City Hall to Add 600 Security Cameras Throughout the Capital

Over the coming year, City Hall will install some 600 security cameras at intersections across Phnom Penh, adding to the 200 Chinese-donated cameras already operated by the National Police.

Municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said the new cameras would be used to monitor traffic flow and provide better public security.

“For the 600 security cameras, we will aim to finish [installing them] during the first semester of this year,” he said.

Mr. Dimanche said he did not know how much the project would cost, but explained that City Hall would be footing the bill and that the cameras would most likely be purchased from China.

The new cameras will work in coordination with the 200 National Police cameras installed last year at a cost of $3 million donated by Beijing.

Affixed to traffic lights by Chinese police in July and August, the cameras were made operational late last month, according to Min Sovanna, director of the National Police’s radio communication department.

A 24-hour command center with 32 square meters of LCD screens has allowed police to pursue several cases they would not have otherwise been able to, Major General Sovanna said, though he declined to give details.

“Since the cameras have been operating, we have seen offenses related to traffic issues and [bag] snatchings,” he said. “I cannot tell more details because it is a secret issue.”

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor at rights group Licadho, said CCTV cameras could be an effective tool in combating crime, but only if it was backed by sufficient resources.

“Security cameras are an additional means [to tackle crime], but if there are not enough police to prevent or crack down on offenses, crimes will still happen,” he said. “We don’t know whether this has been effective.”

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