NYPD Commissioner Calls for More Surveillance Cameras

Monday, April 22, 2013

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Could more cameras in New York City help prevent attacks like the one at the Boston Marathon? That's what Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says the NYPD is looking into.

The department already uses so-called smart cameras that hone in on unattended bags, and set off alarms.

Kelly dismisses critics who argue that increased cameras threaten privacy rights, giving governments the ability to monitor people in public spaces.

 “The people who complain about it, I would say, are a relatively small number of folks, because the genie is out of the bottle,” Kelly said. “People realize that everywhere you go now, your picture is taken.”

Listen to WNYC's Amy Edding's full interview with Commissioner Kelly above.

So-Called Smart Cameras Haven't Always Made the Grade

Surveillance cameras helped authorities find the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing — giving more fuel to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s argument that the more cameras exist, the better.

The NYPD is touting its use of the so-called smart cameras that have been used for nearly a decade in Lower Manhattan to identify potential threats such as unattended bags left for too long.

“I'm a major proponent of cameras,” Kelly said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table.”

The technology also has industrial applications, such as quality control at bottling plants and on car assembly lines.

But it hasn’t been so effective in the past. The MTA proposed using similar cameras after the London Bombing in 2005. The project was abandoned a few years later when the software reportedly had difficulty differentiating stationary objects from moving ones.

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of NYCLU, says that, although high-tech cameras offer tremendous potential, they've been unable to stop attacks.

“There's no question but surveillance is here and it's here to stay,” she said. “The question is how we reduce the risk that we turn into a society where the government knows everything there is about you.”

Hosted by:

Amy Eddings

Produced by:

Annmarie Fertoli


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Comments [5]


The NY Constitution, the highest law of NY and from which the Mayor, the Police chief, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, etc get their authority, plus are lawfully required to swear - and KEEP - an oath to support and defend it and the US Constitution to meet the requirements of the position they are occupying.

Preamble: We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION. <-- Notice it was established by "We The People of the State of New York".

ART I, Bill Of Rights: §1. No member of this state shall be disfranchised, or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land, or the judgment of his or her peers.

§8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on ALL subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press...

§12. The RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES, shall NOT be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE to be secure against unreasonable interception of TELEPHONE and telegraph communications shall not be violated, and ex parte orders or warrants shall issue only upon oath or affirmation that there is reasonable ground to believe that evidence of crime may be thus obtained, and identifying the particular means of communication, and particularly describing the person or persons whose communications are to be intercepted and the purpose thereof.

ART IV, Executive: §3. The governor shall be commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of the STATE... and shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

ART XII, Defense: §1. The defense and protection of the state and of the United States is an obligation of all persons within the state. The legislature shall provide for the discharge of this obligation and for the maintenance and regulation of an organized militia.

ART XIII, Public Officers: §1. Members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial... shall, before they enter on the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ......, according to the best of my ability;"

May. 03 2013 06:08 AM
Russ from NYS from NYS

My suggestion is simple. If cameras aren't invasive, YOU live with them first. I want to see you, Mr. Commissioner, taking a shit if I want to go to the trouble of pulling up the webcam in your bathroom. If you leave your house, I want to be able to watch. I can imagine your house, your car, your office, every location you go, all of them, hooked up to cameras, so we can all watch you, all 86,400 seconds of the day.

We could take Mayor Bloomberg's advice and have you both followed by drones with cameras. One would presume that eventually we'll get around to arming the drones as well. Then it's like you guys will have a flying sword over your heads, in the sky, for freedom! Yeah!

May. 02 2013 10:38 PM

Boston city security cameras didn't have much to do with catching the bombers, and certainly did nothing to discourage them from their goal. In a time where there are near infinite angles or photo/video footage from crowdsourced video at every major even how can cities/states/nations continue to justify the expenses of these systems when they do nothing preventive? So even before we begin to discuss facts that you're far more likely to die commuting for work, or from cancer, or from police action, or heck even lightning than a terrorist attack, why don't we discuss how deeply invasive surveillance is far more likely to be used against targets that it was never intended from than for defending the "homeland" against terrorism.

Apr. 26 2013 02:32 PM
John M. Beam from Brooklyn

Just because Ray Kelly (or the Mayor)says that a bad thing is a fact of life (sic: "the privacy issue is off the table")does not mean it is not a bad thing.

Apr. 23 2013 01:07 PM
fire from Ukraine

"We're going to suspend your rights to protest, bear arms, privacy, and trial by jury."
"To protect you from terrorists."
"Why do we need to be protected from terrorists?"
"They hate you for your freedom."

Apr. 23 2013 11:46 AM

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