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New York to introduce 3,000 new surveillance cameras

By Stevie Smith Jul 10, 2007, 17:18 GMT

The New York Police Department has this week revealed that it is to introduce a new security surveillance system throughout the area of lower Manhattan in order better track criminals and terrorists throughout the city's financial district.

More specifically, the NYPD has announced that some 3,000 public and private security cameras will be gradually brought online throughout the wide-ranging system, with 116 car license plate readers also due to be introduced before the close of 2007, reports ABC News.

Paul Browne, an official NYPD spokesman, has commented that footage gleaned from the expansive web of cameras would be retained for 30 days before then being discarded or recorded over with new footage. The additional 3,000 cameras being brought into service by the city will contribute to an estimated total camera count of over 7,000 located in the downtown Manhattan area alone.

While improved security is the NYPD’s aim, especially considering terrorism concerns remaining from the 911 attack on the city, the Browne also allayed privacy concerns by outlining that camera footage "would be used to intercept a threat coming our way but not to collect data indiscriminately on individuals."

New York’s widening of its camera surveillance system comes on the back of similar expansions in various US cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. Chicago’s police department has introduced in excess of 500 cameras throughout the city’s streets in recent times, which it claims has led to some 1,200 arrests since early 2006 and also a dramatic overall boost in fighting crime.

John Lewin, the Chicago Police Department’s commander of information services, enthuses that CPD research points to the camera system as being extremely effective when left in locations for more than six months. "Once [the camera is] in, it's hard to move because the community loves it. If they don't see the camera there one day, we get calls," he points out.

Outside the United States, the UK has approximately 4 million surveillance cameras, with the city of London laying claim to 200,000 of that total figure. The linked web of cameras in the English capital, and also across the country, most recently contributed to the tracking and arrests of multiple terror suspects in the unsuccessful July 07 terror attacks on central London and at Glasgow airport.



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