Baltimore Officials Pitched On Putting Three Surveillance Planes In The Sky At Once, Covering Most Of City

from The Baltimore Sun

The head of an aerial surveillance company is pitching Baltimore officials on flying not one but three camera-laden planes above the city simultaneously, covering most of the city and its violent crime, he said in emails obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

A pair of Texas donors have stepped forward to help fund three planes and extra police, 40 local analysts and oversight personnel if there is city buy-in, the records and interviews show. The effort aims to “demonstrate the effectiveness” of such an all-seeing surveillance system in fighting crime in the city.

The enlarged scope of the three-year, $6.6 million surveillance pitch was welcomed by supporters and denounced by detractors contacted by The Sun.

Ross McNutt of Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems said in emails to officials in Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s office that most City Council members had expressed their support for the surveillance planes, though several council members denied it. No decision has been made.

Each plane would be capable of recording up to 32 square miles at a time, and each would fly 45 to 50 hours a week, McNutt said.

“With these three coverage areas, we would be able to cover areas that include 80 to 90 percent of the murders and shootings in Baltimore,” McNutt wrote in an email last month to Sheryl Goldstein, Young’s deputy chief of staff.

More here.

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One Comment

  1. The effectiveness of putting 3 surveillance planes in the air to manage crime is unknown but Baltimore officials are considering the movement to keep this crime at a minimum or have an effective way of monitoring these activities. I think instead of funding these planes by donation of upwards of 2 million a year, it would be smarter to use this funding for proven tools as the council president had proposed. The city is on track to see more than 300 homicides for the fifth year in a row and I believe that using this money to get more patrol will be more effective than the plane idea considering it will be hard to get facial recognition of a crime when the surveillance is covering over 32 square miles of images and investing in more patrol will put guys on the scene faster than an aircraft message can be relayed. These planes would be active in the daytime and i think that is somewhat unreasonable considering most crimes in Baltimore in 2017 took place at night. The thing it will help with is notifying authorities of locations of shootings and will have an effect by having the ability to keep eyes on the suspects as they flee from the scenes. Following vehicles and routes of suspects will be effective but putting more money towards authority will give them a better chance of arresting the person committing the crime. Baltimore is one of the cities with the highest crime rate and investing this money will make a huge difference. The donation of this money to keep these planes in air will also solve some of the unsolved murders that take place in the city. This will give authorities better chances at securing confessions and have a chance to show if you are wrongfully accused of a murder. I do agree that these cameras will limit privacy and get outrage from the pedestrians, but taking the crime rate down from the past 5 years is the main goal in focus. This has good intentions and will help with solving crime, notifying authorities of crime and utilizing this footage to help in court cases.

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