Those 2-MP CCTVs can’t identify criminals

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Investigation into the failure of the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in solving terrorism-related cases, especially those terror activities that are carried out at night, has revealed that all the Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras installed across Karachi do not have night vision capability.

It has been established that all the CCTV cameras that were installed across the city for monitoring and security purposes can work only in the daytime or when the street lights are switched on at night.

However, investigators have claimed that the CCTV cameras have been found to be ineffective even during the day because the two-megapixel devices are useless when it comes to recognizing suspects captured in the footage.

As per details provided by Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) chief Ahmed Chinoy and DHA spokesperson Major Aurangzeb, there are 2,464 CCTV cameras installed at different locations of the city for monitoring. Out of them, the Sindh government Command and Control (C&C) has 1,062 CCTV cameras, Sindh Police’s Video Surveillance System (VSS) has 952 while Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has 450 cameras in its surveillance system.

Chinoy added that 910 cameras of the Sindh government C&C possessed night vision capability.

All the installed CCTV cameras are two-megapixel devices and are not powerful enough to record or grab perfect footage or picture of the suspect from 15 to 20-foot height. The Sindh Police have been using two-megapixel CCTV cameras to investigate heinous crimes ranging from terrorist activities to kidnapping for ransom.

“We have no night vision camera in our surveillance system,” Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) head SSP Raja Umar Khitab said. “Even the footage of different incidents recorded by the cameras in daytime only helped the investigators to understand the way a crime was committed,” Khitab added.

“Whenever, the footage or pictures from the CCTV cameras were sent to National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) for identification of suspects, NADRA turned down our request on technical grounds,” Khitab maintained.

RANGERS ATTACK CASE:

For instance, a suicide bomber targeted a patrolling mobile of Rangers in North Nazimabad on the night of March 20, killing two paramilitary soldiers and injuring four others, including two Rangers’ personnel. Sindh Police Inspector General (IG) Ghulam Haider Jamali said that police would arrest the culprits by preparing sketches of the suicide bomber with the help of the CCTV footage.

However, police failed to prepare the sketches of the suicide bomber as there was no CCTV camera installed at the site of explosion or the cameras installed at Sharae Noor Jehan could not produce quality footage.

“There is no camera installed at the site of explosion or the cameras fixed near the blast site could not produce quality footage, which help in preparation of sketches, due to low resolution,” North Nazimabad Deputy Superintendent of Rangers (DSR) Mansoor said.

IQRA UNIVERSITY CASE:

Karachi Police had another challenging case in which a student of Iqra University (IU) was dumped in front of Azam Basti Gate after abduction in the ongoing month. The police got the footage of the incident from different sources, but the low-resolution recordings proved ineffective. The available footage just shows a man engulfed by flames, but not the way he was put on fire by the suspects.

“DHA has installed four CCTV cameras in front of Azam Basti Gate and if the installed cameras have night vision capacity then it would prove helpful in understanding the IU student case,” Baloch Colony Police Station Investigation Officer Imtiaz said. “Currently, we have footage of the incident just showing a man engulfed by flames,” the officer added.