Albanian police on Friday said they had found 47 new surveillance cameras erected illegally in the Durres region.
They said the cameras had been put up “to provide information for criminal purposes, as well as to monitor the movements of the police”. Eight people are under investigation.
On Thursday, 16 new cameras were also noted in the city of Vlora. Police declared that the motives for putting them up were the same.
“The finalization of the third phase of the [police] operation resulted in the dismantling of 16 cameras controlled by the criminal contingent for the purpose of information. The cameras were placed in high-traffic areas in the city,” a police statement said.
Illegal surveillance cameras put up by crime gangs were first found in the city of Shkodra. Police found 59 illegal cameras in the northern city.
The installation of such cameras is against Albanian law on “Protection of personal data” and constitutes the crime of “Unjust interference in private life”.
This says the illegal placement of recording devices that expose the private lives of people without their consent is a crime punishable by a fine or up to two years in jail.
All three cities are known for having a high degree of organized crime, with gangs responsible for a series of killings in public spaces, often warning each other with “explosive attacks” and cultivating drugs.
Placement of illegal CCTVs by criminals has become common elsewhere in the Balkan region, especially in Montenegro.
In April 2016, Montenegrin police found 21 illegal CCTVs erected in 11 locations in the coastal town of Kotor. The UNESCO-protected town is known for its war between rival drug gangs.
The conflict started in 2015 after 300 kilos of cocaine vanished from an apartment in Spain in 2014. At least 40 people have been killed in Montenegro, Serbia, Austria and Greece in the conflict.
During raids, Kotor police found several receivers of illegal CCTVs, owned by suspected drug gang members. In April 2016, illegal CCTVs were also found in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. In September 2016, the country’s Special State Prosecution opened an investigation into illegal CCTVs but no charges were filed so far.
Source : Balkan Insight