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More cameras mean increased security, says police offical

ISTANBUL- Hurriyet Daily news | 6/29/2011 12:00:00 AM | Çağla Pınar Tunçel

Every house and street should have security cameras, according to Kemal Erbir, the deputy police chief responsible for the cameras watching Istanbul seven days, 24 hours

Security cameras should be set up in all provinces in conjunction with police and support from locals. Locals should be encouraged to collect money in their community to buy security systems where the state is unable to provide the service, Istanbul’s deputy police chief has said.

According to Kemal Erbir, the deputy police chief responsible for the Mobile Electronic System Integration Center, or MOBESE, in some peaceful areas, people are not aware of how the system works affectively. “But I’m afraid one day they will regret for it. There should be pressure by the authorities on every location. Even in the case of opening a shop, the owner should be ordered to set up security cameras on the premise,” Erbir said, adding that the cameras are a deterrent to theft and other crimes.

[HH]‘People lie, cameras don’t’

“We have experienced cases where witnesses lied about the situation, but cameras always tell the truth,” said Erbir, adding that people now are seeking to move to neighborhoods with cameras.

MOBESE has been active since 2005 in Istanbul’s 39 districts with 4,102 cameras. The center is for instant visualization and is a tracking system at intersection points. Through the visualization, the system makes it possible to monitor incidents in the area by both ordinary security cameras and domes that are able to record 12 different angles, as well as enables later inspection by recording the incidents.

Emphasizing that the system prevents crime and caused the crime rate to decrease, Erbil said the system allowed people to feel more confident. After 15 days the cameras start to record over the old footage, as it is impossible to keep the records forever due to low capacity of hard discs. “In an addition to the fiber optics connections in 1,193 points, before some protests, rallies or holiday celebrations, we establish wireless cameras as well on strategic points, for instance Istanbul’s most crowded location Taksim Square,” said Erbir, adding that in emergency cases and with permission the police can connect to private wireless security systems and monitor some private areas.

In a response to a question about whether the cameras violate the right of privacy, Erbir said the system does not encroach on people’s privacy because the cameras have a darkening mode that blocks buildings’ appearance.

MOBESE keeps the record of each vehicle passing through intersections and through the plate recognition system, or PAS, reads the plates of all vehicles passing by. “In case of stolen vehicles, we can reach the vehicle if its plate is already in our database,” Erbir said.

Explaining the importance of the control center, Erbir said it is impossible for police officers to watch more than 4,000 cameras all day long. “In this center the data can be tracked online and the suspects can be reached quickly.”

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