Atlanta, Georgia law enforcement officials have very recently begun integrating private surveillance cameras into their existing network of city-owned assets, greatly improving the scope of the city’s Video Integration Center. This unique, real-time surveillance system is actively monitored by two sergeants and six sworn officers in the city’s existing E911 Center, which utilizes analytical software to track suspicious behavior and deter crime. The Atlanta surveillance initiative – which has cost more than $1 million thus far to implement – is part of Operation Shield, a partnership between the Atlanta Police Department and various public and private entities. As a result of this partnership, the surveillance network now incorporates over 100 active cameras, both city-owned and privately owned, located throughout downtown Atlanta.
“The eventual goal is to deploy a network involving several thousand cameras,” according to an announcement from the city officials in September of 2011.
A few other cities – including Ogden and Utah – have similar surveillance systems in place, incorporating both privately held cameras and city-owned cameras.
Still, not everyone is on board with this initiative. Privacy advocates are morally opposed to the surveillance network, fearing that the city’s surveillance system could conceivably extend across the entire city with the inclusion of cameras maintained by private businesses. But city officials promise the new security initiative is just the next step in a safer Atlanta.
“Public safety has been a top priority for my administration, and the Video Integration Center is a vital investment towards a safer city,” said Mayor Kasim Reed in a statement released Monday, Sept. 19. “We must continue to seek innovative ways to fight crime, and bringing together the public and private sectors allow us to share in the responsibility of keeping our streets safe for residents, workers, tourists and visitors alike.”
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