Cincinnati police expect to start this fall on a $2 million project to install up to 120 cameras to watch for crime, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. It’s the first step toward a system that could send real-time video to officers’ in-cruiser laptops as well as instantly read license plates and run them through motor vehicle registration. Cincinnati is following cities like Chicago and New York into the crime camera business. London leads the way in sheer quantity, with 10,000, though some opponents doubt whether the cameras deter crime.
Although catching homicides on video would be ideal, Capt. Jeff Butler said officials expect the cameras more often will be helpful on what he calls “the reactive end,” for investigators going back to look at video taken just after a crime. Those uses will lead to more identification and apprehension of suspects, he thinks, and the video will help prosecutors get more convictions. The $2 million comes from a federal Bureau of Justice Assistance “Byrne grant.” Now, there are no fixed crime cameras in Cincinnati. Past camera programs failed for a variety of reasons – cost, aging technology and a lack of someone assigned to watch them, among others.