KOCHI: Do not underestimate burglars. They, too, are upskilling and getting tech-savvy these days. That’s the lesson Joshi Itteera, a dentist based in Mamangalam, learnt the hard way on returning home from a family trip to Wagamon recently. Burglars had broken into his house on Thamburatti Parambu Road and made away with about 4g of gold ornaments and `35,000. Joshi was stunned as he found that the burglars had also stolen the digital video recorder (DVR) connected to the four CCTV cameras installed at the house.
“Earlier, I believed that having CCTV cameras would deter thieves,” he said. “To my surprise, the theft had happened in the daytime, and they took away the DVR. I am planning to upgrade the CCTV unit with a cloud-based storage system.”
The free run of the three ‘smart’ burglars, however, was cut short by the police in two days. Joshi was called to the Kadavanthara Police Station and asked to identify the missing ornament. Notably, the accused — Mintu Vishwas, Harichandra and Chandrabhan — had flown down to Kochi from Delhi, and were involved in six thefts at various parts of the city between April 21 and 24.
“These days, the burglars are familiar with CCTV technology,” said Deepu Oommen, state vice-president of All Kind of Electronic Security and System Integrators Association (AKESSIA). “So, after breaking into a house, they check for the DVR, and take it away. Usually, people keep DVRs near the CCTV monitoring screen. Ideally, DVRs should be kept locked in a safe place.”
Noting that CCTV units generally helped prevent thefts, Deepu said cloud-based storage systems were a foolproof alternative to DVRs. Server-based storage, he pointed out, was used in most banks and offices. There are IP cameras, too, which use network video recorder (NVR) systems with multiple DVRs, he added.
“For cloud-based systems, there would be a subscription charge for storage space,” Deepu explained. “IP cameras are getting popular these days, and they are safer. As multiple DVRs can be used, visuals can be retrieved even if one DVR is stolen or destroyed.”
There must be a coordinated effort by the police, public and security camera providers to prevent crime, Deepu said. “Even though the police have asked the public to install CCTV cams at their residences or offices, people hesitate in doing so. People fear that they would be dragged into legalities on sharing visuals from their CCTV cameras. The police must take people into confidence,” he added.Ernakulam Assistant Commissioner of Police Nizamudeen Y said people who had installed CCTV cameras should ensure DVRs were well-protected. “We will give awareness to the public regarding keeping DVRs of CCTV cameras safe,” he added.