PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Video surveillance in Pittsburgh isn’t new.
In 2001, even before the attacks of September 11th, street cameras were in place on East Ohio Street.
On the city’s North Side, cameras were implemented as a crime prevention measure.
Closed circuit TV cameras and still cameras have mushroomed since then, particularly after 9/11.
“Just pay attention as you walk down the street and start looking up and see how many of those little white balls are hanging down or the white longer tube cameras that are there,” Ray DeMichei, the city’s deputy director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security says. “They’re practically everywhere. One of the best sources of that kind of information is ATM cameras. Every time you go to an ATM whether you’re actually there or not, every so often a picture gets taken from those ATM cameras just like in a bank.”
DeMichei says during the G20 conference in Pittsburgh, local law enforcement learned a lot.
“The Feds have great toys. They have great stuff and they brought some stuff in that – we had live surveillance from aircraft pumped right into the multi-agency coordination center,” he says.
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt says technology has changed rapidly.
“When I first started out on the job, the only thing we had was pictures from a small Kodak camera camera. And then we’d have to go through the photo arrays and things like that. But now with the advent of the cameras that all police departments use, we’ve solved a number of crimes from people with graffiti all the way up to homicides,” Moffatt says. “We’ve had a couple of homicides solved entirely by the videos that was put in by the municipal police officers.”
Moffatt adds that facial recognition techniques, like those used in the Boston case, have made significant strides in recent years.
“We have a system with the state where we send pictures to and they can tell us if somebody is in the system, be it from a drivers license or an underage drinking card or anytime your photo has been taken that’s in the system,” Moffatt says.