San Francisco Tries Out Public CCTV System


San Francisco is the latest major metropolitan area to look into a large-scale public CCTV system. After success with a pilot program of two cameras at one location, the city is now expanding its pilot program to six other locations according to a report on National Public Radio.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom told NPR that murders, robberies and other violent crimes have plummeted at a notorious intersection near a public housing project after two cameras were installed atop utility poles earlier this year. He now wants to expand the pilot program on a 90-day basis to six other locations in the city by the end of the year.

“The mayor chose these six places because 18 homicides have occurred in these six places in the past two years,” the mayor’s spokesperson, Peter Ragone, told NPR.

San Francisco’s neighbor to the south, Los Angeles, has also been trying out public CCTV in conjunction with police work, finding success with a public CCTV system in Hollywood. Chicago has also been expanding its public CCTV system.

The system, dubbed “community safety cameras” by the San Francisco mayor’s office, is not monitored and records 72 hours worth of video. After that, the recordings are automatically erased unless police want to see them.

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