Shopping hub to be armed with 16 CCTV cameras; photographs of criminals will be fed into system and alerts sent in case of recognition

The police are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the bustling streets of the city’s major shopping hub remain crime free in the following weeks.

In the run-up to Deepavali when pickpockets make the most of the teeming milieu in T. Nagar, the city police are planning to install CCTV cameras on Ranganathan Street and other areas in the shopping district.

Some of the cameras will be equipped with face-detection technology and photographs of criminals will be fed into them.

“We plan to have around 16 cameras on a permanent basis. Of these, eight will have the face-detection technology,” said a senior police officer.

The police will initially feed photographs of around 200 former convicts and wanted criminals into the CCTV monitoring system. With this technology, it will be easy to pick up a criminal who walks around with his face covered, the officer said.

“Once the camera detects a face, it will set off an alarm in the control room and highlight the suspect with a red or rectangle mark even if there is 80 per cent similarity between the photo and the suspect,” said the officer.

Following the alert, the police will either pick up the suspect for questioning or save the picture for future use. “A former convict could have simply come for shopping, but we will conduct enquiries anyway,” he said.

The control rooms will be set up in a police outpost opposite Pothy’s and in the T. Nagar deputy commissioner’s office.

Cops to be deployed before Deepavali

As an added measure, over 250 policemen will be deployed in T. Nagar, a week ahead of Deepavalli.

“We will also install an additional 20 CCTV cameras. Recorded messages asking shoppers to beware of chain snatchers and pickpockets will be played on 10 public address systems,” said a senior police officer.

The police are also planning to play a slideshow of photographs of wanted criminals, including pickpockets, on a giant screen. “It will then be easier for the public to identify criminals. However, we are yet to find sponsors for setting up the big screen,” said the officer.

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