Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | It is one year since government embarked on installing Closed Circuit Television Cameras – CCTV in Kampala City and its neighboring areas particularly Wakiso and Mukono districts to ease security monitoring.
So far, police and Huawei technologies have installed 2547 out of the 3233 cameras proposed for Kampala. Nevertheless, less than 2000 cameras are online whiles others are yet to be connected to the police division monitoring centers.
In its first year one, police claim that the CCTV project is doing wonders in areas of crime investigations and capturing traffic offenders. The Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, says the CCTV has greatly helped in capturing images of criminal elements before or after committed crime.
“So far the successes are great, we have achieved a lot. In terms of investigations we are using CCTV footage to provide evidence and we are winning cases. In most cases some of the suspects admit once they see the CCTV footage yet they had earlier denied the crimes,” Onyango said.
He cites the ongoing and concluded investigations in crime incidents such as murders, kidnaps and street mugging being handled with the aid of the security cameras. The latest case being investigated with the help of the CCTV footage is that of Maria Nagirinya and her part time driver, Ronald Kitayimbwa who were kidnapped on August 28, 2019.
The duo was kidnapped outside Nagirinya’s residence in Lugunjja in Rubaga Division in Kampala. The kidnappers were captured on CCTV driving Nagirinya’s Spacio vehicle registration number UBA 570V. The said suspects have since been arrested.
Another incident captured by CCTV is the assassination of Joshua Nteireho Rushegera and woman, Mellina Tumukunde along Entebbe Expressway last week. The two were shot dead while driving in a vehicle registration number UAW 534B. CCTV cameras captured the incident and police are using the footage to track down the assailants.
Kampala Metropolitan police has registered at least 187 crime incidents, which have been investigated or still under investigation as a result of crime scenes recorded by CCTV cameras erected on various streets and roads.
On February 24th, 2019, CCTV cameras captured a man who stole a mobile phone at Kampala road. Onyango says the suspect was picked up and arraigned before court where he confessed to the crime after police tabled CCTV footage.
Other crime incidents recorded by CCTV include theft of motor vehicle registration number UDZ 012L by unknown person at Serena Nile Avenue. The suspect was captured using Wandegeya, Old Kampala, Katwe and Nansana CCTV cameras until he was arrested on June 23rd.
Norman Musinga, Traffic Commander Kampala Metropolitan Police also applauds the CCTV cameras for the great job they are playing in tracing traffic offenders, hit and run motorcycles and vehicles. Traffic police cites a vehicle UBF 622A that sped off after hitting street cleaner on June 10th, 2019.
The driver thought escaping was safe for him even after crashing the woman yet the incident was recorded by CCTV cameras. “There are very many incidents that have been addressed with the help of cameras. These CCTV cameras help us to prosecute the culprits by capturing the footage on how the offence occurred. We are able to monitor whatever happens and we use in it court to implicate the suspects,” Musinga says.
Not only arresting traffic offenders has been enabled by CCTV cameras but also settling matters between road users. Musinga elaborates that sometimes drivers accuse each other of being wrong but when footage is played, one of them concedes and matters get solved.
Over 800 traffic scenes have been recorded by CCTV cameras particularly involving Boda boda riders, taxi drivers and private vehicle owners. The incidents include heads-ons, hit and run, pillion, driving on pavements, knocking pavements and road barriers.
“There was an incident on Entebbe Road where the driver crushed the road barrier, with help of CCTV cameras we were able to trace the time when the vehicle past there and direction it took. We were able to trace for the car and apprehended the driver,” Musinga said.
Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga believes more criminal elements will be captured using CCTV cameras once the installation exercise is complete.
Police believes even incidents where criminals have successfully attacked business people like mobile money operators will be minimized under the fulltime watch of CCTVs.
“The cameras are already transforming modern day policing in Uganda, with facial recognition and artificial intelligence as part of policing and security. They are also helping us to be more accountable through increased visibility and better response mechanisms,” Enanga said.
He says CCTVs are becoming a wide spread feature in the lives of Ugandan, where citizens are more secure and conscious in public spaces with CCTVs. The other innovations include; DNA, Fingerprinting of guns and digitalising of Registration number plates.