Despite spending tens of tens of millions of baht over the years to maintain its closed-circuit TV cameras, half of them remain broken, a problem nearly as old as the security system itself, Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said.
The root of the problem, he said, is that the cameras, usually mounted on electricity poles, use fiber-optic cable to transmit images to the city’s CCTV control center. However, electrical shorts, fires, rats and other problems have damaged wires and those breakages were never repaired.
The Provincial Electricity Authority will devote 30 million baht of its budget for its ongoing project to bury power lines throughout the city to replace the fiber-optic lines. Pattaya also will spend another 50 million baht to hire a company to begin replacing wired cameras with wireless versions and to maintain the system, he said.
The goal, he said, is to have 80 percent of 3,000 cameras working by the end of 2021 with the entire network switched to wireless by the start of 2023.
Pattaya, however, has struggled to meet such challenges for as long as its been using CCTV cameras.
A similar pledge to repair the city’s cameras was made in December 2017 by City council Chairman Anan Angkanawisai who, even back then, estimated that half the city’s cameras were broken and have been for years.
His broken promise came four months after the City Council dropped plans to spend 21.7 million baht on additional CCTV cameras, claiming police should pick up the tab.
Pattaya police had been complaining about the broken cameras since August 2016, citing a string of crimes for which they were hampered in tracking suspects due to lack of video. Almost exactly a year ago to the day before that, Banglamung District’s chief ordered 1,600 cameras be checked to ensure they worked following last August’s Bangkok shrine bombing.
At that time, Pattaya had 2,077 cameras in five areas, including 401 along Kratinglai, Pattaya Beach and Jomtien Beach, 404 at intersections and busy roads, 513 around buildings such as shopping malls and supercenters, 511 in public parks and spaces, 48 on Koh Larn and 200 more that are watching marine transport.