Installing CCTV cam? Get approval first

Installing CCTV cam? Get approval first
This footage captured by Mr Richard's CCTV camera shows the device being smashed by his neighbour. He had installed two to monitor the neighbour's movements.

SINGAPORE - Walk around Block 137, Yishun Ring Road, and you will find many closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras mounted in the 12-storey block.

Residents have installed them for reasons such as deterring theft, warding off loan-shark runners and keeping tabs on "difficult" neighbours.

But what many people do not know is that it is illegal to install these cameras outside their flats without permission from the town council and Housing Board. However, the police may install CCTV cameras for the purpose of deterring crime after seeking prior approval from the town council, the Nee Soon Town Council told The New Paper (TNP).

One of the block's residents knows this all too well. He was once ordered by the Nee Soon Town Council to remove two CCTV cameras that he had placed outside his unit.

He had installed them to keep an eye on his neighbour, with whom he has a hostile relationship.

The resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Richard, said the feud began after his neighbour refused to clear the row of potted plants along the common corridor, which extended to the exterior of his flat.

Earlier this year, the feud became so bad that the neighbour smashed the cameras that he had in place. Mr Richard claimed he had to spend "thousands of dollars" to replace them.

He told TNP: "I felt threatened and insecure as I live every day with the nagging feeling that he would take revenge."

So Mr Richard felt that the only way he could protect his family was to have surveillance cameras to monitor his neighbour's movements.

He said: "I approached the town council and was told that having one camera is legal as long as it does not invade the privacy of other units."

However, he felt that one camera was not enough. In January, he installed two CCTV cameras, one pointed at his flat's main door and the other pointed at his window.

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