With burglaries up 20%, Lantau police push video surveillance

Burglaries in Lantau are up 20% in the first 11 months of the year, police say, as they promote a video surveillance scheme for local villages.

Lantau District Police Commander Josephine Mak-Lau Wai-mun said the number of criminal cases this year is similar to last year, but burglaries and criminal damage cases have increased from 30 to 49.

Police are now rolling out a scheme called ‘Lantau Eyes’ in which they make use of CCTV owned by villagers to build up an anti-crime network, Apple Daily reports.

Currently nine villages, including Tong Fuk, Lo Wai village in Pui O and Ma Wan San Tsuen in Tung Chung, are taking part in the trial.

CCTV increases the difficulty of making crimes, Lau said. In Sham Shui Po, where she was previously posted, the number of burglaries had fallen by a quarter after introduction of video surveillance.

She said many of Lantau’s 58 villages were in remote locations, while villagers often were not accustomed to locking up at night or when they left their houses.

Mak said the first phase of the scheme would be to make good use of camera already installed by villagers themselves, while police would work with village leaders and rural committees to invest in the equipment.

Said police would have access to the video data only with the consent of the villagers.

Police also would post notices where videos were operating so that member of the public would be aware they were being recorded.

Fan Chi-ping, chairman of the Tung Chung Rural Committee, said it plans to spend $60,000 to $70,000 on video surveillance for its 16 villages.

Across the border, China has deployed AI-equipped 20 million cameras on city streets in the world’s most aggressive video surveillance programme.

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