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Local Surveillance Video Concerns

Updated: Friday, April 19 2013, 07:19 PM EDT
COLUMBUS - Federal law enforcement is praising the public, social media and surveillance footage for leading to the quick identities of two suspected terrorists in Boston and now city officials say they’re expanding the tax funded surveillance system here.

City officials are allocating $500,000 for 75 new neighborhood safety cameras in 2013 which would increase the 157 camera system to 232.  The cameras started going up in 2011 in five separate crime ridden neighborhoods.  City officials say the cameras have helped reduce crime in four of those neighborhoods within a year by just their presence and they’ve received up to 500 public requests in the last three years to copy specific video they’ve captured.  While they say most of those requests have come from law enforcement, city officials have yet to complete a system to tally the number of times this surveillance have helped to solve city crimes.  

The system increase would mean the city would need a bigger command center to possibly be placed in the police department’s communication center to meet an expanse in monitoring demands.  Right now, civilian employees watch the monitors in a command center inside City Hall every Thursday night through Sunday morning.

Former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Harry Trombitas says he knows moves like this are controversial but necessary due to what we’ve seen this week.

"In society today, there's a debate over big brother watching.. this is a perfect example of where having surveillance cameras out in the public enables law enforcement to correctly identify the two individuals," said Trombitas.

Meanwhile, representatives with the American Civil Liberties Union state they do not oppose security cameras in high priority areas but the problems lie when “people cannot go about their daily lives without being recorded and stored in a data base forever.”

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Reporter: Lisa Rantala
Web Producer: Kellie HannaLocal Surveillance Video Concerns


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