite CCTV footage,the police haven’t been able to make any headway in the case.

In both the cases,the police were able to get some clues from the footage,but these were not sufficient to identify the accused.

“Had the cameras been powerful enough and placed at the right location,the number of the car would have been identified,” Nikhil Mittal,owner of Nik Bakery in Sector 35 market,said.

“These security cameras should be installed at the entry and exit points of the parking lot,so that every car comes under the radar of CCTV cameras,” he added.

In this case,Mittal added,the camera was placed “too high to identify the accused or the vehicle”.

“It was really not helpful,though CCTV cameras can do wonders,” he said. “What’s the point in having CCTV cameras when they can’t produce the required footage? In London,a person cannot pass through any subway without being captured on a CCTV camera.”

In Sector-35 market,14 CCTV cameras have been installed. In the three major markets of the city — sectors 35,17 and 22 — 52 CCTV cameras have been installed. In a week’s time,20 more cameras will be installed.

These cameras are being installed by the Chandigarh Police at more than two dozen locations in the city. Three control rooms will monitor them.

A source pointed out that the CCTV cameras installed at the entry and exit points of the city give hazy images,which could not be used to identify registration number of a vehicle.

The source added that the company handling the project to install these cameras was asked to give a demonstration after the project was handed over to them.

Zicom Electronic Security Systems Limited is handling the Rs 4.47-crore project.

Experts,on other hand,point out that location of these cameras is as important as their resolution.

SSP S S Srivastva said it was absolutely incorrect that these cameras were not useful. In the two cases in Sec-35 market,the police have got vital clues through CCTV cameras,he added.

“Three important things are location,light and resolution. And we have ensured all three are taken care of,” he said. “We can always modify positions of these cameras and in fact,in some cases we have done that.”

Twenty busy intersections and three markets in the city will be covered by the 178 CCTV cameras.

The intersections will have five cameras each,including four static cameras of 704×480 pixels and one PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera of

795×504 pixels and 35X zoom-in facility.

The PTZ camera can capture images at visibility of .1 Lux — the minimum level of light — during daytime and .005 Lux at night,and the static cameras can capture objects at .2 Lux during daytime and .05 Lux at night.

Chinese made private cameras also not useful

* Chandigarh: Even footage

of private CCTV cameras installed in shops and houses is not much useful,as these cameras are of ‘poor quality’.

An expert said most of these cameras were not powerful enough,as “they are Chinese products which flood the market”.

Daljit Singh,who deals in security products,said,“Many people go for cheaper Chinese products in the market. This means that a CCTV camera is there,but it can’t capture clear images.”

“A good CCTV camera has high resolution and gives good quality pictures in DVR recording,” he adds.

Nikhil Mittal of Nik Bakery in Sector 35 admitted that the security cameras installed in his bakery were “not as powerful as they should be”.

“As a customer,I had settled for average cameras. But the high resolution CCTV cameras installed by the police should be useful in such incidents,” he said.

A theft had taken place in the bakery on December 8.

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