Five hundred cameras installed in three of the city's busiest transit hubs started feeding live images to the police department's high-tech security network Monday and will be monitored in counterterrorism efforts, says an AP report.
At the system command center, more than a dozen different cameras were projected onto a large screen. They showed stairwells, train platforms and turnstiles as riders got on and off trains at the Grand Central, Times Square and Pennsylvania Station subway stops. Transit officials have more than 3,000 cameras keeping track of the subway system, but only images from the three stations are fed live to a high-tech police monitoring center.
The new subway cameras and hundreds of other private and public security cameras make up the NYPD's lower and midtown Manhattan security initiatives, the report says. Investigators analyze the images with the help of license-plate readers, environmental sensors and information from police reports. A single high-bandwidth fiber optic network connects the cameras to a police computer system. That allows investigators to set up programs that search for suspicious activity, like an object in one place for a long time, the report says. The analytic software also is designed to take video and catalog it according to movements, shapes and colors, so officers can set parameters to search the system for anyone wearing, say, a red jacket. They can also scroll through footage from any camera in the network going back as long as images are available. The department usually purges the images in 30 days.
The system eventually is expected to incorporate 3,000 police and private cameras in the next few years. There are currently 1,159 operational cameras.
The cost is about $200 million, funded through grants from the Department of Homeland Security.