Massachusetts City Plans to Install Surveillance Cameras Citywide

Officials in Chelsea, Mass., plan to install 34 surveillance cameras around the city in an effort to prevent crime and terrorism. City police will use the round-the-clock cameras for police work and also be able to access them from laptops in their patrol cars, according to The Boston Globe.

The cameras can store images for more than a month, helping investigators review crimes and find evidence. They can also be moved from one area to another, and many of them have 360-degree filming capabilities.

City officials in the city near Boston told the Globethey hope to connect these cameras with the 282 cameras already installed throughout a number of Chelsea Housing Authority buildings.

City Manager Jay Ash told the Globeother municipalities near Boston have voiced interest in installing these cameras, and will ultimately connect all of them to a larger image network. Carlo Boccia, director of Chelsea Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Office of Homeland Security and the metropolitan partnership, said the first step to expand this project is already planned.

The nine cities of the partnership will have between 100 and 200 cameras installed, initially focusing on harbors, within a year. They will also be interoperable so each municipality can see the activity in surrounding areas. The network will be funded with federal homeland security money and will cost at least $1 million to install and maintain.

Critics of the project have said the nature of the camera network could allow for abuses. Carol Rose, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Massachusetts chapter, said it will be important for officials to write rules limiting access to the cameras’ images and the length of time the images can be stored.

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