Private Company to Sponsor Security Cameras in Milwaukee


Privately financed video security cameras will be installed to monitor an 11-block stretch of W. National Avenue in Milwaukee, the first of what could be several security camera initiatives in the city. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Badger Mutual Insurance Co. has paid an undisclosed sum of money to install 16 cameras and 44 signs that alert people to the presence of video surveillance cameras, which will be monitored by security guards. City officials and business owners are intent on deterring street crime and chose to follow the example set by other large cities such as Chicago, New Orleans and London.

The city is also pushing to install pole-mounted cameras in high-crime areas and has applied for a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to cover the costs of the cameras. According to the Sentinel, the cameras that have been selected are shielded in bulletproof casings and are remotely controlled by police officers. They also require computer software and remote control consoles for operation.

In some cities, civil liberties advocates have expressed concern about street video cameras infringing on the privacy rights of city residents, but Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan says that when people are walking down the street, “there is absolutely no expectation of privacy.”

The Sentinel reports that Mayor Tom Barrett has endorsed the pole-mounted cameras in his “state of the city” address in February.

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