Twenty-four hours after 4,717 CCTV surveillance cameras went live across the city, the Mumbai police were already reaping the benefits.
Monday evening: a cylinder burst at a road-side eatery in Kalbadevi triggered a traffic jam in the busy business district. Traffic police personnel, however, got to the spot at short notice, the road was immediately cleared to make way for fire tenders that doused the fire before it could spread.
9.30pm, Monday night: a car driven rashly on the wrong side of a busy road in in Vikhroli hit an autorickshaw, throwing four of it’s occupants out of the vehicle. In minutes, the police arrived, took the injured to the hospital and apprehended the 60-year-old driver of the car.
“Had it not been for the cameras, the response in both cases would have been delayed. In the Vikhroli case, not only did we save lives, but also ensured the culprit was apprehended before he could flee. In the Kalbadevi case, it would have taken a long time for fire tenders to reach the spot, if the traffic was not cleared. A certain disaster was averted,” said deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Ashok Dudhe.
Later that day, the live feed from cameras near Sena Bhawan at Shivaji Park helped the police chase down a car that had hit a two-wheeler and fled.
“The motorist was trying to speed off after the collision. But with the entire sequence running live on our monitors, we alerted the local police station, which rushed the nearest patrolling vehicle to the go after the car. The patrol cars of other police stations on the way were also kept ready along the roads the motorist was likely to take. Two of these vehicles were able to intercept the driver,” said a senior officer at the main police control room at Crawford Market — the nerve centre of the pan-Mumbai surveillance project.
Dudhe meanwhile said the footage will be shared with police stations across the city, not only fix responsibility , but also as evidence in courts.