Hotels, residential colonies and eductional institutions are happy over utility of this device

With criminals turning more and more tech-savvy and organised, the custodians of law are forced to learn the nuances in technology.

By adapting to newer ideas and inventions, the police are confident that they can prevent the law offenders from committing crimes.

In a city like Madurai, which is described as Tier-II by captains of industry or as an alternative to Chennai and Coimbatore cities by those in the real estate sector, agencies like the police department are finding it tough to match performance with expectations.

As a first step, the police are introducing novel methods by involving the people. Inspector General and Commissioner of Police (Madurai City) Sanjay Mathur is clear in his priorities.

Be it crime prevention or maintenance of law and order or detection of unsolved crimes, the people’s role is important.

Whenever any person volunteers to pass on information to the police in nabbing a criminal or gives some clue that helps in preventing a crime, the individuals are recognised and honoured by the City Police as a token of appreciation.

This seems to be working well, a police officer said.

A burgeoning Madurai, with 100 wards in the Corporation limits, has 17 police stations and a little over 3,000 police personnel to handle a population of about two million.

That the extension colonies – coming up beyond the old Madurai borders - are witnessing rapid development is a different story. If one is to believe the plans of policy makers (and in the event of these ideas getting implemented in a phased manner) then the city would definitely require more police personnel.

Use technology

The concept of installing the ‘third’ eye is catching up fast among hoteliers and residential colonies in the city, thanks to the initiative of the Madurai City Police and two residential colonies – DSP Nagar and Velmurugan Nagar. Apart from these two colonies, installation of user-friendly surveillance cameras is being taken up at many hotels located in and around the Meenakshi Temple.

Recently, the Assistant Commissioner of Police A. Ganesan addressed a big gathering of hoteliers/ managers to tell them about the features of surveillance in their buildings.

Apart from residential areas and hotels, the cameras are finding space in educational institutions. School headmasters and college principals are able to check eve-teasing and late coming, among others.

In fact, “there used to be noise on the corridors earlier during break, but, after cameras are fitted, the students not only walk silently but also ensure that they don’t create any mischief,” a principal narrated.

Doraiswamy Nagar

The Doraiswamy Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association situated off Bypass Road is happy that it is the pioneer in installing eight surveillance cameras in the colony, which has 650 houses – including independent and flat type – spread over 16 streets. Association secretary K. S. K. Satish said that they experimented the working of the cameras for the last one month and after correcting the deficiencies the project was launched.

“So far there is no crime” was how he summed up. Police, for their part too, feel relieved as the colony was notorious for crimes, an officer in the S.S. Colony police station said.

The residents’ welfare association is planning to install another eight cameras and thanked the promoter of the locality who has given space for accommodating the equipment, Mr. Satish noted.

Better efficiency

The surveillance cameras have helped to improve efficiency.

Narrating his experience, Hotel Rathna Residency General Manager K M. Alagappan said, “in our hotel the ‘third’ eye helps to check discipline of our own staff. Further, it also facilitates in improving our services to customers.

Be it in parking of vehicles or in restaurants or in the permit room… we keep monitoring the cameras periodically. Whenever there is any suspicion regarding a person, we are able to act immediately. Except in the rooms, we have cameras installed in 16 locations, including the four floors. To put it in a nutshell, the cameras are being used fully and it helps to achieve our objective to deliver efficient and professional service to all our customers."

Mr. Alagappan also recalled the role of the cameras in times of problems.

“Like, when a guest had a complaint, we could rewind the incident from the cameras. We review the movements of people on a daily basis and can store the data for three weeks or even more,” he summed up.

Mr. Ganesan said that the cameras had discouraged not only grave offenders, but also petty criminals from committing any offence.

“We are campaigning among the bankers to install the ‘third’ eye on their premises and in ATM outlets as it would chase away anti-social elements. Only because of a camera, a theft in a bank in S.S. Colony was solved swiftly three months ago,” he recalled. “Many big jewellers and shopping malls are having the CCTV facility, but our aim is that every building should have a user-friendly camera as it comes in handy during crisis or any emergency. It is always better to act today than react tomorrow,” he asserted.

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