Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier announced today that the Metropolitan Police Department is adding five additional Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to area neighborhoods to combat crime in the District.
The first five CCTV cameras are being deployed this week at the following locations:
- 14TH Street & Saratoga Avenue, NE
- 2600 Block of Birney Place, SE
- 1500 Block of Butler Street, SE
- 28TH Street and Texas Avenue, SE
- Wisconsin Avenue & Albemarle Street, NW
Installation began this week, and these first five sites will be completed by June 7, 2007.
In addition, the MPD plans to deploy a total of 24 cameras by the end of June.
The cameras, which focus on public space only, will operate 24 hours a day. The cameras will be “passively monitored” by the MPD, meaning that officers generally will not be watching the camera feeds in real time. Rather, camera images will be recorded and then reviewed by police if there are reports of criminal activity in the area. Generally, video recordings will be maintained by the MPD for 10 days, unless the Department knows that the recordings contain evidence of criminal activity or an occurrence that may subject the MPD to civil liability. In these instances, the recordings will be maintained until final disposition of each case. The CCTV cameras are not equipped with audio overhear capabilities.
“Video recordings are a huge asset to officers who are investigating when, and where crime takes place. These cameras are being deployed to increase public safety – particularly in those areas where MPD has received high volumes of calls for service. MPD is using every available means of technology to keep residents safe,” said Chief Lanier.
In selecting locations for CCTV cameras, the Chief of Police is required by law to consider public safety indicators, such as calls for police service, reported crimes and other public safety indicators, as well as recommendations or requests from Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and civic or citizen associations.
The use of CCTV cameras to help fight crime in DC neighborhoods is permitted under DC Municipal Regulations, Title 24 Public Space & Safety - Chapter 25 Metropolitan Police Department Use of Closed Circuit Television. The MPD has issued policies and procedures to comply with the provisions of the Act. For example, CCTV will be used only to observe locations that are in public view where the courts have held there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. The cameras will not target or track individuals arbitrarily or based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or other classifications protected by law. In addition, the cameras will not focus on hand bills, flyers or other materials distributed or carried pursuant to the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Additional information about the MPD's use of Closed Circuit Television can be found on the MPD website, www.mpdc.dc.gov/cctv.