Security Newswire / Video Surveillance / Government: Federal, State and Local

Philly Controller says City's Video Cameras are 'Worse than Useless'

Philadelphia's City Controller says that the city's $17 million video surveillance system includes cameras that provide blurry or jagged, pixilated images, and objects blocking visibility.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says that by his count, less than one-third of the cameras they reviewed were functioning properly.

The city has 216 existing video surveillance cameras.

Last year, he said, a random sampling of 20 cameras found that only 45 percent were functioning properly.  In response, Butkovitz recalls the mayor’s office indicating it would fix the system. He says the problems brought to light in a study by the accounting firm Eisner Amper include blurry images with jagged, pixelated edges, making it difficult to read license plates, and condensation and water in camera domes, making it impossible to identify people.

He says that during a recent visit to Baltimore his office found 97 percent of its 622 cameras were functioning as designed at all times.

Philadelphia Mayor Nutter said the controller’s report is inaccurate.“The controller is wrong.  We’ve tried to explain that to him,” the mayor told KYW Newsradio.

Nutter says 85 percent of the cameras are operating as they should be, “and through the course of the year it has varied from 85 percent to the low 90s.”

Mayor Nutter also says there are about 1,500 cameras across the city that feed into the city’s real-time crime center.

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