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City's First Police Surveillance Cameras Installed In Bushwick

Jeanine Ramirez / NY 1 | April 19 2006

The NYPD said they were coming, and now they're here. Surveillance cameras have sprouted high above the sidewalks in one Brooklyn neighborhood, and as NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez explains, this is just the beginning.

People in Bushwick went about their business Monday, most unaware there were police surveillance cameras overhead.

“No, I haven't seen them,” said one area resident. “[But] I think it's good to have them around."

"I seen them doing it last week. I don't know what it's all about, but I seen them putting it up last week," said a neighbor.

“I saw it early this morning on [NY1] News. I was like, hooray! [I] love it," added a third.

The cameras along Knickerbocker Avenue are the first to be rolled out onto city streets. It's all part of a new high-tech police surveillance program that will place 500 cameras throughout the city.

Each is equipped with two zoom lenses, and records street activity around the clock. Police can check the tapes any time they need to.

Most residents NY1 spoke with welcome the stepped up monitoring.

“I think it's a very good idea to provide safety, especially to the kids, because it's a bad neighborhood sometimes and they can keep track of everything," said one woman.

“I think it's good. I think they should put it all around,” said another area resident. “They should put it everywhere so they could watch and the block could calm down, everything can calm down out here."

But not everyone agrees.

“We know the cameras are here so if we're going to sell drugs - I don't sell drugs - but if we sell drugs we're going to go to some other place," said one man.

“I think those cameras are against the law. I think they're violating people's rights," said another.

The cameras are clearly marked, and they are up high - about 30 feet in the air, on lampposts, above the street signs.

“It's in the open. It's not really hidden,” said one man. “They're letting the people know that it's there, so if you choose to do wrong, it's on you."

Traveling down Knickerbocker Avenue, the cameras start at Maria Hernandez Park and continue for two more intersections.

One camera sits in front of the One Stop Deli. A worker who says he's in the store for 12 hours a day welcomes the extra security.

“Good idea. I like it because it’s more safe now,” said the man. “I work alone, no problems. No hang around. I feel very safe now."

After the kinks are worked out here and in other neighborhoods in northern Brooklyn, cameras will be installed in Brooklyn South. Then they'll hit the other boroughs.

They will be installed in 253 locations in all, at a cost of $9 million, which is funded by homeland security grants.

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