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Yangon to Put Up More CCTV Cameras in High-Crime Neighborhoods

By Thazin Hlaing 7 June 2019

YANGON—The Yangon regional government has unveiled plans to install more surveillance cameras in crime-ridden neighborhoods of the country’s largest city.

“The police force is overstretched in Yangon, and therefore needs technical support to control crime. We are currently installing CCTV cameras,” said Colonel Aung Soe Moe, the Yangon regional security and border affairs minister, at a press conference on Wednesday.

The priority will be given to Hlaingtharyar Township, the largest of the country’s 330 townships, which at the time of the 2014 national census had an estimated population of nearly 700,000, the majority of its residents being internal migrants working low-paid factory jobs. The township is also home to Myanmar’s largest population of squatters.

“We will install surveillance cameras, particularly in Hlaingtharyar, the main focus of our law-enforcements efforts. In addition, we will install more surveillance cameras in high-crime areas like the four Dagon townships [Dagon Seikkan, East Dagon, North Dagon, South Dagon], Insein and Shwepyithar,” the minister said.

According to the regional government, China has provided 240 surveillance cameras for Yangon, of which 140 will be installed in Hlaingtharyar with the remainder going to other neighborhoods.

Regional lawmaker U Myat Min Thu, who represents Hlaingtharyar Township, welcomed the added security in the area.

“The township is vast, and police are overstretched. So, CCTV camera installation will contribute a lot to the police force and to law-enforcement efforts,” he said.

Surveillance cameras are already installed in parts of downtown Yangon including the vicinity of City Hall as well as around Inya Lake and Shwedagon Pagoda. Cameras have also been installed at 154 traffic lights as part of the city’s traffic control system.

Data received through CCTV cameras at traffic lights have also helped police trace criminals, Col. Aung Soe Moe said.

However, Ma Mi Mi, a resident of Hlaingtharyar Township, said she’d rather see efforts made to keep the streetlamps on at night than installing CCTV cameras.

“When female factory workers go home from work in the evenings, it is around 7 and already dark. The streetlamps are distant from one another, and there aren’t many of them in residential wards. Sometimes, the streetlamps don’t work and the darkness makes it easier to commit crimes. Simply installing CCTV cameras won’t reduce crime,” she said.

According to the Yangon regional government, a total of 2,995 CCTV cameras have been installed in 1,138 places across Yangon.

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