Spend time in downtown Dallas, and there’s an increasingly good chance your movements will be caught on surveillance cameras. Less certain is whether a police officer will be watching at the other end of that video feed, says the Dallas Morning News. The cameras have multiplied to 82 since the program began two years ago, and police say they have reduced crime. As more cameras are installed and more neighborhood groups look at acquiring them, police say the city must figure out which ones get monitored and who is going to pay for it all.
“Cameras have helped reduce crime in such a dramatic manner that we are victims of our own success,” says Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia . In the central business district, police have made 1,700 arrests during the last couple of years thanks to the cameras. Crime there so far this year is down 11 percent from 2008. The cameras were bought with money from neighborhood, business, and philanthropic groups. They cost $8,000 to $10,000 each. Retired and light-duty officers watch feeds 24 hours a day, zooming in on people of interest. It costs $250,000 a year in manpower to monitor one station of 25 camera feeds around the clock.