RealNews

24-hour camera surveillance in city is part of bigger plan

Financed by homeland security grants, new network aimed at fighting terrorists as much as drug dealers. From the Inner Harbor to the Bay Bridge, local and state homeland security authorities are beginning to build a regional network of 24-hour surveillance cameras that will first go live this summer in Baltimore. The closed-circuit video surveillance system of public spaces will begin in the Inner Harbor by summer’s end, and a $2 million federal grant accepted by the city yesterday will expand the cameras into downtown’s west side by early November. “We’re trying to build a regional network of cameras,” said Dennis R. Schrader, director of homeland security for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. What of privacy concerns raised by groups opposed to cameras constantly monitored by retired police officers or college students? “We’re at war,” Schrader said. The network is part of a comprehensive strategy in the Baltimore area to spend $25 million in homeland security grants this year and next to improve regional cooperation on terrorism concerns. The idea stemmed from a regional group of leaders that is jointly acquiring decontamination equipment and backups for 911 and power systems. Full Story

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