Digital surveillance has come to play a crucial role in solving several tricky cases in Chittoor district in the last one year. Particularly, a couple of crimes involving the theft of 5.2 kg gold from an inter-State bus at Bangarupalem and the highway robbery of mobiles worth ₹7 crore from a running vehicle at Nagari near Tamil Nadu border, were solved in a matter of one month each.
On December 8, 2019, the Bangarupalem police were on toes when two Mumbai-based jewellery business agents were robbed of 5.2 kg gold ornaments when their bus, on the way to Bengaluru from Vizag, halted at a dhaba, 20 km from Chittoor.
Two unidentified youth, who travelled in the bus, stole the baggage and decamped with the booty in an SUV, which followed the bus all the way from Vijayawada.
The Chittoor police verified the CC camera footage from Vizag to Bangarupalem, covering the national highways and toll plazas. It helped them trace the SUV used for the crime, besides identifying the accused. After a month-long gruelling investigation, a seven-member gang was nabbed near Ahmedabad and the booty recovered partially.
In another incident, on the night of August 26, 2020, an unidentified gang targetted a container lorry carrying mobile phones worth ₹14 crore at Nagari in Chittoor district, a few km away from Tamil Nadu border. Two of them hijacked the container, while others gained entry into the vehicle from the rear while it was on its way to Mumbai from a factory outlet near Chennai.
The gang deployed a lorry to trail the container. At the inter-State border, stock worth about ₹7 crore was shifted into the trailing vehicle, and the gang escaped towards Kadapa district and later reached Nagpur in Maharashtra. Again, the police took to verification of the CC camera footage to study the highway robbery. Exactly after a month, the gang was zeroed in on by special parties at a forest location in Madhya Pradesh.
Case solved in 20 hours
On night of April 28, 2020, a municipal worker murdered a migrant labourer at the prime traffic island – Gandhi Bomma junction – by hitting the latter with a stone. As it was well recorded in the CC camera at the junction, it led to the capture of the accused in a matter of 20 hours. Again, it was the CC camera footage which helped the police nab him while he was fleeing towards Tamil Nadu.
Superintendent of Police S. Senthil Kumar told The Hindu that CC cameras turned decisive to lead investigations into complicated crimes in a constructive and scientific way. “In view of the currently prevailing volatile situation elsewhere in the State with acts of vandalism in religious places, we installed as many as 4,500 CC cameras at vulnerable places on a war-footing.”
Deputy SP N. Sudhakar Reddy said that the ambitious project of installing as many as 10,000 CC cameras in Chittoor municipal corporation limits was under way, and expected to be ready by June.