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Building a safer Bengaluru

The Bengaluru Safe City project is envisaged as a solution to address issues related to urban safety and policing.
Last Updated 23 February 2024, 21:21 IST

Crime and violence present a significant challenge to the economic development of any city. Bengaluru, slated to be the fastest-growing city in the Asia-Pacific region in 2023, works round the clock as the Silicon Valley of India. The city has become home to people from diverse geographies, cultures, and nationalities, creating unique challenges for its urban safety ecosystem.

The Bengaluru Safe City project is envisaged as a solution to address issues related to urban safety and policing. Creating a safe city necessitates a comprehensive and integrated approach to information technology systems. Key elements of urban safety include:

Surveillance systems: Monitoring technologies like CCTV cameras help deter and detect criminal activities.

Lighting: Well-lit streets and public spaces increase safety by reducing hiding spots and improving visibility.

Emergency Services Integration: Quick response times from police, fire, and medical services.

Public transportation security: Ensuring the safety of commuters through measures like surveillance, emergency buttons, and security personnel.

Community policing: Building relationships between law enforcement and the community to enhance trust and cooperation.

Smart infrastructure: technology integration to manage traffic, monitor public spaces, and respond to emergencies.

Public awareness and education: awareness about safety measures and promoting community involvement in maintaining security.

Environmental design: planning urban spaces with safety in mind, such as designing streetscapes to discourage criminal activities.

Cybersecurity: protecting digital infrastructure from cyber threats to maintain the safety of critical systems.

Disaster preparedness: Plans and infrastructure in place to handle natural disasters or other emergencies.

The Bengaluru Safe City project comprises various elements mentioned above:

Surveillance systems: The project comprises the installation of 7,500 cameras at around 3,000 important and sensitive locations. The cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence-based video analytics capabilities and data retrieval capabilities based on pre-defined criteria. More than 600 body-worn cameras are operational, with officers encouraged to wear them during public interactions.

Emergency response support system: A dedicated centre equipped with trained personnel to receive and process emergency calls, dispatch appropriate response teams, and coordinate overall emergency response efforts. Namma 112 is the emergency response number of the Bangalore city police, with location-based services for faster response.

Command and control centre: A state-of-the-art Command and Control Centre (C&C) is established with cutting-edge technologies, including AI and data analytics, to collect, process, and analyse information from diverse sources in real-time. The feed from all 7,500 cameras will be stored and can be viewed on a real-time basis from here, and all 250 Hoysala vehicles that are patrolling around the clock in the city are also controlled and managed by this C&C centre.

Public awareness and education: Under this project, various training programmes, conducted by top academic and research institutions like NIMHANS and NLSIU, focus on gender sensitization, good behaviour, and soft skills for policemen on duty as well as other stakeholders.

Focus on women’s safety: The project has a special emphasis and focus on women’s safety as it was initiated out of Nirbhaya funds. Certain schemes, like the women’s help desk in all police stations, critical care response units in government hospitals to help women in distress, and an integrated Nirbhaya centre for providing shelter and emergency help to victims, are operational. Another innovative feature is the creation of 50 women’s safety islands in crime-prone areas where women in distress can contact control rool with a mere touch of a button.

Cybersecurity: The Bengaluru Police Cybersphere Centre of Excellence (CoE) represents a forward-looking vision aimed at creating a modern R&D and think tank for research on emerging technologies and combating cyber crimes. This CoE will be established in collaboration with leading IT companies in Bengaluru.

Mobile Forensic Units: Forensic units play a crucial role in crime scene investigations and law enforcement. These specialised vehicles have the tools and equipment needed for forensic analysis. Eight such mobile forensic units have been made operational and are manned by scene-of-crime officers, who are trained for the purpose. The opening of a high-tech C&C centre for Bengaluru City Police is a big leap in that direction. The next challenge before us is to integrate the crime database, police IT, and camera feeds for real-time monitoring and analysis. Utilising data analytics to predict potential crime hotspots based on historical patterns will enable the police to allocate resources proactively. Expected to be completed in three months, this project will contribute to creating a safer environment for the citizens of Bengaluru.

(The writer is Additional Commissioner of Police, East, Bengaluru City)

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(Published 23 February 2024, 21:21 IST)

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