Chennai: Senior citizens in Besant Nagar are installing CCTV cameras on their own to improve the security environment in this densely populated middle and upper middle class beachside neighbourhood in south Chennai. 'Project CCTV' would be dedicated to the young techie Swathi who was hacked to death on the Nungambakkam train platform. Police could not immediately identity the killer, though the gruesome murder happened during crowded morning, because there were no CCTV cameras on the platform and they had to depend on the footage obtained from some neighbours' cameras.
The Senior Citizens Group of Besant Nagar' (SCGOBN), a voluntary organisation of socially conscious elders, held a meeting to mourn Swathi's death and decided to raise funds for setting up CCTV cameras in the beach in her memory. “The stretch in front of the beach is a long one. It is not safe for visitors, particularly the elders, who go for strolls on the beach. We are hopeful of getting help from the corporates for this unique project”, said the SCGOBN president Prof V. Chandrasekhar (phone: 9884224480).
Welcoming the elders' group initiative, Mrs Grace Gnanadas, 86, of Besant Nagar said, "Such volunteerism by citizens must be heartily encouraged. We should not be expecting the government to help us all the time and must take of ourselves whenever possible. CCTV cameras in lonely streets and crowded shopping areas will instill a sense of confidence. It is disturbing to see news reports on violent crimes almost every day".
“This is a nice initiative. Local bodies and the government should fund at least 50 per cent of the costs as this project helps all. Government wastes a lot of money in many ways; why can't they install CCTV cameras in public places such as post offices, road crossings and flyovers to improve public security?" asked V Santhanam, a Chromepet senior citizen.
Additional Commissioner of Police (South) K. Shankar welcomed the volunteerism in Besant Nagar and said he had often told the citizen groups and residents' associations during their interactions that they should install CCTV cameras to improve their security environment. "This helps in detection of crime but more important, it helps in prevention of crime as well as the presence of these cameras could act as a deterrent for criminals and mischief-makers", he told DC....