Voters Approve Security Cameras in Philadelphia

City officials in Philadelphia are moving forward with a plan to install police surveillance cameras in commercial and residential areas in Philadelphia, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Voters consented to the crime-fighting measure by a 4-to-1 ratio last week. A task force of police and community members will establish guidelines and policies for the cameras.

City Councilman Darrell Clarke says the cameras will be used in a pilot program and later expanded to a citywide network. The task force will seek public input on the program but will not be involved with placement considerations, which will be decided by police. However, Clarke said he expects the locations will be made public because the cameras are meant as a deterrent and not as a tool for spying.

“I think they should be extremely visible,” says Clarke.

City officials are interested in modeling Philadelphia’s surveillance system on those in place in Chicago and Baltimore. Chicago’s system includes cameras that focus in on the sound of gunfire, and in Baltimore police officers can access cameras from their patrol cars via laptop computers.

In Philadelphia, high-crime neighborhoods will likely get portable cameras that can be moved to follow crime patterns, whereas commercial streets will probably get fixed cameras. The program is estimated to be costly, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, because portable and gunshot-sensitive cameras are more expensive than fixed cameras.

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