Installation of the cameras at important junctions prompted by recent series of murders

For north Chennai, the deployment of nearly half-a-dozen close circuit television (CCTV) cameras offers hope of some progress in breaking the cycle of violence that has gripped the area.

The installation of the equipment at important junctions, including Ashok Pillar in Vyasarpadi, on Monday was a decision taken by senior police officials nearly two weeks ago. The measure was prompted by a series of murders and gang-related violence that brought residents to the streets in protest.

Each of these cameras costs between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 60,000 depending on its radius of coverage.

The devices were installed at spots identified by the police as sensitive. These include bazaars, intersections of arterial roads that connect key areas, housing quarters and open areas such as playgrounds which are used as ‘meeting points’ by gangs. The cameras will also help identify and block the escape route of criminals.

“CCTV cameras will supplement regular beat policing efforts in helping us keep an eye on specific areas where violence occurs frequently,” said Govi Manoharan, assistant commissioner, MKB Nagar police. 

In addition to Ashok Pillar, cameras were also installed in Bazaar road in Vyasarpadi, the junction near Dr. Ambdekar Arts and Science College in MKB Nagar, SIDCO Nagar junction and MR Nagar junction in Kodungaiyur. In neighbouring Pulianthope, eight cameras will soon be installed in areas such as Stagrant road, Haj Building junction, atop Basin Bridge, the market at Padalam and Jamaliya in Otteri.   

Residents are hopeful of some improvement in the situation. A. Sivakumar, a resident of Vyasarpadi, said, “These cameras would be a deterrent for small-time criminals who would be afraid of being noticed.”

Police sources said that the cameras will be maintained by residents, who would have to keep an eye on them to prevent damage by anti-socials. “The initiative will ensure close interaction between the police and residents in preventing crime,” said a police official 

The police have also prepared a list of criminals, including small-time and inactive ones, in north Chennai. They are specifically focussing on crime-infested areas such as Vyasarpadi, Pulianthope, Basin Bridge and MKB Nagar. Police check points with round-the-clock surveillance have also been set up at important locations including Satyamurthy Nagar Main Road in Vyasarpadi.

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