NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ New Haven police are installing 21 surveillance cameras around the city in an effort to better fight crime, raising concerns from some who argue the cameras could infringe on civil liberties.
Police Chief Frank Limon says police are allowed to set up cameras in any public right-of-way. The cameras will give 360 degree views of city streets and sidewalks and will not be used to look into windows, said Adam Joseph, a city spokesman.

The cameras come as New Haven continues to struggle with violent crime. There have been 18 killings in the first half of this year, compared with 24 last year, 13 in 2009 and 23 in 2008, according to police spokesman Joseph Avery.

The cameras will be installed in so-called crime hot spots, Joseph said. Another 30 cameras may be installed in a later phase, depending on federal money, he said.

The camera system is being paid for with money from a federal Homeland Security grant that was awarded two years ago, and the first cameras are expected to be up and running by the end of July. City officials will be demonstrating the system at a news conference on Thursday afternoon.

Police initially will use the footage to identify suspects after a crime is committed and eventually hope to stream the live footage into the city’s 10 substations and even laptops in patrol cars, Joseph said.

Cities such as Chicago, New York and London already have extensive camera systems, including some equipped with technology that detects gunshots.

Chicago has linked thousands of cameras in a network covering most of the city. Cameras have recorded drug deals, bike thefts and other crimes and footage from a camera on a city bus helped convince a suspected gang member to plead guilty to shooting a 16-year-old high school student in 2007.

Chicago police last year pointed to 4,000 arrests made since 2006 with the help of cameras.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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