A total of 12 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and a 360 degree PTZ camera have been installed in the core areas of the border town of Gelephu Thromde (municipality) to improve security and safety.
Gelephu Thromde in coordination with the Royal Bhutan Police installed the surveillance cameras to deter crime and assist police in providing better security.
The RBP Gelephu dedicated the initiative to commemorate a decade of glorious reign of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck.
“Many offenses have low reporting rates, especially minor acts of violence, graffiti, and drug offenses, now the CCTVs are better placed to spot these offenses and this can actually drive up their recorded crime figures,” said a Thromde official.
The Gelephu OC of the RBP said the presence of cameras in public places would reduce fear of crime in people and may also encourage people to be more security conscious. Camera footage could also help identify potential witnesses who might not otherwise come forward to police.
“For the crime prevention process to succeed the offender must be aware of the cameras’ presence and the offender must believe that the camera presents enough risk of capture to negate the reward of the intended crime,” the OC said.
But cameras may also have a reverse effect forcing the criminal fraternity to be more imaginative and to diversify operations, according to Chimi Rinzin, a Gelephu resident. “For example, drug dealers may move to a system where orders would be taken by mobile phone,” he said.
The Gelephu Thrompon, Tika Ram Kaffley, said, that while surveillance is to deter the criminal activities in the thromde it did not mean that a CCTV system would cover all aspects for making crime zero in the thromde.
Some residents cautioned against over-investing in CCTV cameras at the expense of more effective measures such as streetlights, which might way better at deterring offenders.
“If this pilot project proves to be successful, more such cameras will be installed,” Thromde officials said.