Amongst an upsurge in the incidence of offences against people on the Marina, particularly senior citizens and walkers, police are taking steps to make the famous sands safe. Every day, from 5 am to 8 am and from 5.30 pm to 8 pm, drones will fly along the 5-km stretch from the Light House to the MGR mausoleum, looking for any signs of trouble. Police will also be using facial recognition software to frisk those sleeping on the beach sand and take steps to prevent people from entering the waters.
Eight teams of officers from the Anna Square and Marina police stations, working in two shifts, are stationed in vehicles at strategic locations to come in handy during any emergency. The special drive that was launched a few days ago was hit by rain over the past couple of days, but despite that, “We inquired more than 120 people and verified their photographs using FRS software on Tuesday night,” Triplicane assistant commissioner of police M S Baskar said. The drones and patrolling teams will be increased during the weekend, owing to the expected surge in crowds, he added.
In the past month, at least three incidents of robbery occurred on Kamarajar Salai and the service road off the Marina and all cases were resolved, with the culprits apprehended. “We have been receiving information that history-sheeters and other offenders from other districts seek haven on the Marina at night and strike in the morning. Most of their targets are senior citizens and women coming to the beach for walks,” he said.
Police also use PA systems attached to the drones to issue warnings and to create awareness among the people who visit the beach. Residents of areas surrounding the beach and regular beach goers had been complaining regularly about being targeted by robbers including those part of gangs.
While drones and face recognition software are being used in the current drive, police say they have been frequently using special teams to comb the stretch and make the sands safe for beach goers. They have also been putting out alerts, warning people to inform patrol teams in an emergency.