Unlike in Erbil, the installation of security cameras is not compulsory in Iraqi Kurdistan’s other major city, Sulaymaniyah.
“We always advise people to install security cameras in their houses or in their neighbourhoods and in markets but we don’t force anyone to do this,” Rzgar Hama Rahim, the spokesperson for the Asayesh in Sulaymaniyah told NIQASH; apparently there was a plan to set up more security cameras in the province but that has been put on hold due to Iraqi Kurdistan’s financial crisis. “Security cameras play an important role in finding criminals and we may be able to reduce the number of crimes committed here because of them. For example, we have found gangs dealing in counterfeit currencies, using security cameras.”
Sarkout Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Sulaymaniyah police, says the cameras are particularly useful for attacks on private homes and for traffic incidents. One of the most recent incidents to illustrate this was a hit and run incident in Erbil on Dec. 25 last year. The police were able to find the driver very quickly.
There are also others profiting from the security cameras. There had been a surge in security camera sales in Iraqi Kurdistan at first but that has changed over the past few years, traders say, also due to the financial crisis.
Farouq Mohammed opened a camera shop in Sulaymaniyah in 2012 and he says that during 2013 and 2014, he sold many of them; most of the ones sold in Iraqi Kurdistan are made in China.
“Shops, supermarkets, barber shops, casinos and many other public businesses need approval from the government and that approval is given on the condition that surveillance cameras are installed,” Mohammed told NIQASH.