Ring Around Midtown
March 31st, 2009

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wants to replicate the city’s ring of steel a little farther north.

Similar to his Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, the commissioner wants to create a high-tech surveillance system in midtown, from approximately 34th Street to 59th Street, river to river.

This type of counter-terrorism security already is in the works downtown — much to the chagrin of some civil libertarians. The synchronized camera system below Canal Street in Lower Manhattan was a response to the September 11th attacks and costs nearly $100 million. That system includes 3,000 plus security cameras and license plate readers to provide 24-hour surveillance of the area. The counter-terrorism initiative is housed in the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, which opened last November.

Kelly said the Midtown system would be based in the same coordination center. It’s implementation is dependent on federal funding. Kelly said they would need about $58 million.

The commissioner broke the news at a City Council hearing this morning on the department’s budget (more on that later). Council members did not raise any opposition to the proposal.

The city’s Lower Manhattan initiative has seen its fair share of controversy and opposition. Advocates question whether the initiative is “big brother,” invading the privacy of those that live and work in Lower Manhattan, or effective and honest terrorism prevention.

Just last week, the public comment period ended for the department’s privacy procedures for downtown’s ring of steel. According to that proposal, license plate numbers would be kept on file for 5 years.

One could imagine similar guidelines would pertain to the Midtown proposal.

By on March 31, 2009, 11:53 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Economy,Gotham City,Law,nextNY,Transportation | Comments Off on Ring Around Midtown

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