Video-Surveillance Proposed for Downtown Spokane, Wash.

SPOKANE, Wash.

Spokane business leaders are working on a plan to install a
video surveillance system downtown. This follows a national
trend that has spawned debate on whether such systems are
effective and if they erode personal privacy.

Spokane officials haven’t talked publicly about the proposed surveillance system as yet, but the video camera project is one of four economic development proposals submitted by Spokane to the federal Economic Development Administration for consideration. The surveillance cameras are part of a $40,000 grant request.

If the camera project should win approval, it will be included in EDA’s 2007 budget. Spokane area business owners and economic development officials see video technology as a tool in making downtown streets safer.

If everything goes according to plan, this grant will help create the first downtown surveillance system in Spokane’s history. Cameras will be placed in selected areas such as plazas and street corners. The proposal calls for using the wireless Spokane HotZone Wi-Fi network to send video from cameras to a monitoring station staffed by Spokane police personnel. The downtown HotZone covers approximately 100 square blocks.

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