Cameras Give Park The Once-Over
The Los Angeles Police Department has installed seven surveillance cameras in MacArthur Park, monitoring them five hours per day to find drug dealers, purchasers, and users. The cameras can be remotely controlled, and are monitored by Officer Christine Labriola, who can radio bike and foot patrol units when she spots something suspicious.
They have been in use since January, and Officer Mark Hubert says there have been 51 arrests since the cameras debuted–almost all related to narcotics.
The first three months of 2003 saw 26 shootings, 234 robberies, and 600 major assault crimes in the park, and thanks to the cameras and more patrolling, the totals were 13, 202, and 544 respectively this year.
The department uses cameras in other areas to deter graffiti vandals and maintain security. International Association of Chiefs of Police project manager Grady Baker says that only a few U.S. police departments use cameras for virtual patrols, mainly because of cost.
The MacArthur Park cameras and software were donated by General Electric and Hamilton Pacific. Chicago, New Orleans, and the District of Columbia also use cameras.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Los Angeles Times (03/11/04) P. B3; Martinez, Arlene.