A Look at Surveillance in Selected Cities
Chicago is working on plans to link more than 2,000 surveillance cameras across the city into a network that would use computer software to alert authorities to suspicious activities.
In Los Angeles, the police department recently deployed a camera surveillance system to identify, track and record criminal activity in certain areas of the city. The system is equipped with "intelligent" video capabilities and facial recognition software. The "intelligent" software identifies human movement within designated areas which enables officers to remotely identify and monitor suspicious activities. If criminal activity occurs, the suspect is kept under remote surveillance while police officers are immediately dispatched to the scene.
The department also is using a patrol vehicle equipped with forward- and rear-facing video cameras, as well as a mobile data computer.
In New Orleans, cameras are not routinely monitored; video is stored for a brief period, to be watched if a crime is reported. Only a few qualified officers have access to the video, and they look at it only in response to a specific report. The first cameras were installed in October, initially in drug dealing hot spots. So far, about 240 of the proposed 1,000 cameras are now in operation. The cameras conduct 360-degree 'virtual patrols' continuously.
In Washington, some closed-circuit TV cameras run around-the-clock, others come on for specific events. Fourteen police cameras roll during parades, demonstrations and when the city goes on high alert. They're turned on a half-dozen or so times a year.
Cameras are located on federal buildings, museums, in parks and at traffic lights. The cameras are focused on wide swaths, yet they can zoom in on a subject. The cameras are not used to track individuals and don't consist of facial recognition technology.
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