Karnataka Police have the most number of CCTV cameras in India

If one were to go by a recent Union Home Ministry report, Karnataka Police top the list in the number of CCTV cameras deployed among the states. According to statistics as on January 1, 2016, Karnataka police use 3,952 CCTV cameras for traffic, security and investigative purposes. The state is followed by Madhya Pradesh (2,977), Kerala (2,458), Andhra Pradesh (2,443) and Rajasthan (2,025). Interestingly, the ratio of police personnel in the state is the second lowest among southern states after Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka the police-to-people ratio stands at a worrying 1:876. UN standards prescribe one police officer for every 454 people. With the Karnataka government mulling installation of 5,000 more CCTV cameras to strengthen security in Bengaluru alone, activists feel video surveillance can’t replace visible police presence or night patrolling.

The visible beat policing system is the most effective crime prevention measure especially in places where streetlights are inadequate or in spots prone to crimes like chain snatching. CCTV visuals may help trace offenders but visible police patrolling will prevent incidents of chain snatching, house break-ins and robbery attempts,” said K S Vimala of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). “Presence of police vehicles on streets will discourage offenders and instil confidence in people, particularly women,” she said.

While police officials say 250 Hoysala and 400 Cheetah vehicles patrol the city, many residents complain it is not effective. “Criminals seem to be aware about the timing of mobile patrol squads. They are often stationed on main roads and rarely patrol interior stretches. There are complaints against Hoysala staffers about extorting money from street vendors,” said Muneer Sherif of Kammanahalli. Sources say e-beat system, which was first introduced in Indiranagar police station limits in 2001, is dysfunctional. Under e-beat system, details of beat policeman were stored in cards that had to be swiped on e-Beat machines installed at road junctions in residential areas. “We are planning to resume the e-beat system to strengthen police patrolling at night. Action will be initiated against police personnel who are extorting money from people,” said a senior police officer.