The city police are setting up surveillance cameras at various spots to curb burglaries and thefts, writes Anand Haridas

The city police are venturing out to set up surveillance cameras at various spots in an attempt to curb burglaries and thefts.

As part of expanding the community-policing initiative, the police had earlier suggested that merchants conduct a security audit of their shops, which would be of use in identifying vulnerable spots, and deploy force according to that.

This has not been done, though the suggestion was made a couple of years ago. “No follow-up action was made in this direction after the suggestion. This may be taken up at the next interaction with the City Police Commissioner,” says L.A. Joshy, president of Ernakulam Merchants’ Union. Without waiting for the merchants to join, the police are going ahead with installing more than 30 surveillance cameras in various parts of the city. But confusions continue on who will support this venture. While the police say that the project is being implemented in association with the city Corporation and the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the civic body has not set apart any fund.

“The police said they would be identifying sponsors for setting up the cameras, and we have approved it. Details of the scheme are yet to be formed,” Deputy Mayor C.K. Manisankar says.

On its part, the chamber held discussions with Keltron for setting up 17 cameras. “One camera will be installed and operated on a trial basis for a week. Rest will be installed on the basis of that,” E.S. Jose, president of Kerala Chamber Commerce and Industry, says. The police have identified spots where the cameras are to be set up. “We are waiting for the Global Positioning System enabled tracking mechanism to be launched. After that we will go ahead with the installation of cameras,” says M. Ramesh Kumar, Circle Inspector, Ernakulam Town North, who has prepared the project. “The groundwork for implementing the programme has already been done.” The police are planning to install smart vehicle tracking systems in patrol vehicles as the first part of the project. The concept is to monitor the movement of patrol vehicles and thereby reduce the time in attending to crimes.