High-definition surveillance cameras are making a difference in policing in the city.
Offenders going scot-free for months are landing behind bars, thanks to the crystal clear images recorded by these cameras. Installed under the Community CCTV system, the cameras are turning out to be powerful tools for police.
Kamalakar, who hails from Vijayawada, was adept at stealing mobile phones from bike riders by diverting their attention. Even after 15 mobile phone thefts, the police were clueless about the offender.
It was a HD camera installed at Ramgopalpet in Secunderabad that showed his vehicle number in a video footage. Investigators flashed the vehicle number and his photo across all the police stations in Hyderabad. After a few days, the Osmania University police caught him.
Equally dramatic was the story of attention diversion gang from Tamil Nadu, which used to make away with money taken from people after distracting them by throwing dirt on them. The members of the gang used to fly to city, rent flats in upscale localities and fly back to Chennai after completing their target.
Three months ago, they struck near Paradise hotel in Secunderabad. While fleeing, their images along with the bike numbers were caught by a camera at the next junction. Stitching up the clues from the registration number of the bike, which the gang bought through OLX, police picked up them finally.
Not just handy in cracking crimes, the cameras are emerging as effective means to monitor massive processions during Ganesh or Milad-un-Nabi festivals in the communally-sensitive city. Last year, the whole main Ganesh idol procession route was watched by the police top brass sitting in a command control centre. Surveillance cameras, by Government and private persons, were already installed at several places when the present Hyderabad Police Commissioner M. Mahender Reddy assumed charge 18 months ago. Most of them, including those affixed by the Government, were of poor quality. Their video footage was hazy and had little practical utility.
When Mr. Reddy started persuading communities -groups of businessmen, industrialists, welfare associations or flat owners of a specific locality- to set up HD cameras not many were forthcoming.
Their high-cost and scepticism about benefits were stumbling blocks. But the police chief continued the drive starting with Mahankali -a business hub in Secunderabad. “On seeing the video quality and realising that there were no recurring costs for five years, now many are readily consenting to the proposal,” Mr. Reddy says.