Despite complaints by privacy advocates, the number of surveillance cameras is growing and proving increasingly valuable to police for catching criminals as well as protecting against terrorists, reports USA Today. The potential was demonstrated last week when British police used videotape from some of the London subway’s 6,000 cameras to identify four suicide bombers who killed at least 55 people.
The London cameras were set up initially to combat the Irish Republican Army. Likewise, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks led New York City and Washington to increase video surveillance. In Philadelphia last week, police charged ennsylvania Hospital worker Juan Covington with the shooting death of X-ray technician Patricia McDermott after viewing video of the killing and video from another camera a few minutes later showing Covington dressed like the killer. Other cities, including New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles, are mounting cameras to watch over streets, parks and other public places. “Pretty soon, cameras will be like smoke detectors: They’ll be everywhere,” says Joe Freeman, a security industry consultant.