Wondering what is the point of getting 5,000 more closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at a cost of ₹400 crore for Mumbai when it already has 4,746 cameras atop 2,293 poles at 1,512 locations? The Mumbai police can answer it for you – the existing cameras are mainly used in traffic management, but the proposed addition will help curb crimes against women and street crimes.THE CURRENT NETWORKThe home department recently submitted the proposal to widen the scope of CCTV surveillance in Mumbai, and the CM has asked the department to expedite the process. In the current CCTV network that was set up in 2017, more than 3,000 cameras are installed near highways and main roads to keep an eye on traffic movement, while the rest have been put up in bylanes or near schools, colleges or public places to check any suspicious activity or crime. The CCTV cover has led to issuing of 8 lakh e-challans so far and solving 1,500 crimes this year. “Street and property crimes such as vehicles thefts and others were prevented or detected with the help of the existing CCTV network,” said a senior police officer. “The current CCTV network is scaleable and designed in such a manner that more cameras can easily be added to it,” said an officer, adding, “As the system has cloud storage facility, storing the feed is never an issue. The personnel required to monitor the cameras will be recruited and trained, once the project is approved.”THE NEW ENTRANTS“The new CCTV cameras will be installed at 1,200 locations strategically, to cover maximum area and prevent crimes. It will make the existing network denser, and be a force multiplier in our efforts for effective policing,” said Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (law & order).Sources said the new cameras will be like the previous ones, but with better and enhanced features and quality. The Internet Protocol (IP) address of the new cameras will help the police respond to the situation more effectively, by relaying real-time feed to the main control room and local mobile/patrolling/wireless units and supervisory (DCPs, ACP and Senior PIs) officers simultaneously. There is a plan to integrate Dial 100 [the police helpline number] with the CCTV network for better response as the police will be able to get the location of the caller. “The CCTV project is a force multiplier. It increases the department’s efficiency by many folds in delivering effective police action. One CCTV camera is equivalent to a police constable, or even more than one constable. It prevents crime and makes the city street safer even during late hours,” said Mumbai police spokesperson DCP (operation) Manjunath Singe.WHY IT MATTERSHighlighting the importance of police response, an officer said that in Wednesday’s boat capsizing incident near Nariman Point, the rescue operation was monitored from the main control room and CCTV feed was used to give live information to the men on ground zero.CCTV cameras on major roads and flyovers are synced with speed guns. This helps curb rash driving. “The network has an automatic number plate recognition system, which helps find stolen vehicles. Once the details are fed into the system, it gives exact location of the vehicle if it is spotted on the network,” said an officer, supervising the main control room functioning. The cameras at 100 locations have a face-recognition feature to detect fugitives or suspects whose facial features are fed into the system.