Monday, February 27, 2012

Golden Temple CCTV steals a march on thieves

Amritsar On February 24, a Sikh devotee from Attepur village in Gurdaspur district went to take a bath in Golden Temple Sarovar near Dukh Bhanjani Beri. As he entered the Sarovar, a man decamped with his trousers containing his wallet and cellphone. The thief — oblivious of the fact that a team was watching him doing the act on a LCD screen that  broadcasts the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera footage live — is caught in no time.

A Canada-based NRI complained to the Golden Temple authorities that her purse, which contained her and her colleagues’ passports, has been stolen. What worried the victims most was that they were scheduled to board a flight back to Canada in the evening. The CCTV surveillance team rewinds the recording of the video footage of the suspected place and after identifying the thieves, nabs them near the SGPC information centre. The purse was recovered from a dustbin. The NRIs managed to catch the flight back home.

With nearly one lakh devotees paying obeisance every day at the Golden Temple — the number rises to a lakh-and-a-half on weekends and festivals — the Sikh shrine is a favourite hunting ground for thieves.

But an initiative is fast heading towards earning the distinction of a “game-changer” in tackling such thefts at the holy shrine. The CCTV cameras installed at the temple are turning out to be a nemesis of kind for the thieves. Since June, 2011 — when the cameras became functional — 140 thieves have been caught in the act with the help of CCTV footage. If one goes by record, almost every alternate day, a thief is caught at the temple.

As many as 130 CCTV cameras have been installed at what officials call “strategic places” to keep an eye on thieves and unscrupulous elements inside the temple. “Ever since the installation of the cameras, there has been a positive change. We have successfully thwarted theft attempts, cracked cases and handed over the thieves to the police,” Golden Temple Manager Harbans Singh Malhi told The Indian Express.

with thanks : ExpressIndia : link in headline for detailed news.

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