Cincinnati Police Plan Tenfold Expansion of Video Surveillance


Cincinnati police intend to increase the number of cameras it can tap nearly 10-fold over the next two years, from 118 cameras today to 1,000 by the end of 2014, reports the city’s Enquirer. Some cameras will be new, paid for mostly with federal grants. But some will require partnerships with organizations – perhaps Cincinnati Public Schools, or the Ohio Department of Transportation – willing to share access to existing cameras, says Cincinnati police Capt. Jeff Butler, CPD's planning, resource and development commander. “It's a lofty goal,” Butler says, “but that's where we want to be.”

Studies have shown mixed results over whether cameras reduce crime, but Butler says Cincinnati's system – which he calls one of the most robust in America for a city its size – is about more than crime prevention. Cameras help with crowd control during events and can be used to organize emergency response. Footage can also be retrieved for investigations and may help convict criminals. There are drawbacks, including expense. CPD's programs have cost roughly $4.7 million, nearly all paid for with federal grants and donations. They also raise questions about privacy rights, says the Ohio ACLU.

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