Council’s Public Safety Committee hears from experts on Public Safety Video Cameras

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City Council’s Committee on Public Safety held a hearing today to hear testimony on how the City of Philadelphia’s video camera surveillance system can be further enhanced to improve public safety.  Committee members (pictured from left) Bass, Squilla, O’Brien, Jones, Clarke, Greenlee, Blackwell, and Henon, heard from top rank private and public sector safety officials, including those from The Philadelphia School District, PHA, SEPTA, the University of Pennsylvania, the Center City District, the City Avenue Special Services District and the Greater Philadelpiha Chamber of Commerce.

Presenteations were given by camera technology companies DVTel and VidSys, who currently provide video solutions for several municipalities including Baltimore, Boston and Chicago.

Also testifying was City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Last month, a City Council delegation toured the CitiWatch anti-crime surveillance system in Baltimore. The CitiWatch network of 622 cameras is a private-public collaboration that officials there say has demonstrably contributed to crime reduction.

According to the Inquirer, the City of Philadelphia has a network of 150 operational cameras. The Committee on Public Safety plans to submit to the Nutter Administration findings from the hearing and proposals for private-public partnership surveillance network models.

“It’s time to employ all possible tools to combat crime in Philadelphia,” said Committee Chair Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District).  “I’m looking forward to working with Council President Darrell Clarke and my colleagues on the committee to determine best practices and potentially reinvigorate a surveillance program that could help lower crime.”

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