Smart cameras play part in solving crime

A police camera at a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6. The police installed 51 new cameras at Ang Mo Kio Town Centre in June last year, under the PolCam 2.0 programme, as part of the field-testing.
A police camera at a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6. The police installed 51 new cameras at Ang Mo Kio Town Centre in June last year, under the PolCam 2.0 programme, as part of the field-testing.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Overall crime decreased by 2.6% last year to 32,964 cases, from 33,839 cases in 2015

A new police camera system capable of sending an alert when a crime is in progress has helped solve more than 1,000 cases.

Police said the high-definition cameras have provided useful leads in their investigations.

As of last year, about 3,400 video clips from these cameras have helped police solve more than 1,600 cases, which include theft, unlicensed moneylending and molestation.

The smart cameras and video analytics, which uses software, have been field-tested by the police since June 2016 when they installed new police cameras, or what is known as PolCam 2.0, in selected town centres.

Describing how the camera works, Assistant Commissioner of Police Jarrod Pereira said that if the camera captures people fighting, the video analytics can alert the police about the fight, after which officers will be dispatched to the scene.

He added: "So, it (PolCam 2.0) will cover commons areas, common specific corridors, carparks, hawker centres...

"We are also trying to leverage the video technology, in terms of how we use the cameras."

 

There are also more than 62,000 police cameras installed in 10,000 Housing Board blocks and multi-storey carparks under the PolCam 1.0 programme, which began in April 2012.

By the end of next month, police would have installed 1,385 new cameras under PolCam 2.0. More of these cameras will be installed over the next few years at 2,500 locations across Singapore. Police installed 51 of these new cameras at Ang Mo Kio Town Centre in June last year as part of the field-testing.

Mr Kelvin Wang, a grassroots leader, told The Straits Times: "Those who want to be a bit more mischievous, they'll definitely be more conscious (of the new cameras). For ordinary people, if you don't tell them there is a camera there, nobody would notice or care."

Deputy Superintendent of Police Foo Jit Choon from Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre related to The Straits Times the usefulness of the cameras. "Police cameras have helped us identify a suspect in a case of outrage of modesty, and recently helped us locate a missing subject," she said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, crimes in seven categories, including violent or serious property crimes, housebreaking and related crimes, and theft and related crimes have registered 30-year lows.

Overall crime decreased by 2.6 per cent in 2016, from 33,839 cases in 2015, to 32,964 cases.

The number of violent or serious property crimes fell from 299 in 2015 to 248 last year, a decrease of 17.1 per cent, while housebreaking and related crimes saw 285 cases, a 16.2 per cent decrease from 340 in 2015.

There was a 9.5 per cent fall in theft and related crimes to 14,127 cases last year, compared with 15,615 the previous year

Harassment cases related to unlicensed moneylending also fell to a 10-year low, decreasing by 20.4 per cent from 4,242 cases in 2015 to 3,375 cases last year.

Motor vehicle-related thefts fell to a 30-year low of 1,107 cases last year, compared with 1,533 cases in 2015. The improvement "could be partly attributed" to the increase in use of in-vehicle cameras and residents who sign up for the Vehicle on Watch (VOW) project, police said.

Since 2015, the VOW project has seen an increase in participation, with 5,500 vehicle owners using their dashcams to help deter crime in more than 500 carparks islandwide.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2017, with the headline 'Smart cameras play part in solving crime'. Print Edition | Subscribe