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City approves plan to give police quick access to private security cameras

TelevisionAbell FoundationInterior Policy

Baltimore officials on Wednesday approved an expansion of the police department's camera system that will give officers quick access to private security cameras at businesses and homes that choose to be part of the effort.

The new program, funded by a $53,200 grant from the Abell Foundation, will create a single database of both public and private camera systems, which the mayor's office says will allow police to solve crimes faster.

Citizens and business owners will be able to opt into the program by registering their security cameras with the Mayor's Office of Information Technology through a web application, city officials said.

Once the database is complete, it will allow operators in police and CitiWatch control rooms to immediately identify all registered camera systems within a particular area near a crime. The cameras would otherwise be unknown, inaccessible, costly, or time consuming to locate, officials said.

The city's Board of Estimates approved the program Wednesday.

The move builds on MayorStephanie Rawlings-Blake's continued push to expand the city's camera system. More than 100 new crime cameras have been added to the CitiWatch network since she took office, increasing the total number of cameras to 583.

In 2011, the camera program contributed to 1,236 arrests, of which 145 arrests were made for violent crimes, including robberies, assaults and illegal gun possession, the mayor's office said.

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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