Open letter to the BBMP Commissioner on streetlights and surveillance

A citizen investigation on the correlation between accidents and the presence of streetlights and surveillance cameras in Bengaluru.

At the recently held BBMP – Work Orders, Budgets and Processes Datajam, a group of citizen volunteers analysed the data available in the public domain, here are their observations and suggestions on BBMP’s expenditure on street lights and surveillance and its links to road safety.

To:

Sri. Ravindra P N,
BBMP Special Commissioner (Projects)

Dear Sir,

We are a group of citizen volunteers. We would like to share our observations and suggestions on BBMP’s expenditure on street lights and surveillance. And examine its links to road safety.

Observations:

We looked at road accidents and the distribution of the funds (work orders) for streetlights and surveillance in the city. We found that peripheral areas, such as Yelahanka and Jakkur, had more accidents (based on 2022 traffic police data) and were more accident-prone due to hazardous roads.

most accidents occur in BBMP peripheral areas
Occurrence of road accidents across Bengaluru. Peripheral areas are more prone to road accidents. Map courtesy: opencity.in

BBMP work orders for 2019-2022 show that much of the current spending for streetlights and CCTV cameras are also focused on peripheral areas. CCTV cameras are primarily installed by BBMP for garbage surveillance.

Only few parts of the city have high density coverage
BBMP work orders for street lighting in Bengaluru. Map courtesy: opencity.in
high concentration of surveillance cameras in 2 wards only
BBMP work order data for surveillance cameras in Bengaluru. Map courtesy: opencity.in

The central areas appear to have a better network of cctv cameras and fewer road accidents.

However, since the city police mainly uses CCTV for crime prevention and to prevent garbage littering by BBMP, it is unclear if surveillance data is used for traffic management and road safety. The team also wanted to look at crime in relation to street lights and CCTV cameras. However, police station wise crime data is not available for Bengaluru.

Suggestions:

  1. We need more studies on the efficacy of surveillance in improving safety, cleanliness and preventing crime
  2. Data on type of road accident should be made public
  3. Police station wise data on crime in the city should be available
  4. Data on streetlights – locations and number of street lights or number per street needs to be made public by BBMP
  5. Data on CCTV cameras – how many were procured each year, where these cameras are installed, needs to be made public by BBMP

About us:

We are volunteers who participated in a recent Open City data jam – civic solutions workshop. The datajam was organised by OpenCity, a civic tech project that helps make public data on cities accessible to all. Our goal is to enable citizens and civic groups to have a shared understanding of their city’s issues and use data as a basis for co-creating solutions. At the event on July 15th, we looked at BBMP work orders, budgets and processes.

More about the event can be found here.

Report compiled by Bhanu Sridharan

Also read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Chennai’s new airport: On-ground realities differ from what’s on paper

There are many inconsistencies in the various documents and reports prepared to facilitate the greenfield airport project in Parandur.

It's close to 700 days since residents of Parandur and surrounding villages started their protest against the government’s decision to establish a new greenfield airport at a site in that area in the outskirts of Chennai. People living there allege that authorities did not consult them or listen to their grievances before proceeding with the project.  Just after the Lok Sabha elections, the government sent a notification announcing land acquisition for the proposed airport. Recent news reports indicate that some villagers have decided to relocate to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, as their livelihoods are threatened. The impact on the lives and…

Similar Story

Taking flight: Does Chennai need a second airport and at what cost?

Civic and environmental activists question the feasibility of the greenfield airport in Parandur and suggest expansion of Chennai airport.

Ten lakes, two streams, 3,500 acres of agricultural land, 1,005 families and hundreds of plant and animal species — these are all under threat because of one development project. There has been a considerable buzz regarding the Chennai Greenfield Airport set to come up in Parandur on the outskirts of the city. But, not all the noise is positive. Villagers in Parandur have been protesting for almost 700 days and some have even boycotted the Lok Sabha 2024 elections, asking the government to withdraw the project.   Yet, work is steadily progressing on the greenfield airport and the government is…