Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña wear mini cameras in a scene from 2012's End of Watch.

Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña wear mini cameras in a scene from 2012’s End of Watch.

Gun? Check. Badge? Check. Mini Camera? Check. These days, many police departments are turning to body worn mini cams to capture full details of officers’ interactions with civilians. And in one California city, reported results have bordered on miraculous.

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1c1b0a_030210crimenl03This week Boston police unveiled their new high tech real time surveillance center. This fusion center will provide officers with data from surveillance video footage, data from gunshot detection technology and resources in real time so that law enforcement can rush to the scene of a crime.

The Real Time Crime Center is being staffed by detectives and five civilian analysts whose jobs include monitoring video from city surveillance cameras, monitoring alerts from the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter, monitoring radio communications, and using mapping technology and other databases. The center monitors a total of 84 cameras that are located by city evacuation routes, and the center can also access surveillance images on Transportation Department cameras.

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More than 100 Section 44 stop and search areas exist in London alone

In the United Kingdom, police are using their power to “stop and search” on innocent photographers taking pictures of tourist attractions and in one case, even a chip shop. Section 44 authorization zones are areas where police can stop and search anyone without a reason. These zones were created to allow police to help fight terrorism. This law also allows senior officers to designate entire areas as stop and search areas. However, just because someone is taking a photo doesn’t mean that they should be detained.

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coptopThe city of Desert Hot Springs, California just unveiled their newest city works project to help increase surveillance and make it easier for police to keep the city safe. The city hopes that by increasing the way people use surveillance, they will be able to help the police catch criminals.

What makes this system different than most surveillance systems: “This is the first truly mobile, high-speed data network anywhere, and it’s definitely the first one for police vehicles for public safety,” said Justin Benoit, chief technology officer with Lockheed Martin who said he consulted with other vendors.

This 1.2 million dollar system includes 30 cameras in public areas as well as in 16 squad cars. Accessible from both the police station and from wireless laptops that transmit data over a secure network, the system will give police a panoramic view of the surveillance sights with touch screen zoom capabilities. If they see something suspicious, they can simply touch the screen on their laptop and zoom in on any suspicious people or activities.

“It’s a huge leverage, a plus factor for us that we can remotely be able to provide the information and the data live time to our staff, and they can use it to be safer and to respond effectively,” police Chief Pat Williams said Tuesday.

One resident, Tom Wilhem, 49, stated that he thinks this type of surveillance is useful: “They can see what’s going on, which will help the officers. They’re out there kind of blind without it,” he said. “We have the technology. Why not use it?”

(Via My Desert)

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Federal Way Transit Center

Last week in Seattle, law enforcement used the GPS feature installed in most cellphones to track a murder suspect as he fled from the scene at the Federal Way Transit Center. Merlin Bell was suspected of shooting and killing Devon Winston Parks. Witnesses told police that they had seen Bell speaking with Parks before the shooting and then identified Bell as the shooter.

Police were able to obtain Bell’s cellphone number and worked with T-mobile to track his cellphone while the police searched for him. Soon after the shooting a police dog found Bell hiding behind a bush with a revolver hidden nearby. Furthermore, police were able to identify Bell in an MTA surveillance camera shooting. Police say that the surveillance footage reveals that the victim has been in a defensive position. Overall, the insurmountable evidence presented against Bell was enough to put him behind bars under second-degree murder charges.

This story is another example of how A-GPS technology, now common in most cell phones, is helping law enforcement do their jobs more efficiently. It’s becoming very clear that GPS, combined with the CCTV surveillance cameras installed in many transportation systems are helping the authorities bring in dangerous criminals at a faster pace than ever before possible.

(Via Seatlle 911)

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lindsay-break-in-photoThe homes of both Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge were recently broken into. Now both actresses are turning to the internet to help bring those who are responsible to justice. First, Patridge posted a surveillance video from her home security system onto her website for others to view. Then the LAPD went ahead and posted the surveillance video from Lohan’s house on Youtube in hopes that someone would recognize the perpetrators. With both of these videos on the internet, police were able to compare the two and as a result there are now suspicions that the burglaries may be related. The police believe that the people shown in Lohan’s security video and those shown in Patridge’s video are one and the same. Aside from possibly having the same suspects the two cases share other similarities.

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phillypoliceIn the big city, the cameras have gone dark. The watchful eyes have gone blind, and crime is allowed to roam with the tool of surveillance neutralized. The city of Philadelphia is supposed to have 250 surveillance cameras patrolling the streets and protecting their citizens, but the program has become neglected and gone awry.

In late 2007, Philadelphia government announced its plan to install 250 surveillance cameras by 2008. Unfortunately, it’s now 2009 and only 161 cameras have been installed. Out of these 161, only 98 of these cameras are usable and another 63 are sitting there waiting to be activated. The 63 cameras that are being unused have been covered in black plastic bags.

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13486410Salt Lake City police are crediting surveillance cameras for having a very positive effect in the reduction of drug deals at Pioneer Park. Since the cameras went up last February and the police department began advertising that the area was under constant surveillance, calls for assistance at the park have been cut in half.

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rhianna_02Last month, Texas joined a coalition of seventeen states that protect victims of domestic violence and interpersonal violence by using GPS electronic monitoring systems. This tracking system enables authorities to both monitor a convicted offender and to realize when he or she goes to certain locations of interests, such as a victim’s home or place of employment.

Diane Rosenfeld, who is a Harvard Law lecturer and a very important figure in the campaign to get GPS electronic monitoring used in many states, stated in an interview that the system can be a key tool in the fight against domestic violence due to its ability to establish boundaries when they are broken, and because warning could be given to the victim if need be.

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