Based on research in London, the New York Police Department may implement a video surveillance “ring of steel” around lower Manhattan that could track hundreds of thousands of people and cars a day, says the New York Daily News. New York officials have been examining the scores of closed-circuit TV cameras that take photos of people and virtually every car that enters London’s financial district.
New York already has about 1,000 cameras in the subway, and 2,100 more should be in place by 2008. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly strongly backs the increased surveillance, along with the 3,100 cameras that are up and running in city housing projects. The police department has no comprehensive system to monitor the Financial District – considered the nation’s No.1 terror target. New York cops became more aware of the value of London’s “ring of steel” during the terror attacks of last July 7, when the cameras quickly provided images of suspected bombers. Above ground, London has cameras posted at 16 entry points and 12 exits from the so-called City of London – an enclave that encompasses the financial district along with landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral. Streets were narrowed slightly at the chokepoints to allow cameras mounted on unobtrusive posts to capture real-time images of license plates and drivers’ faces. The plates are compared with a database of stolen cars, those linked to crimes or terrorism suspects. The system “read” 37 million cars and got 91,000 hits, leading to 550 arrests last year alone.