Law Office of Mark J. Sacco, PLLC
SCHENECTADY, NY, October 08, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Like it or not, surveillance cameras are becoming a fact of life for New Yorkers. Cameras are outside buildings, on streets and in police vehicles. They catch us walking the dog and read the license plates of the cars we ride in. These digital eyes create an enormous amount of data about our daily lives, and law enforcement officials are seeking new ways to mine video and other electronic information for crime investigations.
In the latest, most sophisticated effort, the New York Police Department has partnered with Microsoft Corp. to create a crime tracking system that marries live video feed from thousands of video cameras to various law-enforcement databases and 911 calls.
Called the Domain Awareness System, the new computer system will be able to map the movements of criminal suspects and provide real-time crime alerts to NYPD investigators and analysis. It cost between $30 million and $40 million to develop.
Using Existing Data More Efficiently
The system does not add to the city's surveillance capabilities. Instead, the Domain Awareness System is designed to make the existing data easier to use. The system will provide law enforcement officials with a broad based view of potential threats and ongoing criminal activity. It will allow investigators to:
- Use archived video footage and license plate reader data to track a suspect's vehicle over the past days or even weeks
- Map criminal history to reveal patterns
- Instantly view suspect arrest records, 911 calls associated with the suspect and crimes in the area that could be connected
"We're not your mom and pop police department anymore," Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quoted as saying. "We are in the next century. We are leading the pack."
Some advocates for civil liberties cautioned against collecting too much data on law-abiding citizens. A spokesman for the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) told the New York Daily News
that while the organization supports the use of technology to combat crime and terrorism, law abiding residents should not be entered into a police database as they drive around the city and go about their day.
Other Agencies Also Focusing on Technology and Digital Surveillance
Despite Big Brother concerns, law enforcement agencies across the nation are using various types of technology to improve their crime fighting strategies.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, for example, roof-mounted cameras on police cars read the license plates of nearby vehicles. The cameras have helped find stolen vehicles and capture fugitives. They have also captured information about hundreds of thousands of license plates of ordinary, law-abiding drivers. Colorado Springs police created a massive searchable databank with entries that show when and where police spotted individual vehicles.
Baltimore and the United Kingdom have used similar technology to the NYPD's new computer system, and New York's system could someday be found in other cities and countries.
But as helpful a tool as this might be, where will the line be drawn? As private citizens is there not a right to privacy? And how well will this type of evidence stand up in court. If you or a loved one are facing drug, fraud or other criminal charges in New York
, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights.
The Law Offices of Mark J. Sacco, PLLC
Law Offices of Mark J. Sacco
Criminal Defense Law Firm
38 North Ferry Street
United States 12305
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