It’s an interesting development — police connecting existing security video cameras to their network, with the ability to view the cameras live from a control station whenever they want.
The LA Times reported Wednesday that the Long Beach Police Department will be tapping into 400 cameras around the city in the next year. The program, referred to as the Long Beach Common Operating Picture (COP), will synchronize real-time surveillance feeds with law enforcement data. These feeds will come from parks, beaches, business corridors, and some retail centers, and will be monitored at the newly built City Operations Center.
This is a summary of the main points of the article.
The live video system will allow police to view crimes as they are happening, helping officers to be prepared when they arrive at dangerous situations. The video surveillance recordings — which can be enhanced, analyzed, and utilized in court — will also account as objective evidence rather than subjective police reports, and assist in solving crimes.
Some Long Beach citizens are upset by the “Big Brother” approach the Police have taken, especially because the department funding will be cut by 9 million dollars in 2013.
However, Police Chief Jim McDonnell said that the security cameras will only be enlisted when the police are aware of a crime happening within a camera’s coverage. They will not be manning a 24-hour surveillance system and recording people’s everyday life – that’s not in the budget.
Long Beach crime rates have been decreasing for 40 years. Chief McDonnell hopes to continue this trend with a wider eye in the city.