In Annecy and Chambéry: Video Surveillance and Neighbourhood Watch

When April came around, the cities of Annecy and Chambéry decided to use video surveillance to make sure the lockdown period was respected, but also received help from concerned citizens.

Video Surveillance for Groups and Park Visitors

In Savoie and Haute-Savoie, authorities have made good use of the previously installed surveillance cameras during the coronavirus lockdown confinement. But as the Mayor of Chambéry explained, they aren’t being used to “play cop” but only to intervene when groups of people were formed or when someone entered a park. There are close to 80 cameras in Chambéry and about 100 in Annecy.

The city of Annecy in France is a delight in natural beauty. Its famous lake (le lac d’Annecy) features crystalline water surrounded by beautiful mountains. It simply makes it that much more difficult for citizens to be locked inside their houses, waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to move on. Therefore, the use of the camera helps to catch those who decided to go for a walk in the park at a time when it is not permitted. They will be in use till the end of the confinement period, 7 days a week and 20 hours per day.

The Usual Suspects

One of the elements that the use of cameras has highlighted is that it would seem it is always the same people not respecting the lockdown in place. Also, the longer this period is lasting and the more people seem to forget about the rules. In the last week-ends of April, there were many more people walking around the lake in Annecy. Keeping strict containment is becoming harder as the weeks go by.

However, those who are respecting the confinement rules are also becoming tenser about the situation. During the last few weeks, the police have been receiving more and more calls to inform them of someone being out walking outside whom – according to the caller – should not be doing so. Sometimes, it is about people making a barbecue or having a drink between more than two people. The police force says that they are seeing a rise in whistleblowing between neighbours, which is sometimes not so welcomed. When it is to inform us about a gathering of people, says one constable, we definitely make sure to go and break it up but in regards to an individual walking, it is most of the time only about someone being in a fight with his neighbour and wanting to bother him.

The Police Do the Same

In truth, there haven’t been many serious issues that were discovered through the use of the surveillance cameras; which means the citizens were really up to the task of staying home, as the government and health officials have asked them repeatedly to do. The police force, similarly to the neighbourhood watch calls, have mostly identified barbecue and people sunbathing by the lake. It did give them a sense of where to look for though, as people seem to be doing the same things in the same places. With the streets of their respective cities mostly empty at all time, day and night, it made enforcing the law much easier according to those in charge of the surveillance.