BRADLEY OLSON and ZAIN SHAUK
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The city is installing 250 to 300 cameras at downtown intersections in an effort to prevent and fight terrorism and crime, part of a security initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The cameras, which the city began installing in earnest this summer, already have helped police catch car burglars in the act, said Dennis Storemski, the city’s director of the Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. Eventually, he said, the cameras could be used to allow dispatchers or officers approaching a crime scene to survey what’s happening from their patrol vehicles before they arrive.
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“The intent is to protect critical infrastructure and prevent terrorism,” he said. “Experience has shown that when people plan terroristic acts, they plan and they do dry runs, so what we would be looking for is suspicious activity around certain locations. And for any crimes, you can go back and look at the video and identify the perpetrators.”
More than 50 cameras already have been installed around the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green Park, the theater district and Minute Maid Park. Every downtown intersection will be equipped with a camera. Eventually, Storemski said, the program may be expanded to include the Reliant Stadium complex, the Port of Houston, even some city parks where festivals frequently are held.