Cameras in city’s CCTV surveillance network go blank

Intensive vigil: According to a report, the city has a CCTV camera density of 657 devices per square kilometre, the highest among Indian cities.  

The closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed across the city have stopped working at several places due to exposure to the vagaries of nature and lack of periodic maintenance.

Chennai topped the list of Indian cities with high CCTV camera density, having 657 cameras per square kilometre, according to a report released earlier this year. The city has an extensive surveillance network.

Now, a sizeable portion of them have become non-functional due to various factors, including lack of periodic maintenance and monitoring. This has hit surveillance.

For instance, a gang of men burgled the house of a businessman in Thirumangalam on October 1.

The victim, D. Elangovan, said, “Only after the burglary, did we realise that the CCTV camera installed in our house was not working. Even CCTV cameras that were installed in the street were not working. After struggling without the footage and working on certain clues, the police managed to arrest the accused 25 days later.”

Similarly, investigators found it difficult to trace the lone accused who escaped with a booty of ₹72 lakh from a private firm in Chetpet. A source said, “It was tough to trace the accused. Many CCTV cameras are not working in the major areas.”

One of the leading CCTV vendors said, “CCTV cameras were installed with sponsorship from traders and residents’ welfare associations. So, they have become inoperative since they require periodic maintenance. Some are not even linked to control rooms, needing dedicated technicians to maintain them.”

However, the police said if some CCTV cameras are hanging or uprooted, they may be obsolete.

The devices have a shelf life of only five years, and a few were installed in 2010 or 2011, making them unrepairable.

Additional Commissioner of Police N. Kannan said, “We have enumerated the CCTV cameras installed through government funds, through sponsors and by the public. Now, all these devices have been listed and given a sixteen-digit identity number. As per the Police Commissioner’s plan, we are going to fit a device to monitor their feeds. A SIM module is being worked upon, which when installed with a digital video recorder/network video recorder, will automatically update interactive databases regarding non-functioning cameras. This will obviate delays due to physical checks and expedite repairs.”

“We will have a dashboard that will give us an idea on the number of feeds coming from the CCTV network. It will monitor the health of all devices. Whatever faults come to our notice will be corrected. We have a very robust plan for installing, maintaining and monitoring the the entire network. Locations of all the CCTV cameras have been marked. We are also standardising the installation method. There is going to be a change in the profile of the city’s CCTV cameras in the coming two or three months,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 7:46:41 PM |

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