Wuhan police keep an eye on security concerns from a central control room, through several hundred thousands of cameras (below) installed around the city. Jin Zhenqiang / for China Daily
WUHAN - Installation of advanced electronic surveillance cameras covering the main public places and streets to provide 24-hour monitoring service, was completed in Wuhan, the largest city in Central China's Hubei province, local authority confirmed on Thursday.
Xu Runan, head of information communication department of the city's public security bureau, told China Daily some 250,000 surveillance cameras, equipped with the world's leading technology, were installed.
"All the cameras will work under the digital technique system," Xu said. "Wuhan is the first city to have completed large-scale installation of such technology in an urban zone, since it became available in China in 2009."
A central control room equipped with a touch screen, serves as the nodal point of the system, covering at least 500 square kilometers.
Xu said the system would automatically trigger an alarm if the cameras were broken or smeared.
"The technology will save us much money in daily maintenance of those cameras."
Besides saving operating cost, the intelligent system also enables cameras to work more efficiently. "It will guarantee more than 95 percent cameras working in high frequency."
Though other metropolises, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, had established the public eye system before, they did not adopt the advanced digital technique, Xu added.
According to Wuhan Evening News, the installation began in September 2009 and took two years to complete. The project cost almost 300 million yuan ($48 million), the report said.
Meanwhile, Chongqing municipality, a large city in Southwest China, also launched a major camera installation plan in mid-December, according to Chongqing Times, a local paper.
It said by the end of 2012, Chongqing will maintain more than 60,000 surveillance cameras to ensure the city's safety.
Li Dalin, a 33-year-old citizen in Wuhan, felt that increased surveillance might compromise individual privacy.
"People, especially drivers, have to be more careful as the cameras have been placed everywhere," he said.
Earlier this month, on Dec 1, a blast caused two deaths and 15 injuries outside a bank in Wuhan's Hongshan district, shocking the public. Thanks to the footage captured by the surveillance camera, the local police arrested the suspect in two weeks.
"Everything has two sides," said Xiang Deping, professor in the sociology school of Central China Normal University.
While the use of advanced technology helps protect the city better - like the arrest of the blast suspect in a short time - legal protection for citizens must be updated to safeguard their interests, Xiang said.