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  Police: Cameras Not Helping Fight Crime Much
Residents Split On Crime Cameras

NBC-4 | October 2, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Many D.C. police said they had hoped that installing dozens of new surveillance cameras across the city would assist them in cracking down on crime, but the system does not appear to be working as planned.

It was a very violent weekend across the D.C. area, with 11 people shot, four of them fatally.

One of the shootings in the District was caught on one of the new cameras, but police said so far, the cameras have not been much help in any other case.

The shooting that was caught on camera happened just after 4:45 p.m. on Sunday in the 1300 block of Kenilworth Avenue in Northeast. One was found in the 1600 block of Kenilworth Avenue.

Police said that two people had been shot in the incident.

Both victims were taken to local hospitals. One has since died. The other remains in critical condition.

The incident remains under investigation.

Community members said the shooting happened within yards of the cameras, which were of little deterrent.

"Children getting shot. Every night it's something around here. But, they only have two cameras, and it's a whole community," said one resident.

"You know, I think people are really ignoring the cameras. They just act like they don't care. They just don't care," said another resident.

In some places trees limit what cameras see. The surveillance program has been in effect for about a month, but police said there has yet to be prosecution involving evidence used from the cameras.

Some residents have mixed feelings on the cameras.

"Yes and no. Yes, because it's safeguarding the community. No, because it's like an invasion of privacy to look out your window and see a camera there," said a community member.

Some people said they have seen a definite improvement in quality of life since the cameras have been installed in their neighborhoods.

However, they said the cameras should not be a substitution for police patrols.

The cameras, which focus on public space only, are "passively monitored" by the Metropolitan Police Department, meaning that officers generally do not watch the camera feeds in real time.

The 48 surveillance cameras have been installed in communities that are considered high-crime areas throughout the city.


 

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