Monday, September 29, 2014

Project NOLA - a public private CCTV partnership

You've heard that the NYPD has blanketed areas of NYC with CCTV cameras. Ditto for Chicago and a few other metropolitan areas. These efforts have been funded and run by the local police agencies. But, in an interesting twist, ProjectNOLA has the public buying and installing their own CCTV systems, then turning over control to the New Orleans PD - and paying the NOPD for the privilege.

"Part of a sprawling surveillance strategy dubbed “Project NOLA,” citizens’ security cameras would be integrated with footage shot from other law enforcement cameras already installed around the St. Bernard Parish area near New Orleans, and would give the sheriff’s department the ability to tap into those cameras at a moment’s notice.

“All you have to do is, you can go to a map and click on an icon for that camera in that area and pull up that camera and it’ll give us a live feed from that area,” St. Bernard Sheriff Jimm Pohlmann told CBS affiliate WAFB, adding that access to cameras on private property would eliminate the need for police to visit homes in person. “I think the more cameras out there, the more successful the program will be.”

"A $10 monthly fee is required for residents interested in granting police access to their existing home camera systems, but those who don’t yet have cameras can purchase entire kits from [ProjectNOLA's founder] for $295. For another $150, you can also get those cameras professionally installed.

“This is great for NOPD,” writes Jules Bentley for AntiGravity Magazine, “firstly because [the Police won't] have to pay for any of this—the costs are borne by the home or business owner and the increasingly grant-funded Project NOLA nonprofit—and secondly because private cameras can do things the government’s not allowed to.”

There's no indication that the ProjectNOLA system is actively monitored by LE officials. Rather, it seems that the residents are expected to report the crimes as usual with the police having the access to retrieve the CCTV footage remotely. The technical/procedural details about the system are rather thin at this point. Still and all, it's an interesting development.

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