Guangzhou widens surveillance

By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-22 07:16

GUANGZHOU: A further 100,000 video cameras are to be installed in public places in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, to extend the city's surveillance system.

The new units, which will cost the local government 200 million yuan ($26.4 million), will take the total in the city to 230,000 by the year's end.

A quarter of the new cameras will be installed on buses, while the others will be positioned on streets, in railway stations and at other public places.

In March, the mayor of Guangzhou, Zhang Guangning, issued a regulation for the management of surveillance cameras that said all images captured by them must be sent to the headquarters of the police via a monitoring network.

Once received, any incident occurring on film is then the responsibility of the police, Zhong Jianping, a senior official in Guangzhou said.

"This is the first integrated management system for surveillance cameras in China," Wang Yuexi, vice-director of the Guangzhou video surveillance construction office, said.

Once the new cameras are installed, the system will be much more comprehensive, he said.

According to municipal police, between January and July, surveillance cameras provided police with 800 clues, which were used to help crack 570 cases.

Police figures show that more than 80 percent of the cases cracked in the first seven months of the year were done so with the aid of clues from the video cameras.

The presence of the cameras seems also to have worked as a deterrent.

Police figures for the first six months of the year showed there was not a single criminal incident at Guangzhou Railway Station for a period of 134 days. The area has traditionally been known for its high rates of crime.

Wang said that although the surveillance system does not yet cover subway stations and trains, these should be included by the end of the year.

However, as the system grows, so does the cost to manage and operate it, Wang said. And the expense should be shared by the government and society.

He said the public should help pay for cameras installed in residential areas, while retailers should finance those positioned in local shopping malls.

(China Daily 08/22/2007 page5)

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