City Council takes on Philly’s surveillance camera system

surveillance camera
Rikard Larma/Metro

A City Council committee will review the state of Philadelphia’s surveillance camera system in a hearing scheduled for noon today.

Philadelphia originally began the process of creating a citywide surveillance camera system in May of 2006 and has spent at least $13.9 million on the initiative. But as of last March, about 91 of the 216 installed cameras actually worked, according to a report released by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

The progress of the surveillance network has been stymied due to technology issues and missteps with firms subcontracted to complete the work. New contracts for equipment installation and connection maintenance and repair were in March awarded to firms Carr & Duff and Federal Signal. Their progress so far is unclear.

Recently, private citizens have played an increasingly important role in law enforcement’s use of camera footage to solve crimes. OCF Realty and OCF Coffee House owner Ori Feibush recently captured surveillance footage showing the killer of CHOP doctor Melissa Ketunuti walking past his South Street shop. That footage ultimately helped lead to the suspect’s identification and arrest.

Today’s hearing is inspired by a mid-January trip City Council took to Baltimore, where approximately 600 cameras installed citywide have reportedly reduced the city’s violent crime rate.


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